the last words from the metallica-star
14 hours later, cliff burton died in a bus crash.
today (read ‘96) it’s 10 years since metallica’s bass player
cliff burton died in a bus crash in småland, sweden.
in november the band was back in sweden on a new tour.
aftonbladet's jörgen holmstedt made the last interview with cliff burton.
14 hours later, he was dead.
metallica had just had their breakthrough with "master of puppets" and cliff burton was in a good mood.
he sat together with the rest of the band in one of the record company alphas rooms on råsundavägen in solna, stockholm.
they joked, laughed and drank beer.
until then, metallica had been working uphill.
they had more or less invented a new branch on the tree of hard rock – the fast, complex and punk brutal trash metal.
a few reviewers took them seriously but the first two albums “kill ‘em all” ,1983,
and “ride the lightning” ,1984, hadn’t sold very much.
but with the third and new album “master of puppets” it had started things happening.
it had sold 470, 000 copies in us only, and soon cliff and the other members of metallica would get their first gold-record.
i asked cliff burton if he had expected this.
- hell no. in this business you can never expect anything. it’s not about becoming a star over night exactly.
i’m surprised we’ve gotten this far without being played on the radio. we have shown that there’s a hope for our kind of music.
- do you think it will continue growing?
- well. everything changes. new trends come and leave before you even notice.
but there are always some bands that hold tight to the old stuff.
which metallica did. five years ago, they became the biggest hard rock-band in the world with “the black album”,
a record that until this day (read ‘96) has been sold in over 15 million copies and made the four metallica-members james hetfield,
lars ulrich, kirk hammett and cliff's replacement jason newsted into multi-millionaires.
when cliff burton, ten years ago sat in solna and drank green tuborg directly from the can,
he still hadn’t made any money on metallica.
- that’s true, he said. the money we have gotten together goes to keep the band running, buy equipment and go touring.
he told me about a better life, in the material way.
- i still live with my parents. but as soon as i can afford it, i’ll buy myself my own home.
one day i’ll have money. i hope.
the legend of cliff burton has, like the legends of other dead rock stars just grown bigger during the years.
he joined metallica in the beginning of 1983 after a long persuasion from lars, james and kirk.
the condition was that the three of them would leave los angeles, which cliff hated,
and move up to his hometown san francisco.
cliff burton lifted the bass playing considerably since they had kicked ron mcgoverny out.
the new kid was an ultra-talented musician that almost played guitar on the bass and taught the rest of the group a lot about song structure, composition and dynamics.
the other band members' respect for cliff was enormous.
cliff Burton’s big idol was johann sebastian bach. he actually, listened very little to trash metal.
- it’s a big difference of what we do and what we listen to, he explained.
i listen to stuff that has nothing at all to do with hard rock, like r.e.m. have you heard them?
i also like peter gabriel, roxy music and the older hard rock. you know, thin lizzy, blue öyster cult, rush and black sabbath and also punk like the misfits.
during his last interview, cliff Burton foresaw metallica’s future like a more controlled hard rock-band with lower tempo and softer appearance.
- sometimes when i listen to softer music than what we do, i feel like writing songs like that.
right now though, there’s no time for that.
but one day i’ll think it will happen.
i remember i thought that cliff burton looked much older than 24, with the discoloured teeth,
the tired look in his eyes and the slightly slow speech.
i took farewell and some hours later metallica played their last concert with cliff burton.
the place was solnahallen and the gig was a success.
half past five the morning after, metallica was met with a terrible accident.
their big nightrider bus was on its way to their next gig in copenhagen when it on road e4,
at dörarp, close to ljungby, ended up in the left ditch.
the driver got the bus back on the road again, only to lose control again and drive down in the right ditch.
cliff burton was thrown out through a window and was crushed under the bus.
archive cliff burton:
born: february 10,1962 in san francisco, usa.
died: september 27, 1986 in dörarp, sweden.
records: the trauma-song “such a shame” on the album “metal massacre ii” ,1982, the metallica-albums “mill ‘em all” ,1983, “mide the lightning” ,1984, and “master of puppets” ,1986.
the metallica-twelve’s “jump in the fire” ,1984, and “creeping death” ,1984.
he did never experience the success.
cliff curton was killed just when metallica was on its way to break through.
in his last interview 14 hours before his death, he said, among other things:
“there is a hope for our kind of music.”
written by: jörgen holmstedt
translated by: carl hakner