How James Hetfield Reacted To Cliff Burton Mocking His Singing, Charlie Benante Recalls The Story

Speaking to Radioactive Mike, Anthrax’s Charlie Benante shared memory with late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton who claimed that James Hetfield was saying ‘pancakes’ instead of ‘fix me’ in ‘Master Of Puppets,’ and recalled how James reacted to Burton’s joke when he heard about it years later.

Charlie Benante has released a new album during the coronavirus pandemic titled ‘Silver Linings’ which consists of several covers, on May 14.  The album includes the covers of Benante’s favorite songs by Rush, Massive Attack, U2, The Chemical Brothers, and Billie Eilish, and more. As a reason why he chose that title for the album, Benante said that there are ‘silver linings’ despite all of the darkness we’ve experienced this past year due to the pandemic.

During a conversation with Radioactive Mike, Benante recalled the day he, Scott Ian, Kirk Hammett, and Cliff Burton went to have breakfast during which he told them he couldn’t understand what James Hetfield was saying during a part in ‘Master Of Puppets,’ right before Kirk’s lead. While the others also seemed not really sure about what Hetfield was screaming about, Burton told Charlie that James was saying ‘pancakes,’ while looking at the menu.

Benante recalled that they all laughed so much about it, and revealed that in every show after that incident, he looks at Cliff to hear him say ‘Pancakes!’ at that part of the song. Charlie then said he told this story to James Hetfield years after Cliff’s death, and apparently, James thanked him for sharing that story with him since hearing such stories makes him really happy.

Anthrax star then mentioned that during the Big Four concerts, James started yelling out ‘Pancakes!’ and he still does that sometimes. He then made it clear that James actually says ‘fix me’ in that aforementioned part, adding ‘pancakes’ sounds much better.

Benante told Radioactive Mike the full story, saying that:

“It was the start of the tour, the big European tour, and the first set of dates were in the UK. One day we had a day off, and Scott, myself, Kirk, and Cliff, went to breakfast kind of early because we couldn’t sleep. We couldn’t adjust to the time, so we went for breakfast. And we’re setting up the table, reading on the menus, what’s for breakfast – and I just said ‘You know that part in ‘Master of Puppets,’ right before Kirk’s lead, James screams out something, but I don’t understand what he says, it’s hard to make out…’

And I remember Kirk and Cliff looking at each other, I don’t even think they knew what he said, he looks at me, looks at the menu, and he goes, ‘Pancakes, I think he says ‘pancakes’…’ We were cracking up laughing, and every show after that, I would kind of watch from Cliff’s side, and when that part would come up, he’d look at me and he’d mouth the word, ‘Pancakes!’ So it became a thing.

And I told James the story many, many years later – the first Big Four show in Poland in 2010. The night before, we all had a big dinner with just the bands, we were just all talking, and I was talking to James, and I was talking to him about Cliff, and I told him the story about that. And he looked at me, and he’s like, ‘Thank you so much for telling me this story, because a lot of that time is a blur to me, so when I hear stories like that, it makes me so happy.’

During the whole Big Four concerts that we did, James would yell out, ‘Pancakes!’ and I heard he still does it here and there. So it’s just one of those things, a funny story, a funny moment with Cliff. The words that James actually says are ‘Fix me,’ but I think ‘Pancakes’ sounds so much better. Great guy, and yeah, very dry sense of humor.”

Anthrax is known to be working on new material, as CharlieBenante confirmed that there is a plan for a new album to be released in 2022 as a follow-up for 2016’s ‘All The Kings.’ To commemorate their 40th anniversary, the band will also be playing a live stream show on July 16.