Metallica yesterday (November 6) paid tribute to Jon Zazula, late co-founder of Megaforce Records, the label that launched their debut album, Kill 'Em All, and his wife Marsha, with a set entirely composed of their earlier material.
Performing at the Hard Rock Live, a venue at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, the thrash metal legends played 16 songs from their first two albums, Kill ‘Em All (1983) and Ride the Lightning (1984), both of which were originally released via Megaforce.
Opening with Creeping Death followed by Ride the Lightning, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo and Lars Ulrich then tackled Motorbreath, before switching between the two albums with Trapped Under Ice, The Call of Ktulu, Metal Militia, For Whom the Bell Tolls and among a host of other classic tracks.
After concluding the bulk of the set with Seek & Destroy, the band came back out with an encore, which included, in order: Fight Fire With Fire, Blitzkrieg and Hit the Lights.
Support for the show came courtesy of British metallers Raven, who have also been signed to Megaforce in the past.
In a social media post announcing the November 6 show back in September, Metallica credited Zazula with giving them their first break, releasing their first albums and putting them on the road for their first real tour.
“With Marsha by his side, Jonny was a mentor, a manager, a label head and a father figure to us all,” the band wrote. “We would not be where we are today without the two of them. Sadly, we recently lost both Jonny and Marsha, just a little more than a year apart.”
In a statement of their own, the Zazula family said of the show: “[We are] beyond humbled and appreciative that Metallica is playing this show in our parents’ honor. The pride our parents felt toward every member of the Metallica community, from the band members to fans, was insurmountable. We can’t wait to witness this full-circle moment that will undoubtedly cause some raucous headbanging in Rock N’ Roll Heaven.”
Before he founded Megaforce Records in 1982, Jon and Marsha Zazula owned Rock N’ Roll Heaven, a record store at a flea market in East Brunswick, New Jersey. One of the store’s top-selling items was Metallica’s 1982 demo, No Life ‘til Leather, which included Hit the Lights, Motorbreath and Seek & Destroy, among others.
In a 2016 interview with Classic Rock (opens in new tab), broadcaster Eddie Trunk explained how he was a customer of Zazula’s at Rock N’ Roll Heaven when he was just starting out working in radio.
“One day, he came up to my radio station, and said, ‘I’ve got this band, and I can’t get anybody to play it. Can you play it on the air?’ Trunk said. “He pulled out of the bag Kill ‘Em All. Just to get him out of there, I played a song from it, and he scribbled on the cover of the album, ‘Eddie, you were the first. Thank you, Johnny Z.’
“He said, ‘If I can ever get this band to take off, I’m going to hire you to work for my record company.’”
Following the release of Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning, Metallica departed Megaforce, and released their third album, 1986’s Master of Puppets, via Elektra.
“A couple of years later,” Trunk continued, “Metallica blows up, and he calls me and says, ‘I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is I’m starting my record company and I’m going to hire you. The bad news is Metallica is leaving me.’”
In addition to Metallica’s first two albums, Megaforce also released albums by Anthrax, Testament, Overkill, King’s X, Stormtroopers of Death, Raven and more.
See Metallica’s full November 6, 2022 setlist below.
- Creeping Death
- Ride The Lightning
- No Remorse
- Trapped Under Ice
- The Call Of Ktulu
- Phantom Lord
- Am I Evil
- Metal Militia
- For Whom The Bell Tolls
- Fade To Black
- Seek & Destroy
- Fight Fire With Fire
- Hit The Lights