Metallica recently celebrated its 40th-anniversary and the band’s longtime photographer Ross Halfin was the subject of a 90-minute question-and-answer session with Steffan Chirazi, the editor of Metallica’s fan-club magazine So What!, on December 18, 2021, at Elk’s Lodge in San Francisco, California.
Halfin’s book documented Metallica’s “Black” album era — “Metallica: The Black Album In Black & White” and they also talked about Halfin’s career, highlighting his association with the band for decades. Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett joined the conversation as well, and the audience chipped in with several questions of their own.
Cliff Burton smoked pot
Reflecting on one of Metallica’s early tours, Hammett spoke about late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton coming across Rush frontman Geddy Lee. He also revealed that Burton smoked pot and freaked out.
Here is what he said:
“Geddy Lee showed up at one of our shows on the ‘Ride The Lightning’ tour. We played Toronto and all of a sudden we got a message backstage that Geddy Lee was in the audience. And [late Metallica bassist] Cliff Burton just freaked out. He started pacing, he started smoking pot, and he was, like, ‘Oh my God! Geddy! Geddy Lee!'”
Hammett added: He could not settle down; he was so nervous and just happy at the same time that Geddy Lee was there. And then Ross tells him that Geezer Butler is out there one night. The same thing — he starts pacing around, super nervous, grab[s] a beer.”
Cliff Burton had joined Metallica in 1982 and performed on the band’s first three studio albums: “Kill ‘Em All”, “Ride The Lightning” and “Master Of Puppets”. He also received a posthumous writing credit for the song “To Live Is to Die” from the band’s fourth studio album, “…And Justice For All” and was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a member of METALLICA on April 4, 2009. His ill-timed death at the age of 24 was a tragic incident that took place in a tour bus crash on September 27, 1986, in Sweden.