Metallica on Cliff Burton’s Beer, Breakfast, Fishing and Hammers
Members of Metallica celebrated Cliff Burton’s eccentricities, with guitarist Kirk Hammett expressing disappointment that they didn’t have more offstage material that demonstrated the late bassist’s character.
In a recent appearance on Kerrang! Radio, Hammett said he wanted more people to be aware of Burton’s influence on the band before he died in a tour bus crash in 1986.
“There’s just not enough footage of him, there’s not enough pictures of him, there’s just not enough of him,” he said. “For people who are coming into Metallica and finding out about Metallica, there’s just not enough information about him. If there’s one thing that I actually have a regret about, it’s not documenting Cliff enough. But, you know, back then, we didn’t know that it would be the situation that it is now – and so it would have been weird to say, ‘OK, Cliff, come here. We’re just gonna film you.’”
He added that Burton was “hilarious all the time,” noting that “other than music, his other huge things in his life were beer and breakfast. He lived for beer and he lived for breakfast. He was always talking about beer and breakfast. … I wish I would have had footage of him getting excited about going to a pub. Or whenever he had a plate full of food, he would walk differently. He would walk with a sense of urgency. I would just crack up because it was just so weird to me.”
You can watch the interview below.
Frontman James Hetfield recalled more of Burton’s interests, saying, “He loved fishing and hammers as well. He would take his little Pocket Fisherman on tour and find any little lake. And he carried a hammer in his suitcase. I was, like, ‘What are you doing with that?’ He [said], ‘I don’t know. Just in case. Just in case you need a hammer!’ ... He was quite a character – very, very himself. He was unapologetically Cliff. And yeah, we miss him to this day.”
Meanwhile, Burton’s replacement, Jason Newsted, expressed his pride over what Metallica went on to achieve after he quit in 2001. In a recent interview on SiriusXM, the bassist said he kept in regular contact with drummer Lars Ulrich. “I’ve got nothing but mad respect,” Newsted noted. “And I’m so frickin’ proud of those guys. Still cutting it like that, man? … And taking this big of a bite and going for shows all the way up through, what, the fall of ’24 or something? Frickin’ huge balls, dude. Incredible. How can't you applaud that? ... It was obviously meant to be. Who has this kind of staying power? I mean, it’s such a unique thing.”