Cliff Burton’s Dad Donates Royalty Checks to Music Scholarship at His Son’s High School


When Cliff Burton’s dad Ray joined us on The MetalSucks Podcast on the 30th anniversary of his son’s death, the father of one of the most iconic bass players in metal history came off as humble, appreciative, and willing to do whatever it takes to make sure his son’s legacy lives on.

Case in point: in a recent interview with Alphabetallica, the 92-year-old Burton revealed that he donates all the royalty money he receives from the Metallica albums Cliff played on — Kill ’em All, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets — to a music scholarship at Cliff’s high school. He explains:

“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.”

Ray also shared a fun anecdote about Cliff coming home drunk when he was just 18:

“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.”

You can watch the interview below and read a transcription of a few more excerpts at Ultimate Guitar.

[via Metal Injection]

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