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Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness. As lived by Jon Zazula

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30 review for Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness. As lived by Jon Zazula

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    If you're a fan of Metallica, Anthrax, Ministry, Overkill, Manowar or '80s metal in general, this is the book for you! Megaforce label founder Jon Zazula's memoir Heavy Tales is filled with fun and fucking interesting tales of American metal's early days. The book kicks off with a nice intro from Testament singer Chuck Billy. Then Jon (I'll use "Jon" rather than referring to him by his last name, because his wife Marsha was an equal partner in the business and I don't want to disrespect her work If you're a fan of Metallica, Anthrax, Ministry, Overkill, Manowar or '80s metal in general, this is the book for you! Megaforce label founder Jon Zazula's memoir Heavy Tales is filled with fun and fucking interesting tales of American metal's early days. The book kicks off with a nice intro from Testament singer Chuck Billy. Then Jon (I'll use "Jon" rather than referring to him by his last name, because his wife Marsha was an equal partner in the business and I don't want to disrespect her work by acting like there was only one Zazula involved) goes into a brief history of his youth. This is mostly to set up the reasons for him striking out on his own at a young age. Details of his pre-music management days is colorful to say the least! After a stab at the stock market, he went in for music production and management. He and his wife started the Megaforce label on a shoestring budget. Almost immediately they hit a home run, releasing Metallica's very first album. So, obviously that is a big draw here and Jon delivers the goods, giving great insider info about their beginnings and wild ways as kids. Jon with Metallica Jon and Marsha, looking every bit the '80s rocker chick His passion for all kinds of music is apparent. The care he took in managing his bands is clear. He admits it was trial and error to begin with, but even throughout his failures you can see he's putting his whole heart into it, and that's a beautiful thing to witness. Now, Jon isn't a writer. That's no knock on the man. He's been plenty successful in his chosen field. I mention it for readers to let them know that they're going to find some funky sentence structures and occasionally a mistakenly used word. I listened to the audiobook and can't imagine what this free-ranging prose would look like on the page. Having said that, there is charm in the book's casualness. It's like having a beer with your grandpa and listening to him tell his interesting and rambling tales...only gramps is into metal. The book finishes up with tons of radio show interview questions answered live by Jon. These are fantastic! Much of it is material already covered in the book, but still the answers are insightful and provide a great retrospective look at the man and his career in music. In a way, I wish Jon hadn't narrated his book, but rather simply told his stories off-the-top of his head. In these off-the-cuff interviews, you can really hear the difference between the natural flow of him speaking versus the hesitancy of him reading from a page. I don't know if the print book has these transcribed. If not, get your hands on the audiobook. Totally worth it!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Armand Rosamilia

