A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Posts tagged “Cliff Burton

Ride the Lightning (1984)

UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01:  Photo of Cliff BURTON and METALLICA; Cliff Burton, posed, studio,  (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)

CLIFF BURTON and METALLICA (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)

31 years ago yesterday, Metallica released their 2nd album, Ride the Lightning. All of you thrash fans will probably know most of these details already, but here’s an article from Loudwire that one of my friends posted on FB. I like that they delved into some of Cliff‘s songwriting and teaching contributions early in the text.

Here’s the part about Cliff:

Guitarist James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich had written most of Metallica’s first album with Dave Mustaine. Since Mustaine was no longer in the group when the sessions for Ride the Lightning began, bassist Cliff Burton stepped to the forefront, contributing to six of the eight songs and encouraging his bandmates to experiment with different tempos and structures on songs like “Fight Fire With Fire” and the cinematic instrumental “The Call of Ktulu.”

Like Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris, who was one of Metallica’s musical heroes, Burton played with his fingers, imbuing the songs with fluidity. Since he had some knowledge of music theory, he showed Hetfield and Hammett how to augment core notes with complementary counter-melodies and how basic guitar harmony worked. He also enhanced the music with effect pedals, including the Morley wah-wah, which provided a sweeping, cutting sound under the metallic crunch.

“I think Cliff was the one who really taught them about melody,” adds Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian. “Cliff was the maestro. He was really accomplished and was thinking beyond thrash and metal. He always wore an R.E.M. t-shirt and a Lynyrd Skynyrd pin on his jean jacket and I think that gives you an idea of where his head was at.”

“Ride the Lightning gave Cliff a platform to shine as a songwriter and a player,” said Metal Mania fanzine founder and KUSF Ramgate Radio DJ Ron Quintana. “He could do it all. He gave Metallica many more options than just playing fast. He loved complex music. He listened to classical, Frank Zappa and it showed in his bass playing.”

I remember reading that wherever they went, Cliff would find a bass teacher and take lessons. He was always learning and exploring. I’m glad that he was able to impart some of what he learned to the rest of the team. R.I.P.

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My shirts came in!

So last week, wifey went shopping and got these tall brown cowboy boots. Somehow, this is for winter. Well, I decided to get something to keep myself warm too, only I did it a bit different. I went online and grabbed images of some of my favorite bass players and put them together into a picture on the computer. I then dug around and found a cool image of a bass cleff and ordered two shirts from SpreadShirt.com. I made 2 variations. The first one has Alex Webster, Jeroen Thesseling and Steve DiGiorgio on it. The 2nd has Cliff Burton, Steve Harris and Geezer Butler. The back of each is that Gigeresque bass clef.

Well, the shirts just came in. 🙂 They were apparently inspected by someone named Sydney. There were 5 or 6 different long-sleeves to pick from. I opted for the kind that looked like it would be wearable outside, and that looked like it could handle some additional layering underneath. Right now, pre-wash, I’m happy with them. Wifey’s going to be mad when I grab her after work this afternoon (yeah, she has a Saturday shift today). She also ordered some shirts from Indonesia and heard yesterday that it’ll take 14-21 days to arrive in the states. 😉 I think hers are Joy Division and The Smiths. They’re not customized like mine though. 😉

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