Saturday, June 13, 2009

Book Review: 'To Live Is To Die, The Life and Death of Metallica's Cliff Burton'

I was going to try and do this really big elaborate book review on Joel McIver's 'To Live Is To Die, The Life and Death of Metallica's Cliff Burton.' I think I can save us all a lot of time and energy and just say, it's awesome!

This book is easily a decade,if not two overdue so to finally have it available to read and absorb is something of a gift from the Metal gods. Through research and interviews new and old, the book traces Cliff's brief 24 years on Earth as he goes from being a normal northern California kid to one of the greatest Rock/Metal musicians the World has and will ever see.

McIver does a spot on job intertwining the scarce interviews Cliff partook in during his three year tenure in Metallica and fills in the gaps by speaking to those who knew him well. Folks such as Harald Oimoen, Ron Quintana, Brian Lew, Fred Cotton, John Marshall and Cliff's bass teacher Steve Doherty and many, many more provide an insight to the character and person Cliff truly was.

If there's a persons views whom I'd waited some 20+ years to read, those would have to be Cliff's girlfriend at the time of his passing, Corinne Lynn. Sometimes it's hard to remember, but to the masses September 27th, 1986 we fans truly lost something special but those who loved the guy, they were left with an unfulfillable void. Reading Corinne's recollection of that day and the ones to follow is pretty heavy.

So in closing, I think this book is about the closest thing we'll ever get to knowing or trying to understand Cliff Burton and his undeniable importance to the music, vibe and create our own path work ethic to the worldwide phenomenon known as Metallica. Joel geeks out a plenty in describing his bass work and all the fills and nuances he added to the music of the first three albums. In fact it's during the geek out moments of the book I find myself smiling the most because, fuck, let's face the facts, Cliff's worth geeking out on!

Finally, finally. I was totally fucking floored to start reading this book and see I was able to "contribute" to it. Joel McIver used some of my Lars interview to help tell the story of Cliff and what can I say? It's nothing short of an absolute honor to be included. Sure, this might not be something you think is important or whatever...but to a kid from Brookfield? Well let me tell you it's the bee's fucking knees.