    I grew up in NJ and in the 80's loved to go to the flea market and buy imports. I believe I bought the No Life Til Leather demo from their store, too. Lots of cool stories about the humble beginnings of Megaforce. I lost track of them when they steered away from the heavy metal that put them on the map, and I see it wasn't an easy road. It was a shame when I heard Marsha had passed away, too. I grew up in NJ and in the 80's loved to go to the flea market and buy imports. I believe I bought the No Life Til Leather demo from their store, too. Lots of cool stories about the humble beginnings of Megaforce. I lost track of them when they steered away from the heavy metal that put them on the map, and I see it wasn't an easy road. It was a shame when I heard Marsha had passed away, too.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    It's an interesting book, if a bit of a rambling take of one participant's view of the early thrash scene. A couple things stand out about this book - I haven't read what other reviews of this book say, nor have I seen anything about any reaction to it, but I bet that he takes a bit too much credit for things that happened at the time. There are lots of stories, such as early Metallica, that are only hinted at in a roundabout way, and it seems like the author is holding back. He writes stuff lik It's an interesting book, if a bit of a rambling take of one participant's view of the early thrash scene. A couple things stand out about this book - I haven't read what other reviews of this book say, nor have I seen anything about any reaction to it, but I bet that he takes a bit too much credit for things that happened at the time. There are lots of stories, such as early Metallica, that are only hinted at in a roundabout way, and it seems like the author is holding back. He writes stuff like 'these were crazy times,' or 'things were crazy,' and never gets in to telling any actual stories. That's a disappointment, because I bet that he has a ton of actually great stories. He just doesn't really tell them here. Instead, you get a lot of hand-waving descriptions of 'Anthrax were always pressing me for more fame,' or 'Metallica was staying with me at the time.' Ok, so what happened? What was said, done, and where? It's interesting to me how right he was about Metallica, and to some degree Anthrax, but how much of the growing metal scene he missed. By the time that death metal is growing, he's spending time promoting really terrible 'alternative' bands, and he missed a whole lot of the real scene. I mean, the book doesn't pretend to be anything but one person's take on what he saw and lived, but to miss the rise of Death in Florida, the development of the Swedish scene, and then the explosion of Doom, Black, and every other type of metal from the 90s on makes it seem like he just missed so much of it. I don't know, but I can tell you that the metal scene is very much alive and well, but you'd never know it from this book. There's something else that's worth mentioning - the book is most definitely not ghost-written. There's good and bad here. For one, it needs another going-over by an editor. There are lots of elementary grammatical errors (I/me, for instance), and the book can be repetitious and a bit rambling. He seems to set up talking about a psychological diagnosis a couple of times, and never follows through. Was he actually diagnosed? Who knows? There's a lack of follow-through on the story that a professional writer never would have committed. He mentions things when he mentions them, simply because he thought of them at the time. There's no craft or development here. On the upside, it really does bring out the voice of John Z. Think of the book as sitting down and having a beer with a dude who really was there at the beginning of the mainstream metal scene. Just don't expect too much.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steve Rabideau

    Quick fun read. Lots of great stories from a great era of music. Just wish it was longer.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Debya

    Needs a real editor STAT. Two stars for the NJ stories.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Zoe L.

    Gah! I have been SO EXCITED for this book. ANd honestly, who wouldn’t be? I mean, you’re basically given the chance to go down memory lane with a legend. Plus it’s the eighties and heavy metal and Metallica and everything that goes along with this wild and oftentimes unpredictable lifestyle. This memoir was meant to be in audiobook format. I mean, Zazula narrates it himself and it’s literally like you are sitting around relaxing and he just starts relaying all of these amazing stories intertwined Gah! I have been SO EXCITED for this book. ANd honestly, who wouldn’t be? I mean, you’re basically given the chance to go down memory lane with a legend. Plus it’s the eighties and heavy metal and Metallica and everything that goes along with this wild and oftentimes unpredictable lifestyle. This memoir was meant to be in audiobook format. I mean, Zazula narrates it himself and it’s literally like you are sitting around relaxing and he just starts relaying all of these amazing stories intertwined into one life. And I don’t really think that this book would be as effective in text as it is in audiobook form. This is a story meant to told verbally and it just works as an almost conversation. This is one of those memoirs that you can go into expecting a crazy ride and leave feeling satisfied. There’s just something about the music from this time that I can always tune in to and thoroughly enjoy. And this book was just like that. Yes it may have been ramble-y, but coming from someone like this you know that those are the best types of stories. You can view my full review on my blog! I also post about a lot of different types of books! Reader | Bookstagrammer | Blogger | Reviewer @ya.its.lit - https://www.instagram.com/ya.its.lit/ Blog - https://yaitslitblog.wordpress.com/

