To Live Is To Die by Joel McIver

To Live Is To Die

Metallica, the seventh-biggest recording act in American history, are consummate musicians--but it wasn't always that way. A significant proportion of their playing expertise was acquired from a pivotal three-year period in their history--1983 to 1986--during which their music, a potent variant of thrash metal, evolved from garage level to sophisticated, progressive heights thanks to the teachings of their bass player, Cliff Burton. The San Franc...

Details To Live Is To Die

TitleTo Live Is To Die
Release DateJun 1st, 2009
PublisherJawbone Press
GenreMusic, Biography, Nonfiction, History

Reviews To Live Is To Die

  • Bruno Croci
    Such a great character. If you're a Metallica fan, this is mandatory for you. The book reads really quick and nice, and this will make you like Cliff and Metallica even more.
  • John
    Just finished To Live Is to Die, and as one of the few books I'll be fortunate to finish all summer, I must say it proved quite entertaining. Picked it up at Twist & Shout on a whim, and didn't expect it to be nearly as engrossing as it was. Metallica fans will already be well-acquainted with the tragic ending (on a lonely stretch of highway in Sweden, in August 1986), but for those who want a glimpse into one of the man who gave the band its def...
  • Dan
    I'm a huge Metallica fan, especially old Metallica, but lately I've been disappointed by most rock biographies that wallow in sleeze and debauchery (I'm looking at you, Motley Crue's "the Dirt") or after-the-fact bios that try to support a thesis(I'm looking at you, "Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend" by Stephen Davis.) But as a fan of both Metallica and the legendary bass playing of Cliff Burton, I decided to give this one a shot. This was a fas...
  • Eric
    While it's great that McIver got to interview people very close to Cliff Burton (ie, his parents, Trauma band members, girlfriend), this book is a padded, repetitive, and ultimately, wasted opportunity. Yes, Cliff was a major influence on Metallica, a great guy, a fantastic bassist, and an open-minded music fan, but does the reader need to be constantly reminded of this every few pages? And worse, McIver sways between being a historian and a very...
  • Michael
    To Live Is To Die is not your typical biography and it's jarring sometimes to read because I've read enough of these to know the formula. The person we're reading about finds fame, life spirals out of control, and then after hitting bottom they rise from the ashes with a renewed purpose and sense of self. McIver's book is a tribute to a man and his legacy that is still felt to this day. While Cliff was only with us a short time his passing still ...
  • J.ames
    After reading the Mustaine bio, Enter Night about Metallica and this book, there are some common themes: WWCD- What Would Cliff Do? After Master of Puppets, Black Album, Load, etc...., we don't know, Metallica doesn't know, Dave Mustaine doesn't know. NO ONE KNOWS. Leave it alone, move on, focus and celebrate Cliff for what he brought to Metallica and music overall. One single truth is evident - without Cliff coming to Metallica, there is no Ride...
  • Pablo Cohelo
    The book about Cliff Burton is a story of his impact on Metallica and people all around him during mostly 1983 and 1986, when in September 27th he died in bus accident in Sweden, while touring with Metallica's third masterpiece album - Master of Puppets.+ untold story of great musician + interviews and comments of Mettalica's bandmembers and other famous musicians+ a piece of history of greatest metal band of all time - author contradicts himself...
  • stupidus
    Make no mistake this book will further mythologize Mr. Burton.Like an inane fan McIver will offer his look on what Metallica would have become if Burton would have survived which is totally uncalled for, not to mention preposterous.In essence he argues that Metallica would have turned out pretty much the same after Puppets - if not even more "mellow" - because A) Burton had a more versatile taste in music (as opposed to his band mates), B) he had...
  • Albert Buchatskyy
    My gosh that was BORING... If you remove all "Cliff was so awesome" from here, there would be no book. I mean, there's literally no interesting information whatsoever. You're reading a very short Cliff's story (unfortunately his life was very short indeed) which is basically 10% of information and 90% of "oh Cliff was sooo great!", "Oh Cliff was sooo unbelievable!", "Cliff has invented metal!" and "Cliff has found the cure from cancer!" Sometimes...
  • Kyle Pichler
    A great book diving into the life of a very unique musician. While many rock biographies seem to fixate on the debauchery surrounding the bands, it is refreshing to read a book more focused on the music. Even though hard partying is touched on, the focus is more on Cliff and his personality, musicianship, and influence on Metallica and the metal genre in general than on the partying. I would highly recommend to any fan of rock/metal music, and is...
  • Eduardo Casarero
    Great book, lots of data. I do recommend to read the book with Spotify and headphones jumping through Cliff music, influences, etc. There are lots of details about songs compositions and explanations about how they recorded it.
  • Tim
    If you are a Metallica fan this is a must read.Cliff Burton was such a amazing talent and was such a tragic loss for the music industry.Those first 3 Metallica albums are the best.It is so great reading a book to celebrate his life.
  • Kenny
    If I could give it 100 stars, I would. Breathtaking.
