The Lost Cliff Burton Videotape — Found!
Video footage of late METALLICA bassist Cliff Burton's headbanging 1982 performance with the heavy metal group TRAUMA, shot only 24 hours before Burton was discovered by METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich, is finally being made available to METALLICA and Cliff fans everywhere.
Don Wrege, director of "TRAUMA Live", explains how he ended up with this historic footage:
"In the summer of 1982, I was working in Los Angeles and was contacted by a British fellow calling himself Tony. He asked me if I would be interested in directing a long-form music video for a heavy metal band he was managing out of San Francisco called TRAUMA.
"We met and I was impressed with his enthusiasm for the band and heavy metal in general (which was not at all in vogue at the time). Tony was sure that heavy metal was soon going to be huge in the states and he was setting TRAUMA up for the big time. We settled on a price and I went a rehearsal to check them out.
"What I encountered was loud, and I was immediately struck with how good the bass player (Cliff Burton) was. Their show included such interesting attractions as a scantily-clad woman in a leather S&M outfit chained to a huge cross another girl in virginal white who was sacrificed on an altar during the song 'I Am the Warlock' (Tony had flown in two Mustang Ranch girls from Nevada for these parts) and the drummer's solo during which he sets his kit on fire, nearly blinding himself in the process.
"On the day of the shoot as preparations were made to the studio stage, I stepped outside to have a smoke and Cliff joined me in my car. He mentioned that he didn't think he was long for the group, that they weren't motivated enough and he intended to be famous fast. That was fairly prophetic, in that the next night TRAUMA played the Troubadour and legend has it that it was at this performance that Lars Ulrich approached Burton about playing in METALLICA. Fans know the rest.
"This video has remained underground for a number of reasons, including the fact that the band's pyrotechnics blew two large holes in the video studio's ceiling and the repair costs were to be included in the price for the master tapes (which became a point of contention). Then there was the 'equipment matter.' Seems that manager Tony had borrowed a ton of gear from an LA music store (he was a great talker) that you'll see on stage behind the group in the video. They were to use it for the shoot, then the Troubadour performance the next night and then return it. Trouble was, Tony had the band load up the truck with the amps and then disappeared, never to be heard from again. At least that's the legend. The tape itself became my payment for services and has remained in my private collection since 1982 due to my concerns about bootlegging, etc.
"Now METALLICA fans can now see what Lars saw. This riveting 19-minute set includes a powerful Burton bass solo and his musically manic thrashing throughout.
"Oh, and a human sacrifice. "
The lost Cliff Burton videotape, "Trauma Live", will soon be available for online viewing via this webpage.