The father of legendary Metallica bassist Cliff Burton has been keeping his son’s name alive through charity in his home town. In a new interview, Ray Burton tells the podcast Alphabetallica that he’s been putting Cliff’s Metallica royalties to a scholarship program for kids at Castro Valley High School, where Cliff went as a youth.
We recently published a list of the highest-selling hard rock and metal albums of 2016. Incredibly, all three Metallica albums Cliff played on made the Top 25. Master of Puppets sold a massive 163,000 copies in 2016, while Ride the Lightning came in close behind with 153,000 albums sold. Further down the list, Metallica’s debut, Kill ‘Em All, moved 104,000 units last year. This is completely unprecedented in the metal world, allowing the members of Metallica to collect huge amounts of royalties decades later.
Since Cliff Burton’s tragic death in 1986, the bassist’s royalties have been sent to his family. “One of the things from the royalties that I get, I give a scholarship to the high school he went to, Castro Valley High School, for music,” Ray Burton tells the Alphabetallica podcast. “The kids who won it they invariably write and thank me for. And 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.”
“He was quite a humble person,” Ray added. “He just didn’t like the strutting types that so much of the rock ‘n’ roll musicians get to be when they get popular. He just liked to do his wild playing of heavy metal music. He never changed.”
At 92 years of age, Ray Burton isn’t slowing down, having attended multiple stops of Metallica’s current WorldWired tour:
Earlier this year, Ray Burton attended Metal Allegiance’s ‘Fallen Heroes’ gig in Anaheim, Calif., which was presented and live streamed by Loudwire. Ray celebrated his 92nd birthday at the show and presented Mark Menghi with Cliff’s own bass for Metal Allegiance’s cover of “Disposable Heroes.”