Class Act: Cliff Burton's 92-Year-Old Dad Is Donating Cliff's Royalties to His High-School

"I think Cliff probably would have done that with his money, because he was not against education by any means."

Ultimate Guitar
Class Act: Cliff Burton's 92-Year-Old Dad Is Donating Cliff's Royalties to His High-School

Cliff Burton's 92-year-old dad Ray Burton talked about the royalties his late son is still receiving for his studio performances with Metallica, saying on Alphabetallica (transcribed by UG):

"From the royalties that I get, I give a scholarship to the high school he went to, the Castro Valley High School, for music. So the kids that have won it thank me for it.

"I think Cliff probably would have done that with his money, because he was not against education by any means. He liked it very much."

Remembering the time when Cliff started getting his first money from Metallica music, Ray noted:

"I had absolutely no idea what that album [1983's 'Kill 'Em All'] meant. We realized that things had a possibility of really getting big when Cliff got his first royalty check.

"I think it was $1,500. He said, 'Mom and dad, here's my first check. Come on, I'll take you out to dinner tonight.' 'Okay, let's go!' We went to dinner to his favorite sushi place in Hayward, which is right next door to Castro Valley.

"That was the first thing that I got that maybe there were bigger things down the road."

Remembering the first time he saw Cliff with Metallica, Ray said:

"First time I saw James and Lars and Dave Mustaine was at The Stone in San Francisco. [My wife] Jan and I went to see Cliff perform with his new band, and they did very very well for themselves.

"They all had a mop a hair that wouldn't quit, b they were quite entertaining. And that's one of the amazing things - they're still so entertaining.

"I like to go to Metallica's concerts. The music isn't my big-band music, but nevertheless it is entertaining. Music should be entertaining to you, and they certainly are.

"James does a fantastic job as a singer and the frontman. He's just an absolute natural. I remember one time asking him if he was a cheerleader in high school. Got a big laugh, and gosh, he was anything but that.

"It always amazed me, here's a guy that was quite quiet and just turning out to be fantastic guitar player first of all, and singing his heavy metal tunes, getting the crowd to join in on the program, so to speak."

Talking about Cliff in general, Ray said:

"He was an exceptional kid. To us he was just a good human being, he never gave us any kind of problems.

"He wasn't into drugs, except for beer and some kinds of alcohol.

"Only one time did he come home drunk and David DiDonato [Cliff's friend and drummer]... [Laughs] There was a knock on the door and this was about 2 in the morning, and Jan went.

"I could hear the conversation, and Jan said, 'Ray, come here!' I got up and went there, and David was struggling with Cliff to get him in the house. We got him in the house and took him to his room. And he was really snockered! [Laughs]

"Anyway, Jan got all concerned, and I thought, 'That's happened to me a few times, so I'll handle it Jan. You go back to bed.'

"And I sat Cliff on the bed and I started taking his shirt and undressing him, getting ready for bed - he was around 18 years of age.

"I'm getting him undressed for bed, and he got this shit-eating grin on his face, and he says, 'You're the greatest dad in the world!' [Laughs]

"It's funny what alcohol will do to you.

"That has always stayed with me, because just treated me that way, like I was just a real nice dad. Of course, that was where I wanted it to be, and tried to be.

"When you have a child that is so positive in the relationship with his mother and dad that you just can't complain at all about it. That was the case with Jan and me."

29 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Man no wonder Cliff turned out to be such an important member of the band whose counsel and opinion the guys respected...he had a freaking great and loving father
    PRSguitars87 · Aug 09, 2017 12:15 PM
    What else is he going to do with it? Gee I don't know, how about anything? He did something nice with it. 
    " ...when Cliff got his first royalty check. "I think it was $1,500. He said, 'Mom and dad, here's my first check. Come on, I'll take you out to dinner tonight...' I just love this part. Tells me everything what Cliff was as a person. Here are these two people who brought you up from diapers into young adulthood, and the moment he got some extra loose money his first thought was to show some gratitude to them. Even if I think people tend to put him a bit too much on pedestal, blessed be his soul. Your career was way too short in the worlds biggest metal band, and as a son who clearly was very loved and was very loving himself.
    Implying all adults don't wear diapers.  
    Yes very true. Even at a young age, he still respected his parents. Always respect your elders kids!
    Aryan Death Man
    Not gonna lie. That last part about Cliff saying  'You're the greatest dad in the world!  got me teary eyed
    I had no idea he was 92 years old already. I would of guessed he was alot younger from the youtube videos I seen of him. He seems like an awesome Dad, too bad Cliff wasn't around longer to grow old with him.
    Its funny how everyone idolizes Cliff now. If he were still alive he would just be another one of the "rich metallica sellouts" that everyone on this site likes to bash on
    I don't think for a second that the band would be anything close to what it is today. If you want to get all hypothetical, then in another timeline there is a Metallica where Kirk was the one who was killed. Being that it seemed as he was the peacemaker, there may very well not be a metallica in that time line.
    Because the rest of the members aren't idolized? News flash: They became the biggest band in the world 5 years AFTER Cliff died.
    Idolized is the wrong way to put it. But think of the shit kirk takes for his solos,lars for his drumming, ive actually heard shit about james too, so cliff would have had the same fate
    Everyone who knew cliff always pointed him out as the guy who stood out in metallica, because he was different than Kirk James and Lars, those three were already thinking about living like rockstars by the time of master of puppets, while cliff was still being the same guy they knew back in the days of Trauma
    They all wanted to be rockstars dude...
    Yeah I'm calling bullshit on the whole 'no drugs' thing. Scott Ian has told stories of him and cliff smoking weed and I'm pretty sure cliff was into psychadelics too Link for the curious: