Wednesday, February 24, 2010

To Live Is to Die: The Life and Death of Metallica's Cliff Burton (Book)

By P. Rodriguez ( book review)

Well, it has taken nearly 23years, but Clifford Lee Burton has finally gotten some of the respect he deserves, a book dedicated to his life, thanks to Joel McIver. All these years, we only had the Cliff 'Em All Video and brief commentary that you would see on Metallica documentaries. Sadly enough, Cliff was just a mere side note and almost always glossed over, which gave the newer Metallica fans a false sense of how the band developed their style and attitude, which in return, outraged the old fans.

The book did a good job detailing Cliff's days before he joined Metallica, with his musical training that was inspired by the death of his older brother and the support he had from his parents Jan and Ray Burton. The book also touches on his bands prior to Metallica, which were Easy Street and most notably Trauma. McIver details all of the tracks that Cliff played on, with moderate bass detail from Kill 'Em All through Master of Puppets. The only omission would be the Creeping Death 12" single, in which Am I Evil? and Blitzkrieg were on the B-side.

A lot of the quotes from Cliff and other people, I had heard many times and could practically finish the sentence, but there is very little to go on, being that Cliff didn't do many interviews. I only wished there were more recounts from people and bands he had toured with. I also found some date inconsistencies in the book. It was refreshing to hear some of the more recent recounts from people like Ron Quintana, Harold O, Brian Slagel, Fred Cotton and some of his earliest friends.

To me, the memories and testimony from Corinne Lynn, Cliff's girlfriend, is what made the book special. The last part of the book unfortunately dealt with a lot of "what if" scenarios that I could of done without, but it ended on an extremely heart felt recollection from Corrinne, that shed more insight on Cliff Burton the human being, which left me very sad.

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