top of page

Cliff Burton First Rehearsal With Metallica

On December 28, 1982, Cliff Burton held his first rehearsal with "Metallica".

(Photo: Brian Lew, Official Metallica Website)

Singer and guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich formed "Metallica" in Los Angeles on October 28, 1981.

On this day James Hetfield responded to an ad in the "LA Recycler" newspaper published by Lars Ulrich and the two began playing together, after adding Hetfield's friend and roommate - bassist Ron McGovney and guitarist Dave Mustaine.

However, in a short time Ron McGovney's musical faults were revealed, to which were added the arguments and personal frictions he had with his bandmates. This led the three remaining members to start looking for a new bassist.

Not far from there, about 30 km outside of "San Francisco", Cliff Burton took his first steps with the band "Trauma", which he joined in 1982. He even recorded the song "Such a Shame" which became a hit and was included in the compilation album " Metal Massacre II" by the record company "Metal Blade Records".

The one who recommended Cliff Burton to the members of "Metallica" was Brian Slagel - the founder of "Metal Blade Records", who was also responsible for the release of the first ever recording of "Metallica" in the collection "Metal Massacre I".

In late October 1982, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich went to see Cliff Burton play with his band. They immediately realized that they had found the replacement for Ron McGovney.

Cliff played the solo part that would later become the instrumental part "Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)". James and Lars were stunned by his playing. His wild stage presence and bare-fingered bass guitar soloing, as if it were a lead guitar ,made their jaws drop to the floor. They were sure he is playing the solo on a guitar and count the strings over and over as they refuse to believe that the solo is played on a bass guitar.

They knew this was the man they needed in the band and began persuading him to join them.

Fortunately, Cliff was getting a little fed up with his band "Trauma" but he had one condition. That the band will move from Los Angeles to San Francisco, his hometown. It suited the members of Metallica, who said they always felt like "outsiders" in Los Angeles, while their shows in the Bay Area in San Francisco were praised. The band agreed.

The only thing left was to tell McGovney that he was out of the band. The opportunity came when Mustaine accidentally spilled beer on the pickups of McGovney's bass guitar. After a violent and stormy argument Ron McGovney kicked the band out of their rehearsal room owned by his parents and that was the "last straw".

McGovney played Metallica's last show on November 30, 1982 in San Francisco. After a show, he still managed to see his bandmates hanging out with Cliff. Less than a month later, Hatfield, Ulrich and Mustaine loaded their gear into a trailer and headed north to San Francisco.

They settled in a house that was given the nickname "MetalliMansion" where the band's first rehearsal with Burton was also held on December 28, 1982. It was the home of their friend Mark Whitaker who also managed "Exodus" and it also served as the band's headquarters for the next three and a half years.

Cliff Burton 1st Show with Metallica was held about three months later on March 5, 1983. The rest is history.

Follow us on Facebook or Subscribe to our website

"Face/Off" - Israel's Rock Blog & Podcast


Enjoying the Blog? Subscribe to get it right to your mail!

Thank you !!

bottom of page