In celebration of the life of the late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, this year’s annual Cliff Burton Day event will take place virtually tomorrow, February 10, starting at 10 p.m. ET. It would have been the legend’s 59th birthday. The featured guests include members of Burton’s Spastik Children punk project, Vio-lence vocalist Sean Killian, Metal Church guitarist John Marshall, Metalforce Records A&R executive Metal Maria, Burton’s former girlfriend Corrine Lynn and photographer/writer Harald Oimen.
The show will be hosted by television/film director Nicholas Gomez at Twitch.tv/GomezGrip. Spastik Children vocalist Fred Cotton and guitarist James McDaniel, the two members playing the livestream, were both founders of the group before Metallica frontman James Hetfield joined on drums and Burton joined on bass. Killian and Burton grew up together in Castro Valley, California and attended the same high school. John Marshall worked as Metallica’s guitar technician and Oimen interviewed Burton in 1986 about how he started out as a bassist among other things.
Castro Valley named February 10 Cliff Burton Day in 2018, so it’s a relatively new event. Burton had joined Metallica in 1982 and became essential to the band’s early style, substantially contributing to the songwriting for their first three albums, Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets. Then in 1986, on the Master of Puppets tour in Europe, the band’s bus lost control during some stormy weather and Burton died in the accident. Flotsam and Jetsam bassist Jason Newsted took over on bass after that, but the loss of Burton was enormous.
In recent years, Hetfield has made statements that Burton would’ve fought against the band’s change in style throughout the ‘90s and discussed how their reaction to his death impacted the sound quality of their 1988 album …And Justice for All. Metallica has previously made full performances from the Burton-era available in honor of his passing, including free footage of his first performance with the band in 1983. Notably, Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine had been in the band as a guitarist at that point.