To Live Is To Die: The Life and Death of Metallica’s Cliff Burton, Joel McIver, Jawbone Press, 2009.
With out any shadow of a doubt, Cliff Burton can be considered the most influential heavy metal figure out of the 80s Thrash Metal scene. Yes, Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy), Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) (with the former two, each being a major influence to the playing of the mighty Burton himself), just to name a few, were all great bass players but the legend, momentum and impact that each and everyone of these legendary bassists have had on the underground metal scene, in my honest personal opinion, is incomparable to those of Cliff Burton’s.
With Metallica being the most successful heavy metal band of all time, the legend of Cliff Burton is not just some second page yesterday news.
This book was written by the mighty Joel McIver (the author who brought you the 2004 “And Justice for All: The Truth about Metallica” and 2008 “The Bloody Reign of Slayer”) with Metallica’s Kirk Hammet penning the foreward. Now that I am quite familiar with McIver’s methods in constructing the contents of his books, I have managed to finish this 272 page book at one go. One heavy metal biscuit for me, cheers.
This book can be considered as the most complete autobiography of Cliff Burton (none had ever been written anyway, except for the chapters written about him in every book written about his band). Covering in detail the journey of Cliff Burton, from his days playing in EZ Street with Jim Martin to his days in Trauma to his days in Metallica detailed down to his last days in September of 1986.
It felt like it was an off shot read to Justice And For All, McIver’s book on Metallica, since in And Justice For All, McIver had already dedicated a spread of 16 pages on the mighty bassist alone. If you have already read And Justice For All, reading through the pages of this book will give you a stint of déjà vu, if you get my drift.
What ever it is, this one is a must for all you Metallicats out there. RIP Cliff Burton.