Lilker thought of replacing Burton in Metallica

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Former Anthrax bassist Dan Lilker has revealed he considered the possibility of joining Metallica when Cliff Burton died.

The bassists had been friends until the tour bus tragedy that killed Burton in 1986 – and other contacts and colleagues had noticed a similarity in their musical styles when Metallica began looking for a replacement.

Lilker tells Songfacts: “People came up to me, saying with a wink, ‘Dan, you joining Metallica?’ But I never got a call about it.”

And he’s not sure if he’d have enjoyed working with James Hetfield and co because of the way the band is set up.

“Who knows if I would have lasted?” he says. “That’s a band where two dudes make all the money and they pretty much dictate exactly what they want to do. Most of the bands I’ve been in, I’m one of the main songwriters and direct the nature of the music.

“And that first Metallica album that came out after Cliff died, that had Jason Newsted on it – there’s no bass on it at all.

“I don’t know if I would have been happy creatively. But I never got the opportunity to figure out what would have happened.”

Lilker is currently winding down his main band Nuclear Assault and plans to enter semi-retirement. And he explains the main reason is because he’s tired of the stress attached to travelling.

He recounts a nightmare journey that involved waiting a day for a flight, having his baggage mislabelled, and being refused access to a plane because the ticket was booked under the name “Dan” instead of “Daniel.” Lilker says: “That’s the kind of shit I just don’t feel like dealing with any more.

“I’m still going to be doing stuff where I’ll be traveling here and there; it’s just going to be in a more relaxed vibe.”