  • fern
    Though this is written at a 10th grade level, the content makes it worthwhile.
  • Angie
    It was an interesting read. A little too technical on the musical descriptions. Another great musician gone too soon.
  • Jarno Alaviiri
    Must read for the Metallica fan. Really liked it.
  • Edward Banchs
    Very cool book that explores a different side of Burton, and his true role in the band. What a talent, and what a person. This is a one that all fans of the band and his playing must, and I mean MUST read!
  • Rob
    This book was an interesting read into the life of late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton. It is a chapter in the band's history that seems to get largely brushed aside. I realize for Lars, James and Kirk, it is a painful moment in their lives and like any such moment, one that you prefer to not revisit.The book is largely a biography of Cliff Burton, but is a basic story of Metallica's rise to fame. It is largely based around the band's time when C...
  • Evan
    I received an advance reading copy of this book, for free, through Goodreads First Reads program in exchange for my honest review.To Live Is to Die: The Life and Death of Metallica’s Cliff Burton, by Joel McIver, is a must-read for any fan of Metallica, heavy metal, and/or hard rock. Prior to reading this book, I, of course, knew OF Cliff Burton, but admittedly, I knew little ABOUT Cliff Burton. My first exposure to Metallica came when I was in...
  • Daniel P'Lopez
    I first heard of Metallica in 1989 as a teenager, when their first video 'One' came out and almost instantly became a fan! However I didn't know or hear about Cliff Burton until one day in 1990 I was at a friend's house who also liked Metallica and knew a lot more about them and their music. He was the first person to tell me about Cliff Burton and what happened to him. After that I started getting their older albums and then the black album cam...
  • Brendan O'Meara
    Metallica is my favorite band and Cliff Burton is held onto this deity-like pedestal. He was a humble, grounded, and modest musician. He gave creative depth to Metallica where it otherwise lacked it. The writing is so-so. Here's an example of a sentence before the bus flipped over killing Burton. " ... when disaster struck." A bus flipping over is disaster enough for me.I liked this biography more because I'm such a Metallica nut. It made me appr...
  • Mats
    As a hardcore fan of Metallica, it would have been hard for me to not like this book in some way, shape or form.But Joel McIver has written a page turner, making it extra easy to love this book. Cliff Burton's life was short but full, and the things he accomplished are things that have taken lesser men entire lifespans.Two things kind of annoyed me about this book:Firstly, McIver's inactive style of writing (parts of the book reads like a intervi...
  • Amanda
    I found this book fascinating. Before reading this, I didn't know much about Cliff's personal life. Such a tragic end for an incredible musician.I'm not a musician but my favorite chapters are the ones where the albums were being recorded. I like that the author didn't go overboard with the techy details. Now that I'm finished, I plan to reread the book while listening to the album so I can go to the sections of the songs that are highlighted by ...
  • Nate
    This book is a great read not only for Metallica fans, but for any bassist who has been inspired by Cliff. Joel did a great job of breaking down many of Cliff's bass lines and fills and even pointed a few out that I'd never noticed before. This book inspired me to go back and listen to the early Metallica records with a whole new pair of ears.I was also pleased to hear from Cliff's girlfriend at the time of his death. I believe this book marks th...
  • Kristine
    Very good account of Cliff Burton's life. I learned a lot I didn't know about him. I didn't like that sometimes the author repeated a lot of stuff, but other than that I enjoyed the various stories from Cliff's friends and band mates. I loved that Dave Mustaine called him a "major rager and the four-string motherfucker" and the author says he was a bit of a contradiction in a good way.
  • Katri
    This book made me wish that I could have met Cliff. He seems to be very extraordinary man. The book was okay, writing was what you can expect from man who is writer, musician and rock journalist. All and all, every Metallica fan should read this. Not because the book is so great, but because Cliff's story.
  • Unlovely Sara
    Honest and no-frills: this book is exactly like Cliff Burton. It narrates the story of an eclectic musician and a wonderful man, who created amazing things in only 5 years... I can't imagine how great he would have become if he hadn't died.
  • Kitt-e-kat
    Good read. Read it in 4 days. Alot of information about Cliff. Alot of information on how Metallica got started. Real truth and facts interviewed by girlfriends,band members,friends and magazine articles. This book is more for memory about a man who died accidently before his time.
  • Chris Akin
    Undeniably, the best book on any part of Metallica that's ever been written. Thorough, complete and written in a way that you come out of it feeling like you knew the great Cliff Burton. Bravo Joel McIver. A Job well done.
  • Tom
    Mandatory reading for every Metallica fan. Well researched with great insight from friends, family, band mates, and peers. This book really drives home the point of how important Cliff was to everything they recorded with him and after his death. A very easy and entertaining read.