Earlier this week, Ray Burton, father of the late METALLICA bassist Cliff Burton, sat down with Mark Agnesi, Gibson‘s director of brand experience to reminisce about the formative years of the rock icon.
“Cliff knew what he wanted to do and went out and did it. How could you not support a child who has that initiative already in their system and wants to learn an occupation like that?
The way he pursued music and the enthusiasm he showed toward the playing, we thought, ‘well, let’s see what happens.’ Then when he came and said, ‘Can you support me for five years?’ not long after that, it was absolute history.”
Burton‘s advice to fathers and artists:
“It’s a love affair with my child because he wasn’t just a good musician, he was an exceptionable human being. There’s so much great music out there, and it’s to be enjoyed. …Support them. Look at your kids as a treasure that you treat with love. Encourage them as much as you can and help them. Encourage them without being demanding. Allow them to be themselves and be kind to them.”
Burton‘s interest in music began at a young age when his father introduced him to classical music, guitar, and bass. Burton had a strong interest in rock, classical and eventually heavy metal.
Burton began playing the bass at age 13, following the death of his older brother, Scott and practiced up to six hours per day (even after he joined METALLICA). Along with classical and jazz, Burton‘s other early influences varied from southern rock, country, and the blues. Burton often cited Geddy Lee, Geezer Butler, Stanley Clarke, Lemmy Kilmister, Ed King and Phil Lynott as key influences on his style of bass playing.