A rare lo-fi recording of Metallica featuring Cliff Burton and Dave Mustaine performing together has resurfaced across the music press. This performance took place on March 5th, 1983, at the Stone in San Francisco, before the release of the band’s debut album Kill ‘Em All. It also marked Burton’s first performance with the band.
Mustaine, who would later front the heavy metal band Megadeth, and Burton, only performed 10 shows together, before Mustaine was eventually kicked out of Metallica for excessive drinking and aggressive behavior. Four months the band would release Kill ‘Em All, which is widely considered watershed moment for thrash metal. Most of the songs performed were off of that debut album.
At the 6:20 mark Mustaine introduces Burton calling him “the new rager.” Burton was the band’s second bassist, and ended up performing on their first three studio albums Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning and Master of Puppets.
Burton passed away on September 27th, 1986, after Metallica’s tour bus crashed in Sweden. This happened a mere six months after band had just released their most widely celebrated, and commercially successful album at the time Master of Puppets.
Despite his death, Burton is widely celebrated for his contributions to the band and thrash metal in general; being named as Rolling Stone’s ninth greatest bassist of all time. The artist’s instrumental track “Orion,” which was featured on Master of Puppets, is considered to be his magnum opus, and has been widely seen as a standard for bass playing in thrash metal.
Mustaine was still close with Burton after his eventual departure for his band, and even created the instrumentals for “In My Darkest Hour,” in honor of him. Despite this, Mustaine contends that the lyrics for the track were not written for the bassist. He describes a unique songwriting processes where he will write the music for certain tracks with one central theme or idea, and the lyrics with a different inspiration.
“People have always thought that that song(“In My Darkest Hour”) is about Cliff because I’ve said that I wrote the music when he died. And the music is about him, but the lyrics are about [Mustaine’s former girlfriend] Diana,” Mustaine explained in an interview with Guitar World.”It’s a similar thing with “The Hardest Part of Letting Go.” I wrote the music for my wife, but the lyrics were inspired by an Edgar Allan Poe story, because I thought the song called for an interesting twist.”
Back in 2009 Burton, along with the rest of Metallica, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame together. His father, Ray Burton, inducted his son and stated that his wife was the band’s largest fan.
Earlier this year the band announced a live acoustic album Helping Hands… Live & Acoustic at the Masonic, in support of those affected by the California wildfires. This album was recorded during a show at The Masonic in San Francisco.
Photo Credits: Mauricio Alvarado