Metallica frontman James Hetfield spoke to the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter about the "memorial day" that was held Sept. 30, 2006 for late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton at the Gyllene Rasten restaurant/bar in Ljungby, Drarp, Sweden. Check out pictures at this location.
It was on September 27, 1986 ? 20 years ago ? that Burton died in a tragic bus accident in Sweden, just over the road from where Gyllene Rasten is located.
Hetfield: That was the highlight of the set for me. It sums up Cliff and I cried every time I played it, but it was good tears. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the fact that I had the opportunity to play in the same band as Cliff and learn things from him.
Hetfield: We never would have written guitar harmonies or instrumentals or songs with very intricate melodies and orchestrations without Cliff. We wouldn't be where we are today.
Hetfield: Wow. That really shows the kind of commitment and love our fans have for our music and the people behind it. Cliff is one of the icons that won't be forgotten. Apparently some fans who are very dedicated have taken the time and put in the effort to create something as timeless as a memorial stone to remind people about Cliff. It's really amazing.
Metallica is currently working on its next album with producer Rick Rubin. On a wall in Metallica headquarters there's a poster for the concert in Copenhagen which the band were on their way to when Cliff Burton was killed. James Hetfield says that Cliff is still present when they write songs.
Hetfield: We talk about what Cliff would think and what he would have added. And now, especially with our new bassist Rob [Trujillo] playing so powerful and with his fingers just like Cliff, I have a feeling that he likes what we're doing.
Hetfield: I think it would do us good. But my relationship with death is different. I grew up with Christian Science where you don't believe in funerals. In a way it's very unhealthy not to get closure, time to mourn. But the idea behind it is to let the person live on within you. I know that Cliff lives on within us.
Will you go to Drarp to look at the memorial stone?
Hetfield: Absolutely. There's no question all of us would enjoy it. Not so much to grieve but to see how loved Cliff is.
Swedish-to-English translation provided by Blabbermouth.net.