Castro Valley Metallica fans propose day to honor late bassist

Byby Katie Utehs KGO logo
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Castro Valley Metallica fans propose day to honor former bassist
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Some locals become larger than life. Castro Valley's own Cliff Burton was Metallica's original bass guitarist, and fans want to honor him with his very own day.

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- A petition to honor a Bay Area rock legend gained official support Monday night.

Some locals become larger than life. That's the case with Castro Valley's Cliff Burton.

"I actually saw him at Rick's All Music on East 14th one day. I didn't realize it was him. It was this big tall dude with all this hair and I was this tiny tot," said Robert Souza, as he recalled seeing a childhood idol.

Burton was Metallica's original bass guitarist.

"I would love for February 10th to be Cliff Burton day in Castro Valley," said Souza as he addressed the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council. The date is Burton's birthday.

Souza is leveraging the Castro Valley News Facebook page to get signatures for his petition.

"In two weeks it got about 1,444 signatures," said Souza. He adds that most of the signatures are from Castro Valley, but some are fans from out of the country.

Tonight he asked the MAC Board to back his effort.

"I think it's a good idea as well. I would support it," said Mike Crawford, MAC Board Member.

One of Burton's custom bass guitars was built at Castro Valley's ABC Music and his instructor still teaches lessons upstairs.

"He always came prepared to his lesson. Terrific student that way. Especially for somebody that young," said Steve Doherty, music instructor.

Burton took lessons as a high school junior. Doherty said you could tell at that time Burton would go on to become a professional musician. Sadly, at age 24 he died in a tour bus crash in Europe.

"When people say 'Oh gosh, you taught Cliff Burton' it's always with mixed emotions for me because he had such a short life," said Doherty.

Burton never got to experience the height of Metallica's popularity and fame. He was a part of the band's first three albums. But, his short career made a lasting impression. Rolling Stone has listed him as one of the top ten greatest bass guitarists.

The MAC Board voted 7-0 in favor of creating a Cliff Burton Day. Their vote forwards the resolution on to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Their meeting will be on February 6th.

Click here to sign the petition.