Anthrax Drummer Charlie Benante Remembers Late Metallica Bassist Cliff Burton

Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante recently spoke to regarding the upcoming Big Four show at Yankee Stadium on September 14. When we was asked to name his favorite Metallica song, he shared the following story about late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton.

"Metallica would be 'Master of Puppets.' If I’m somewhere near the stage and I hear that song starting, I have to go watch because there’s something about it. And it has another significant meaning, about Cliff Burton to me. Both bands were on tour in 1986 overseas and they were on the Puppets record, and one day we had a day off in England, and it was me, Scott, Kirk, and Cliff, and we went to breakfast. And we sat down and were just talking about stuff, and I said 'In the song Master of Puppets, right before the lead break comes in, James screams something out, and I can never understand what he says. What is it?' And Cliff looked at Kirk like, 'I don’t even know.' And we were ordering breakfast at the time, and there was a bit of silence at the time, and Cliff said 'I think he says 'pancakes.' And we all started laughing, and it was funny, and then every show after that on that tour, when I would be on the side of the stage watching and that part would come up, Cliff would always look at me and mouth the word 'pancakes.'"

"So let’s go forward 20-something odd years, and here we are at the dinner before the first Big 4 show in Poland, we had this dinner set up, Metallica had all the bands there. And I was talking to James about some things and that story came up, and I told him, and he thanked me so much for telling him that story, because so much from that time is a blur to him, so when he hears stories it helps him remember the good times back then. So first show, in Poland, they did Puppets. But I wasn’t on stage. And the next day Robert goes to me, 'Where were you? James screamed out 'pancakes!' So he does it now."

You can read more from the interview here.

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Josh Hart

Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.