Metallica have paid tribute to Ray Burton, the father of the band’s late bassist Cliff Burton, who has died at the age of 94.
“For 38 years, we were lucky enough to have the energy, wisdom and light of Ray in our lives,” Metallica said in a statement via its website. “His eternal youth with his drive, positivity and relentless smile were both incredibly powerful and stirringly honest.”
The band added: ” From coast to coast and overseas too, Ray’s beaming face would regularly greet us, offering warmth and anchor to our travels, and when it came to the entire Metallica family, band, crew and fans, he viewed us all as his own.
“That he has passed away leaves an indefinable feeling of sadness and loss, but equally, we know Ray wouldn’t want us ‘moping around on our darn keisters’ for too long.”
Ray was known for playing a major part in cementing Cliff’s legacy after the bassist died at the age of 24 in a tour bus crash in Sweden in 1986.
In a statement posted on Facebook, his daughter Connie – the sister of Cliff – wrote: “To let you all know that my Dad died last Wednesday. Rest in peace.”
After his death, Burton was replaced by Jason Newsted. Newsted played with Metallica until 2001, when he was replaced by Robert Trujillo.
In the wake of his son’s death, Ray remained an avid follower of Metallica and was seen attending the band’s concerts as recently as 2017.
He was also in attendance when the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame in 2009.
Guesting on a Metallica podcast in recent years, he revealed that he still donated money from his son’s band royalties to fund music scholarships.
“From the royalties that I get, I give a scholarship to the high school he went to, the Castro Valley High School, for music,” 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.”
In a 2019 interview with Gibson’s Mark Agnesi, Ray also praised Cliff’s determination to become a successful musician.
“Cliff knew what he wanted to do and went out and did it,” Ray said.
“How could you not support a child who has that initiative already in their system and wanting to learn an occupation like that? The way he pursued music and the enthusiasm he showed toward the playing, we thought, ‘well, let’s see what happens.’ Then when he came and said, ‘Can you support me for five years?’ not long after that, it was absolute history.”