Ray Burton calls son “humble” in would-be birthday tribute
By Mindy Rochwerg
February 11, 2015
February 10, 2015 would have been the 53rd birthday of original Metallica bassist, Cliff Burton, who died at the age of 24 in a tragic bus accident while the band was on the Master of Puppets tour in Sweden.
At the NAMM show in Anaheim, California last month, Cliff’s Signature Morely Power Fuzz Wah pedal was unveiled and Cliff’s father, Ray Burton, was on hand to see it.
Ray was interviewed by Memphis radio station Rock 103 on-air personality, Catrina Guttery. When asked if he knew that Cliff was talented from an early age, Ray told Guttery that he saw signs of Cliff’s talent 5 or 6 months after Cliff had started practicing and learning to play the bass.
Guttery mentioned that Cliff is “recognized as one of the top bassists of all time.” When asked what Cliff’s musical legacy meant to him, Ray responded:
“Surprising. Really, Catrina, I had no idea that Cliff was going to be that popular or was that popular even at his time. But I guess the reason that I didn’t pay all that much attention to it was that Cliff never let on that he had that much talent. The only thing that he said that really gave me an indication that he was a pretty good musician, he said to his mother and me that, ‘if you could support me for five years and if I don’t make it as an occupation, then I will become a studio musician.’” Ray explained that to Cliff that if you were a studio musician, you were a “top-notch” musician, and he added, “So right there, I felt that Cliff knew his talent. But he never bragged about it, he never gloated or anything, he just knew that he could play the bass that well.”
The elder Burton also told Guttery that he had felt good about seeing Megadeth bassist David Ellefson playing the Aria Pro II Cliff Burton Signature Bass and the Morely Cliff Burton Signature Fuzz Wah pedal at the unveiling of the latter, and loving it.
When asked what he wanted the world to remember about Cliff, his father replied, “…he was humble. He saw a lot of rock stars and how they behaved and how they ran their lives and so forth and Cliff would not have any of it. He was quite humble in guiding his life.”
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