John 5 Recalls Hanging Out With Cliff Burton When He Was 16
John 5 recently attended the YouTube channel No F’n Regrets for an interview and talked about the time he was around 16 years old and was able to hang out with Metallica. In the conversation, he mentioned that he talked to Cliff Burton and stated how cool of a guy he was.
Metallica had released ‘Master of Puppets’ in 1886, months before their original bassist Cliff Burton died tragically in a bus accident and left the band in a bad mental state. Around that time, John 5 was only 16 years old and was already hanging out with the bands before and after concerts.
John 5 stated that he met Cliff before his death and described his opinions about him. The guitarist stated that the bassist was really nice, cool, and most importantly, down to earth. He mentioned that there was easy access backstage back then, and therefore he had the opportunity to hang out with the musicians he admired.
Here is what John 5 said about Cliff Burton:
“I would go see Metallica early on. Back then, it wasn’t like you couldn’t go backstage it was pretty easy. I remember I was a kid, I was probably like 16-17 at this time and talking to Cliff about gear and playing all that stuff. He was so nice.
I remember him being just super cool and super down to earth, and you would just sit cause he didn’t really have much to do, as you know, you just hang around and wait for the show. He was just super cool, and he would just hang out and talk to me and things like that. It was really cool. Shows back then in these venues.”
A year later, Metallica released ‘…And Justice For All,’ which was the first album without Burton, and the first album with Jason Newsted. The band followed up the album with a tour during which John 5 continued to hang out with the band. He stated that Metallica would give him small chores to do and include him in the fun they were having backstage. He also stated how surprised they were when John 5 started to get popular.
Here is what he stated about hanging out for Metallica:
“What’s super cool is they remember. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. The drummer Chuck Behler from Megadeth lived in Detroit. He said, ‘Hey, let’s go see Metallica.’ I was like ‘Absolutely.’ I loved Megadeth, and they knew him, we would go see Metallica, and they would remember me.
This was the ‘…And Justice For All’ Tour and I would play some guitar for Kirk because I knew all of their songs, and they were like laughing, and they would call me little Ozzy. I had like long hair for some reason.”
And here are Metallica’s reaction after he started to gain fame:
“I would hang out with those guys in ‘…And Justice For All’ and they would give me like little jobs. It was really cool, they would give me silly jobs like Lars would jump on my back, and they’d chicken fight or I’d get them a beer or something like that, and they were the nicest people.
When I started to get known, they’d be like, ‘Holy shit that’s little Ozzy. What’s he doing in Marilyn Manson? What’s he doing playing with David Lee Roth?’ It’s funny how it all comes around.”
You can watch the entire interview below.