The Tao of Cliff Burton: 10 Great Quotes From Metallica's Late Bass Player | Page 2 | Revolver

The Tao of Cliff Burton: 10 Great Quotes From Metallica's Late Bass Player

Words of wisdom on life, death and "selling out"
cliff_burton_crop.jpg, Fin Costello / Getty Staff
Cliff Burton, 1985
photograph by Fin Costello / Getty Staff

A lot has been said over the years since Cliff Burton's untimely death about how he was the zero-fucks-given heart and soul of Metallica. How he introduced his bandmates to influences as diverse as the Misfits and Johann Sebastian Bach. How his bass playing revolutionized the instrument's use in heavy metal. How his passing left a gaping, impossible-to-fill void in not only Metallica but the cresting American thrash-metal scene at large.

"It was an amazing time with him, and I respected him completely because he had his own vision on how he wanted to be, and no one could fuck with that," James Hetfield remembered of Burton in a Metallica Club video interview. "Nobody could. He had a conviction. People would make fun of ... his bellbottoms, like, 'Those things went out of style years ago!' He did not care. ... He liked country music, he liked shooting guns, he liked being out in the wilderness really exploring his mind, reading bizarre things. He was really out to enjoy his life."

Burton was not known as a man of many words, but when he did speak, he was someone to listen to. Here are 10 pearls of wisdom from Metallica's fallen bass player.

"Those that start things have an advantage over those that follow." - via YouTube

"If someone has it inside them to commit an act, then that act would be committed anyway. It's very easy for someone to place the blame on something other than the person who committed the act. It's people looking for scapegoats, you know? Human nature is such that if that is within someone, that will come out one way or another. If they're going to kill, then they're going to kill. We don't make people kill. Ozzy doesn't make people kill." - via YouTube

"We do what we wanna do. If they consider that selling out, then whatever." - via YouTube

"You don't burn out from going too fast. You burn out from going too slow and getting bored."

"Just keep going like crazy and look back when it's over. Otherwise, you just get confused."

"Personally, I would say the 'master' of this whole thing is fate ... Whoever is on the playing field is fair game, and it's up to them to avoid being used."

"Bach is God." - via Music Aficianado

"Being in a band puts you in a position to make a statement, but we're not some kinda fuckin' message band. It's a question of being used, controlled, dominated — that's the subject of a lot of our stuff." - via Music Aficianado

"The studio is just a labor. Getting on stage is the reward." - via Music Aficianado

"When a man lies, he murders some part of the world. These are the pale deaths which men miscall their lives. All this I cannot bear to witness any longer. Cannot the Kingdom of Salvation take me home?" - via Metallica's "To Live Is to Die"