Too much Metallica not enough Cliff!,
This review is from: To Live is to Die: The Life and Death of "Metallica"'s Cliff Burton (Paperback)
Cliff Burton finally gets a book and I can think of no-one more deserving. In fact as the author himself says, it's surprising no-one has thus far. It can only be a matter of time before Cliff: The Movie gets made! Joel McIver is a journalist and musician himself (not to mention huge Metalli-fan!) so is well qualified to the task of writing this book.
There is loads of great stuff about the man who became a legend and I especially enjoyed hearing from those who knew him best like his girlfriend as well as the people he grew up with including Jim Martin (formerly of Faith No More). This makes the book infinitely more likeable, seeing Cliff as a regular guy who loved playing music and didn't want to be a fancy rock star. The flip side of the coin is of course, the Metallica story. EVERYBODY who is a fan of the band knows the rags to riches of Metallica folklore and we are subjected to it yet again here with hardly any new information which is frustrating.
Cliff was a man of few words so most of the Metallica story is backed up with quotes from everyone but the man himself with a bit of speculation thrown in for good measure from the author which is annoying. I found myself thinking a fair few times 'Well how can you say that??' Who knows what Cliff would have thought/done?
Another issue is the bass information. I guess this book is for fans of the band more than it is for bass players but still... information is lacking in this department, his equipment use is nothing any bass player couldn't figure out just by looking at a picture of Cliff on stage. The musical notes stuff has no depth to it but what it does talk about still won't mean much to non-muso's so it pleases neither side.
Overall though, Joel McIver's passion for his subject is pure enough that the the associates of Cliff he did speak to were well chosen and bring out the humanity very well, which makes the chapter on his death much more potent and poignant.
Fans of Metallica should get this to learn more about the guy who made the band what they are today but don't expect anything new from the story itself.