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Bass Player meets Metallica: Robert Trujillo salutes our cover star Cliff Burton

Cover of Bass Player 424
The major rager on the four-string motherf***er! Cliff on the new issue of Bass Player (Image credit: Future)

When I was 17 in 1988, I bought my first bass guitar, a $50 Fender Precision copy. It was terrible, and my rudimentary playing was even worse, but in my head, of course, I sounded exactly like Paul McCartney, John Taylor, Geezer Butler and most of all, Cliff Burton, who had died just a couple of years before.

As a teenage Metallica fan, I was intrigued by the unexpectedly melodic nature of Cliff’s playing. Nowadays we know that this was the result of his study of Geddy Lee, Steve Harris and Johann Sebastian Bach, but back then, all I knew was that he was playing great-sounding lines and fills, often through a barrage of distortion. I gave it my best shot, and several decades later I should really thank my long-suffering parents for putting up with it.

Here we are in 2022, and Cliff’s legacy is – if anything – stronger than ever. Long-time disciples like me have never forgotten the wizardry of his bass playing, or the bitter injustice of his early death for that matter, which makes it all the more fulfilling to be able to celebrate him on the cover of BP, literally the best magazine on the planet for that purpose. Metallica's Robert Trujillo speaks to us in depth about his admiration for Cliff, as well as the challenges in following in his huge footsteps, and we also jump on a plane to Sweden to attend the opening of the new Cliff museum near Ljungby, where he died on that fateful day in '86. 

We also meet Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go’s, Rick Savage of Def Leppard and Randy Jackson of Journey, one of the best-known bassists in the world thanks to his tenure on American Idol. We look back at a legendary interview with Jack Bruce, we test bass gear from Gibson, Gallien-Krueger and Luna Guitars, and we provide you with the best bass education on the planet. Get the mag at Magazines Direct (opens in new tab).

See you next month!

Joel McIver, Editor

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Joel McIver
Joel McIver

Joel McIver is the Editor of Bass Player magazine. A journalist with 25 years' experience in the music field, he's also the author of 35 books, a couple of bestsellers among them. He regularly appears on podcasts, radio and TV and occasionally teaches at BIMM.