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Cliff Burton’s Father Has Been Donating Metallica Royalties To Burton’s High School

August 11, 2017 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Metallica Cliff Burton

In an interview with Alphabetallica (transcribed by Ultimate Guitar), Cliff Burton’s 92-year-old father Ray has been donating his Metallica royalties to Burton’s old high school. Burton died in 1986 after an accident with the band’s tour bus. Here are highlights:

On still getting royalties: “From the royalties that I get, I give a scholarship to the high school he went to, the Castro Valley High School, for music. So the kids that have won it thank me for it. I think Cliff probably would have done that with his money, because he was not against education by any means. He liked it very much.”

On when Cliff first started getting money: “I had absolutely no idea what that album [1983’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’] meant. We realized that things had a possibility of really getting big when Cliff got his first royalty check. I think it was $1,500. He said, ‘Mom and dad, here’s my first check. Come on, I’ll take you out to dinner tonight.’ ‘Okay, let’s go!’ We went to dinner to his favorite sushi place in Hayward, which is right next door to Castro Valley. That was the first thing that I got that maybe there were bigger things down the road.”

On seeing Cliff with Metallica: “First time I saw James and Lars and Dave Mustaine was at The Stone in San Francisco. [My wife] Jan and I went to see Cliff perform with his new band, and they did very very well for themselves. They all had a mop a hair that wouldn’t quit, but they were quite entertaining. And that’s one of the amazing things – they’re still so entertaining. I like to go to Metallica’s concerts. The music isn’t my big-band music, but nevertheless it is entertaining. Music should be entertaining to you, and they certainly are. James does a fantastic job as a singer and the frontman. He’s just an absolute natural. I remember one time asking him if he was a cheerleader in high school. Got a big laugh, and gosh, he was anything but that. It always amazed me, here’s a guy that was quite quiet and just turning out to be fantastic guitar player first of all, and singing his heavy metal tunes, getting the crowd to join in on the program, so to speak.”

On who Cliff was: “He was an exceptional kid. To us he was just a good human being, he never gave us any kind of problems. He wasn’t into drugs, except for beer and some kinds of alcohol. Only one time did he come home drunk and David DiDonato [Cliff’s friend and drummer]… [Laughs] There was a knock on the door and this was about 2 in the morning, and Jan went. I could hear the conversation, and Jan said, ‘Ray, come here!’ I got up and went there, and David was struggling with Cliff to get him in the house. We got him in the house and took him to his room. And he was really snockered! [Laughs] Anyway, Jan got all concerned, and I thought, ‘That’s happened to me a few times, so I’ll handle it Jan. You go back to bed.’ And I sat Cliff on the bed and I started taking his shirt and undressing him, getting ready for bed – he was around 18 years of age. I’m getting him undressed for bed, and he got this shit-eating grin on his face, and he says, ‘You’re the greatest dad in the world!’ [Laughs] It’s funny what alcohol will do to you. That has always stayed with me, because just treated me that way, like I was just a real nice dad. Of course, that was where I wanted it to be, and tried to be. When you have a child that is so positive in the relationship with his mother and dad that you just can’t complain at all about it. That was the case with Jan and me.”

article topics :

Cliff Burton, Metallica, Joseph Lee