August 12, 2023

ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante, who is supporting METALLICA on select "M72" tour dates in North America as part of the resurrected PANTERA, has taken to social media to share a photo of him with METALLICA frontman James Hetfield, apparently taken before last night's (Friday, August 11) METALLICA concert in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Charlie wrote in an accompanying message: "I gave #jaymz a print of the #cliffburton drawing I did. Talking about Cliff and remembering those times is therapeutic . I went out and watched the song #Orion last night, they played it perfectly".

Burton died on September 27, 1986 when METALLICA's tour bus crashed. Cliff and his bandmates were in Sweden at the time, as part of the European leg of their "Damage, Inc." tour, which featured ANTHRAX in the support slot.

In a 2011 interview with NY Hard Rock Music Examiner, Benante shared a story about Burton after saying that "Master Of Puppets" was his favorite METALLICA song. He said: "If I'm somewhere near the stage and I hear that song starting, I have to go watch because there's something about it. And it has another significant meaning about Cliff Burton to me. Both bands were on tour in 1986 overseas and they were on the 'Puppets' record, and one day we had a day off in England, and it was me, Scott [Ian, ANTHRAX guitarist], Kirk [Hammett, METALLICA guitarist] and Cliff, and we went to breakfast. And we sat down and were just talking about stuff, and I said, 'In the song 'Master Of Puppets', right before the lead break comes in, James screams something out, and I can never understand what he says. What is it?' And Cliff looked at Kirk, like, 'I don't even know.' And we were ordering breakfast at the time, and there was a bit of silence at the time, and Cliff said, 'I think he says 'pancakes.'' And we all started laughing, and it was funny, and then every show after that on that tour, when I would be on the side of the stage watching and that part would come up, Cliff would always look at me and mouth the word 'pancakes.'"

He continued: "So let's go forward 20-something-odd years, and here we are at the dinner before the first 'Big Four' show in Poland, we had this dinner set up, METALLICA had all the bands there. And I was talking to James about some things and that story came up, and I told him, and he thanked me so much for telling him that story, because so much from that time is a blur to him, so when he hears stories it helps him remember the good times back then. So first show in Poland, they did 'Puppets'. But I wasn't on stage. And the next day Robert [Trujillo, METALLICA bassist] goes to me, 'Where were you? James screamed out 'pancakes!' So he does it now."

A few years ago, Ian told Metal Hammer magazine about ANTHRAX's 1986 tour with METALLICA: "I have memories of running around with Cliff through the halls of the hotel late at night. We found the room that has the laundry sheets and I remember pissing down them, doing all kinds of stupid shit as you would when you're 22 and just finished your first-ever tour, every show sold out and never had done anything like that in your life. It was pretty fucking fabulous and fantastic, a mind-blowing experience. Of course, it all went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows less than a week later, of course, in Sweden. Certainly in the context of being in a band, I think it was the worst thing that had ever happened to any of us, completely inconceivable and unknown. Even all these years later, there's parts of me that are still in denial about it, like how it possibly could have happened. Everyone pretty much walks out unscathed but we lost Cliff. It's still so unbelievable. I think about him weekly — I've got a giant photo in my house."

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