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nick Spacek

    it's as if zazula knocked back 3 espressos, sat down at the keyboard, and said, "let's fucking go." breathless, fast-paced, and full of some pretty solid stories -- as well as appreciation for his wife's assistance and partnership in making the story of megaforce a reality. i'd love to read her side of this. it's as if zazula knocked back 3 espressos, sat down at the keyboard, and said, "let's fucking go." breathless, fast-paced, and full of some pretty solid stories -- as well as appreciation for his wife's assistance and partnership in making the story of megaforce a reality. i'd love to read her side of this.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    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 band 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.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Jon Z is a God in the world of heavy metal, so it's easy to recommend this to any and all self-proclaimed metal heads. That is, unless you happen to be a member of the grammar police. The book is written in Zazula's own words, grammatical errors and all. If you were able to press on through Brian Johnson's or Tony Iommi's books and appreciate them as someone telling their story then you're likely to enjoy this one. There are plenty of tell-all books out there, this isn't really one of them. Ther Jon Z is a God in the world of heavy metal, so it's easy to recommend this to any and all self-proclaimed metal heads. That is, unless you happen to be a member of the grammar police. The book is written in Zazula's own words, grammatical errors and all. If you were able to press on through Brian Johnson's or Tony Iommi's books and appreciate them as someone telling their story then you're likely to enjoy this one. There are plenty of tell-all books out there, this isn't really one of them. There are some allusions to "the Madness" in the title but nothing over the top. I wasn't hoping for it but I thought the title implied more graphic details so that's the only reason I docked it one star. Still, the history of those early metal days told by this icon is worth a solid four stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    The content itself is interesting, but it reads like the transcript of someone talking into a recorder. Tighter editing could’ve pulled more out of these stories and fleshed them out a little better. Was disappointed to see so little space devoted to King’s X. They were only mentioned in passing a time or two. JZ was a man important figure in heavy music and his story needs to be heard, I just wish it was told a little sharper.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lnsimon

    The stories are amazing and it's great that he got the book done before his and his wife's untimely passing. Although I appreciate Zazula's narration, he struggled with the task and the production was terrible. If you're a metal fan, you need to read this. The stories are amazing and it's great that he got the book done before his and his wife's untimely passing. Although I appreciate Zazula's narration, he struggled with the task and the production was terrible. If you're a metal fan, you need to read this.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Partman

    Testament and Vio-lence Bay Area I enjoyed this book do to living in the Bay Area. Hearing about the local bands he worked was cool.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Zisis

    Not fascinating, but very interesting.

  14. 4 out of 5

    steve hunter

    A fantastic read on true metal An absolutely fantastic read, about one of the greatest guys in metals history. Lots of stuff I never knew about. Really enjoyed this book

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    2.5 ⭐️

  16. 4 out of 5

    David Dewata

    All things Z! Must read!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Pillsbury

    Bought this as a historian of Metallica and the early-80s metal scene. As with most autobiographies by celebrities, this one is uneven and mostly superficial, and sometimes hard to take seriously. Yes, the writing can be awkward, but Jonny Z is a passionate storyteller. If only the stories were more meaningful 30-40 years later. I wanted to know more about raising his kids in such an environment - he talks about always having to raise a family but then he and Marsha were apparently always flying Bought this as a historian of Metallica and the early-80s metal scene. As with most autobiographies by celebrities, this one is uneven and mostly superficial, and sometimes hard to take seriously. Yes, the writing can be awkward, but Jonny Z is a passionate storyteller. If only the stories were more meaningful 30-40 years later. I wanted to know more about raising his kids in such an environment - he talks about always having to raise a family but then he and Marsha were apparently always flying to various cities for their label. And how do the kids feel about it now? I did appreciate the honesty and let-bygones-be-bygones approach to the past. I had no idea about his Wall Street career and his white collar conviction and prison time and it was cool that he was open about his mistakes. He’s certainly not out to settle old scores with this book. Things do get a little repetitive in the last 1/4 of the book, and you can sense Jonny is getting tired of writing. The bands are nobodies and the “ride” is basically over during the 90s for he and Marsha, so I wanted to know more about how his life functioned in those years. All in all this is an acceptable contribution toward the historical record of the 1982-83-84 era.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gord

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michael Belpedio

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jay Johnston

  23. 5 out of 5

    Augusta

  24. 5 out of 5

    Terry

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marc

  26. 5 out of 5

    Todd Whitecotton

  27. 5 out of 5

    J W

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bobo Coen

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dan Lactose

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daniele Purrone

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