Remembering Cliff Burton of Metallica

For the Record Cliff Lee Burton was the Bassist of The Legendary Trash metal band from Los Angeles California” Metallica”.

They couldn’t have made it big without Cliff Burton.He is considered by many to be one of the greatest metal bassists of all time.And an inspiration to many a bassists around the world.


Cliff Burton was born in february 10th 1962, to Jan and Ray Burton. He also had two siblings, his brother Scott and an older sister Connie. He grew up and went to highschool and junior college in San Fransisco (Castro Valley), where he also had a job at an equipment rental yard.

Cliff started playing in 1976, and used to jam around with some local friends, when he got together with some guys who called themselves EZ Street, named after a strip joint in San Mateo. They played all kinds of weird stuff and a lot of covers, or as Cliff himself put it “It was pretty silly, actually. We did a lot of covers, just wimpy shit.”. Cliff was with them for a while, for a few years. And that slowly but surely disintegrated. As he graduated from high school in 1980, he saw Trauma and he thought that he might as well do that since he didn’t have anything better to do. Back Then Cliff was the Front Man constantly head banging with his red hair flying.

Metallica got wind of this upcoming bass player during one of Trauma’s gigs in the SF area. Lars and James went to see him and his band, and all of a sudden they hear some crazy guitar solo from the stage from this really red-headed wild guy. As they take a closer look, James is like “Dude, that is a BASS!!”.

Lars Ulrich: He had this stage presence and this visual thing about him that was just incredible.

James Hetfield: You couldn’t tell what he was playing but when you looked at it a little closer it was a bass guitar. He had all these wild noises coming out of it, and his head wouldn’t stop, it was incredible. We pretty much knew he was our kinda guy.

James and Lars agreed that Cliff was the man that they wanted to play the bass for Metallica. Lars started calling Cliff almost after a schedule to plead him to join Metallica. Meanwhile, Trauma was starting to annoy Cliff in a couple of different ways such as getting commercial and changing their musical attitude and direction, so Cliff was about to say ‘Cya’ and to start looking for next project anyway. Cliff wanted to get heavier, so Metallica was an ideal choice at the time. So, after many months of pleading and phone calls Cliff agreed to join Metallica, however on one condition, that they would have to move to San Fransisco Bay area, and luckily Metallica agreed.

Cliff and Metallica released three albums (Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets) and made six major tours.His first gig was on the “Kill em all for one tour” back on march 5th 1983.

Cliff Burton during ozzy tour 1986 : We’re not trying to be something big and fancy, you know, it’s just us doing what we do. Let’s keep it that way.

James Hetfield (on recording and writing Master Of Puppets): Trying to create a little more mood swings into things. Incorporate more acoustic work to, you know, make the heavier stuff heavier, the dynamics and things like that. We started learning harmonies, which Cliff was really good at, he took music theory, he was basically teaching at least myself a lot about harmonies and how they entwine, how they work together.

Cliff Burton (on bass stuff on Master Of Puppets): On this album it’s the intro to a song called “Damage”, done all on bass. It’s about eight or 12 tracks of bass, a lot of harmonies and volume swells and effects and stuff. I would hesitate to call it a bass solo, it’s more just an intro, but it is all bass. There’s also a little bass solo in Orion, it’s right next to a little guitar solo. No one will probably be able to tell that it’s bass, but it is.

On the 26th September 1986, Metallica was headlining with support Anthrax in front of 2700 fans in Solnahallen in Stockholm. This was the first show since James broke his arm in an skateboarding accident earlier in the summer that he was back on guitar. All in the group was in a great mood and they played a really good gig. As John Marshal remembers “They slaughtered”, and as they were having a real good time they added one extra number to the set list – Blitzkrieg, since they just didn’t want to stop playing. Cliff also added a snippet of Star Spangled Banner for his solo that evening, which left the crown cheering even more.

Complete bio can be found here on Wikipedia

Also check out the fan site dedicated to Cliff its called Cliff in our minds

It has everything related to Cliff Burton \m/


~ by da|v|ned on October 20, 2010.

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