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Cliff Burton’s Dad Has Been Donating Royalties to Music Scholarships

Michael Loccisano, Getty Images
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

Cliff Burton‘s father has been quietly donating the royalty checks he receives to a scholarship at his son’s old high school.

Ray Burton, the 92-year-old dad of Metallica‘s late bass player, recently revealed the information during an interview with Alphabettallica.

The bassist, who played on Metallica’s first three albums, died in a bus accident while the band was touring overseas in support of Master of Puppets in 1986. They soon replaced Burton with bassist Jason Newsted. Last year, Metallica released a book focusing on that landmark album in which they shared memories of their late friend and bandmate. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Metallica in 2009.

Burton’s family continues to receive royalty checks from the three Metallica albums he played on, and his father has been donating the money for music scholarships to Castro Valley High School, according to a new interview on Ultimate Guitar“The kids that have won it thank me for it,” he said. “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 Burton recalled the first time his son came home with a royalty check. “I think it was $1,500,” he noted. “He said, ‘Mom and Dad, here’s my first check. Come on, I’ll take you out to dinner tonight.’ ‘Okay, let’s go!’ We went to dinner to his favorite sushi place in Hayward, which is right next door to Castro Valley. That was the first thing that I got that maybe there were bigger things down the road.”

Despite his age and the generation gap, Ray Burton said he still enjoys Metallica concerts. “The music isn’t my big-band music, but nevertheless it is entertaining,” he said. “Music should be entertaining to you, and they certainly are. James [Hetfield] does a fantastic job as a singer and the frontman. He’s just an absolute natural. I remember one time asking him if he was a cheerleader in high school. Got a big laugh, and gosh, he was anything but that.”

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