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.

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Joel McIver

Joel McIver was the Editor of Bass Player magazine from 2018 to 2022, having spent six years before that editing Bass Guitar 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.