Scott Ian Shares His First Impression Of Cliff Burton And Explains Why They Got Arrested In London

In an interview with Metal Hammer, Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian looked back to the time he first met with Metallica’s late bassist Cliff Burton and shared the story of how they got arrested suspicion of having drugs.

As you may recall, former Metallica bassist Cliff Burton sadly passed away on September 27, 1986, at the age of 24. Up until his death, Cliff performed on the band’s first three studio albums: ‘Kill ‘Em All,’ ‘Ride the Lightning,’ and ‘Master of Puppets.’

While he was at the peak of his music career, Cliff died in a tragic bus crash in Sweeden during a Metallica tour in support of the ‘Master of Puppets’ album. While he was sleeping, the bus skidded off the road and flipped onto the grass. The young bassist was thrown out the window of the bus, which later fell on top of him, causing his death. According to the band members’ statements, only a few hours prior to the crash, Burton took Kirk Hammett’s place on the bus after beating him in a card game, which eventually saved Kirk’s life.

In a recent interview with Metal Hammer, Scott Ian recalled the first time he met with the late bassist Cliff Burton during Metallica’s recording ‘Kill ‘Em All’ at the Music Building in Jamaica, Queens in late 1982. Apparently, Scott thought Burton should be in Lynyrd Skynyrd when he first saw him since he was still wearing bell-bottom jeans. Ian stated that Cliff has a great sense of humor and they actually hit it off right away.

Here’s what Scott Ian stated about his first impression of Cliff Burton:

“I first met Cliff at the Music Building in Jamaica, Queens in late 1982. We had a rehearsal room there and Metallica was there to record Kill ’Em All. They didn’t know they were also going to be sleeping in this room which was a squat in a shitty old building. My first impression of Cliff was he looked like he should be in Lynyrd Skynyrd, and I think I asked him where he could even get bell-bottom jeans that wide in 1982.

That said, we quickly hit it off. He had a great sense of humor and was absolutely the most original human I had ever met. They were all so different as people but in the context of a band, they were as one. Their souls were on display in every riff.  Cliff was the most musical, he spoke with his ideas. He had an aloof, laconic attitude and style, not antisocial at all, just his own vision of things that was uncompromisable.”

Furthermore, Scott Ian revealed the story of how he and Cliff Burton got arrested in London back in 1984   due to the suspicion of having drugs. Apparently, the two had to spend the next six hours in cells while the police tested the cold medicine they found in Burton’s jacket. Ian stated that the police let them go since they couldn’t find any illegal drugs on either of them.

Here is what Ian stated about getting arrested with Burton:

“I remember getting arrested together in London in March 1984, in a Tube station on suspicion of having drugs. We spent the next six hours in cells while they tested the cold medicine they found in Cliff’s jacket. The police took Cliff back to the flat to search it.

I sat in my cell in my underwear thinking we were done for, visions of Midnight Express running through my brain because there was weed at the flat. The police didn’t find it, The metal gods were looking out for us that day.”

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