Dave Mustaine Reveals The ‘Lame’ Way He Learned About Cliff Burton’s Death

Dave Mustaine Reveals The ‘Lame’ Way He Learned About Cliff Burton’s Death | Society Of Rock Videos

(L) Dave Mustaine / Facebook, (R) Fin Costello / Getty Images

Megadeth Frontman Reveals ‘Lame’ Way He Discovered Friend’s Death

When Metallica bassist Cliff Burton died on September 27, 1986, his bandmates were given the impossible task of notifying everyone back home.

They were in Sweden, in the middle of their Damage Inc. tour in support of Master Of Puppets, when the tour bus carrying them and their crew went skidding off the road and flipped onto the grass; Burton, only 24 at the time, was thrown from the bus window and killed instantly when the bus fell on him moments later.

31 Years Ago: Metallica Bassist Cliff Burton Dies At 24, Leaving Behind His Greatest Musical Contribution Yet | Society Of Rock Videos
@UltClassicRock / Twitter

Still in shock at the sudden, violent death of their friend and bandmate, the surviving members of Metallica called everyone they could think of – parents, friends, family – but today we’ve learned that there was one person they didn’t call: former bandmate Dave Mustaine.

Mustaine, 57, revealed at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) over the weekend that not only did the guys in Metallica not tell him about the crash, he had to find out later on through third party sources that his close friend Cliff Burton had died.

“…someone that I loved very dearly had perished in a bus accident. And I kind of found out [about] it in a really kind of lame way, because the people that were closest to this friend of mine didn’t tell me. I found out through a pretty far removed party. I was really shook up over it,” he admitted when a fan asked how long it took to write a song like “In My Darkest Hour”.

Suddenly, the tragic loss of his friend was compounded by the knowledge that he was one of the last to find out. At a loss for words, Mustaine instead turned to music to convey the loss felt in the wake of Burton’s passing and in one sitting came up with “In My Darkest Hour,” one of the best known non-Metallica tributes to Cliff’s legacy – even though the lyrics aren’t quite as on the nose about his passing as you’d like to think, as evidenced by Dave’s response to a fan on Twitter a few years ago.

What a crummy way to find out about a friend’s death. Here’s hoping that Dave’s made peace with both Cliff’s passing and the guys in Metallica for not telling him themselves – that’s a hell of a situation to have to be in, the ones responsible for making the phone call back home that no one ever wants to have to make.


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