Metallica Ex-Bassist Was Arrested After Drug Rumor


Anthrax co-founder Scott Ian recently reminisced the time when he and Metallica’s Cliff Burton got arrested in London. It happened after they were suspected of being “drug dealers” as the two were looking to buy a new Walkman for the late Metallica bassist.

Scott Ian elaborates the incident

The incident dates back in the ’80s when the metalheads were perceived as dangerous, untrustworthy troublemakers. However, despite being polite and having a calm attitude, the duo got arrested on the basis of looking suspicious as they were shopping around for a walkman.

The Anthrax rhythm guitarist recalled the incident in an interview recently published on Louder. Ian explained that he found himself living with Metallica in a London flat as he flew to the UK capital for a press run concerning Anthrax’s debut album “Fistful of Metal” in early ’84. Here is what he recalled:

“One day Cliff and I were going to Tottenham Court Road because he needed a new Walkman. Two police approached us and asked if we were drug dealers. We said no and they said, ‘Well you might as well just admit it now because things will go easier for you’.

“They took us into the police station and arrested us and they found cold medicine in Cliff’s coat. They were like, ‘We’re gonna have to send these to the lab’ and I’m like, ‘It’s Sudafed motherfuckers!’ We had to give them the address of the flat and that’s when I got really nervous because I knew Cliff had a whole bunch of weed back at the apartment.

“They separated the two of us and we had stripped down to just our underwear. I’m sitting in this concrete cell with just a door, not even a window and I’m thinking, about the movie Midnight Express because that’s what I had running through my brain!

“Three hours later, they guy opens the door and says, ‘Alright, come with me, I’m taking you to the Captain’s office’. And I’m like, what’s going on? He goes, ‘The captain will explain here’s your clothes, get dressed’.

“And I see Cliff again and he’s got no idea of what’s going on. Well they went to the apartment and checked for the weed… but didn’t look under the mattress! We were free to go and that was when I thought, ‘Someone up there really likes Metallica’, though Cliff never did get his Walkman!”