Robert Trujillo: Cliff Burton Was a ‘Better Musician’ Than the Rest of Metallica

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Today is Cliff Burton day. The legendary bassist for Metallica was born 60 years ago today, and his mark on music is still felt.

In a recent interview with Bass Player Magazine, current Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo spoke about Burton’s memory, and what he meant for Metallica.

“Cliff was absolutely amazing for Metallica. His ideas, his presence, and where he was taking the bass and taking metal, were so special. And his stage presence – he was such a physical player. He played what he felt, and that was the bottom line. His approach was, ‘I’m gonna play what I feel, and if you don’t like it, screw you!’”

He went on to speak about connecting with Burton through friends,

“When I auditioned for Metallica in 2002, I was playing in Ozzy Osbourne’s band with one of Cliff’s best friends, Mike Bordin of Faith No More.”

“I was staying at Mike’s house in San Francisco and in the guest room at Mike’s house, where I would be practicing Metallica’s music, there is a big photo of Cliff – and at a random moment at two in the morning, I looked up and saw that photo. I actually spoke to the photo. I said, ‘Cliff, I won’t let you down, I promise. I’ll give it my best shot.’ So in a weird way I feel connected to Cliff. I feel like I know him.”

He has a lot of reverence for Burton, saying his age and musicianship were possibly better than his bandmates.

“No disrespect to my brothers in Metallica, but Cliff was older than the other guys, and in a lot of ways a better musician. He had a very broad creative skill set – a musician’s musician, in a lot of ways.

“He could play the piano and he knew classical music, as well as being a fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd. He used to ask Kirk to show him Lynyrd Skynyrd guitar solos so he could play them on bass, and not many bass players were doing that back then. I thought that was so cool. Cliff was a force on a lot of different levels.”

It’s a good reminder of how excellent a bass player Cliff Burton was. Check out the full interview here.

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