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Metallica’s Cliff Burton about his favorite bassists and bands

Cliff Burton


Metallica’s Cliff Burton about his favorite bassists and bands

Metallica bassist Cliff Burton unfortunately died too soon at the age of 24 in an accident with the band’s tour bus in 1986. In an rare interview made by Harald O. back in the 80’s with Burton and published in Thrash Metal magazine the musician revealed his his favorite bassists and bands.


Metallica’s Cliff Burton talks about his favorite bassists and bands:

What are some of your influences?

“My influences would be… well, first off, with bass playing it would be Geddy Lee, Geezer Butler, Stanley Clarke….”

The gods. What about Steve Harris?

“Um, no, I never really heard him until it was like….”

Till you’d already developed your own style?

Cliff Burton bass

“Yeah. Lemmy [Motörhead] also had an influence in the way he uses distortion. That was different, new, and exciting. Also, certain guitar players had an influence. People like… well, everything Thin Lizzy did has had an influence.”

Phil was great.

Jimi Hendrix, Ulrich Roth, Schenker to a degree, Tony Iommi—they also had an influence.”

How about your top five albums? This is kind of lame….

” Uhhh… top five albums… Well, let’s just say top five bands. Everything by Glenn Danzig, which is The Misfits or Samhain, all of his shit. All of Thin Lizzy’s stuff. What else? Jesus, what else….? Awww, shit!”

English Dogs? Creedence?

“Nah, nah. The old Black Sabbath stuff…. What else? There’s a band called R.E.M. that I like a lot, strangely enough. There’s also…. a lot of the old Aerosmith, the new Aerosmith shit, too. I like Aerosmith a lot.”

So how did you first get in contact with Metallica?

“Trauma went down to L.A. and did some stuff. While in L.A., Lars and James saw us and decided that they would like to have me in their band. And so they started getting ahold of me and calling me, and I came to their shows here when they played Frisco [San Francisco]. And eventually Trauma started to… annoy me… a couple of different ways, so I said, “Later.”


“Musically? Yeah, yeah, it was musical. They were starting to adopt these attitudes about… well, it was starting to get a little commercial in different ways, just different general musical attitudes that I found annoying.”

You wanted to get heavier?


I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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