Author: Jon Zazula
Narrator: Jon Zazula
Length: 7 hours 13 minutes
Publisher: Crazed Management LLC
Released: Jul. 21, 2020
Genre: Memoir; Music
Heavy Tales is the detailed, never-before-told story as lived by Jonny Zazula. A riveting, tumultuous journey from renegade youth to metal music mogul, with detailed accounts of the struggles and successes along the way. How he created Megaforce Records and CraZed Management out of a flea market in New Jersey with his wife, Marsha, to discovering Metallica and launching a musical genre that forever changed the scope of music history. The hundreds of artists they worked with would go on to release some of the most prolific and important albums in heavy metal history, giving it its Golden Era.
Penned by Jonny Zazula and co-written by Harold Claros-Maldonado, Heavy Tales details the stories of how Jonny Z worked miracles by managing and releasing albums by Metallica, Anthrax, Testament, Mercyful Fate, Raven, Overkill, Exciter, Stormtroopers of Death, Method of Destruction, Ace Frehley’s Comet, King’s X, Ministry, Mindfunk, Nudeswirl, Warren Haynes, Disco Biscuits, and many more, and how one night in 1984, he jokingly created rap metal before anyone else conceived the idea.
With a foreword written by Chuck Billy, plus a bonus feature gallery with more than 100 rare photographs unearthed from the MegaVault, Heavy Tales is the definitive American story of a family man with a dream, determined to prove to the world that heavy metal belonged on the stage, on the radio, and in your living room.
Exclusive only to the Heavy Tales audiobook is a collection of Q+A’s taken from 10 live broadcasts from the Brothers Grimm radio show on Cranium Radio.com, where Jonny answers 89 unfiltered questions from listeners giving an even deeper look into his life.
JONATHAN ZAZULA is the owner of New Jersey’s Rock n’ Roll Heaven record store and founder of Megaforce Records. Zazula’s record store in East Brunswick, New Jersey made him a central figure of the East Coast metal scene, regularly playing demo tapes sent to him through his underground tape-trading network. His central role in the East Coast metal scene would later be an essential factor in launching the career of Metallica. Zazula offered the band their first opportunity to play in the New York area, coordinated a touring schedule, and later released their debut album Kill ‘Em All. Zazula went on to sign and work with other artists including: Warren Haynes, Testament, Tad, Overkill, Frehley’s Comet, King’s X, Ministry, and Anthrax. He lives in Furlong, Pennsylvania, with his wife Marsha and daughter Blaire.
Heavy Tales was OK. On one hand, it gives a historical account of Megaforce Records and the beginnings of Metallica, plus some other bands. However, I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if I had grown up listening to heavy metal. I only discovered the music as an adult, and admittedly, I don’t always get why something is epic in this music genre.
Some of the book was easily accessible for even this musically-crippled ear but some parts of the book referred to things or people or bands that I didn’t recognize. The book does some name dropping and if you don’t know the musician or music manager or band, then the sentence has little meaning. I definitely enjoy a memoir a lot more when the author makes a solid effort to speak to those who aren’t hardcore fans.
What does come through loud and clear is Jon’s and Marsha’s dedication to these bands and the music genre. I also applaud Jon speaking of his own mental health, or the lack of it, through out his many years in the music industry.
The book finishes up Jon’s career in the music industry. Yet the book doesn’t end there. The end of the book is padded with several things, like discographies, kind words from Zazula fans, and some other stuff that I lost track of. Over all, 3/5 stars.
The Narration: Jon Zazula read his own book for this audiobook recording, and ironically, it was not a good fit. The recording quality itself is not polished. The volume goes up and down. There are clear sections that were recorded over. There’s also several spots where there are mouth sounds. The pacing is a little slow but that’s easily remedied by bumping up the playback speed just a touch. Jon himself is not a clear, consistent reader of his own words. I feel the audiobook would have greatly benefitted from some professional assistance on the tech side and also some coaching on how to narrate an audiobook. I’m giving it a generous 3/5 stars because of the effort put into the entire book.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Crazed Management LLC. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
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