Anthrax bassist Frank Bello was recently interviewed by Ultimate Guitar’s David Slavković, in which he shared his opinions on former Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, for whom he has great admiration.
As you may remember, the bassist Cliff Burton, unfortunately, passed away at the age of 24 in a bus crash while touring with Metallica in 1986. At the time, Metallica was returning from their concert in Sweden with the band’s tour bus. However, the black ice on the road disturbed the balance of the bus, and the band members woke up to a disaster.
After the crash, Cliff Burton fell out of the window and was killed outright. Although the band members attempted to rescue Burton, they failed. Considered one of the greatest bassists of heavy metal music, Burton is still remembered for his stunning bass solos and remains an inspiration for young musicians.
Frank Bello was asked about Cliff Burton in a recent interview as he also writes about Burton in his new book, ‘Fathers, Brothers & Sons.’ Bello talked about Burton’s playing style and said that Cliff was an extraordinary bassist, famous for his experimental tones. Frank explained that he would watch him with admiration every night, wondering about the different sounds he would make. Bello also said he always has Cliff in his mind and will never forget him.
Here is how Frank Bello shared his thoughts on Cliff Burton:
“Well, my first reaction – it’s been my lasting reaction with Cliff – he played outside the box, which I love. He was experimental, and Cliff was himself. Cliff was his own person, which I love about him. He was Cliff Burton. That guy you saw right there, it showed in his playing, he was always gonna try things that were always different, and that’s what I loved about him.
He didn’t stay safe, he was a great bass player, rest his soul, but he was also a very innovative player. When we’d tour with Metallica, I’d watch from the soundboard every night – I watched Metallica every night because Anthrax and Metallica played a lot in those days.
I was there at the soundboard, and it was a great show, but I always watched, always focused on what Cliff was playing – ’cause, every night he’d be doing a great little bass run and something different with the Wah – WAAAAAH – and get these enormous sounds out of it. And I was like, ‘What the – YES!!’ And I’d get all charged up at the soundboard, ‘YES! Did you hear that?! That was amazing!’ I’m a fan – I’m a fan.
I’m a student of bass, I’ll always be a student of music and bass, I want to learn every day. Cliff was showing me this completely different, beautiful side of the bass. I wish he was still around, just so I can see what he’d come up with – cause I’m sure it would be beautiful, and just tasty stuff – I would be so happy. I would love it. But, you know, I always have him in my mind, the spirit of Cliff, you know?”
It is evident from Bello’s words that he highly respects what Cliff Burton achieved during his short career. He also expressed his sadness over his tragic death and wondered what else Burton would’ve contributed if he were alive.