Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante discussed James Hetfield and late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton in a new Radioactive Mike interview.
“It was the start of the tour, the big European tour, and the first set of dates were in the UK. One day we had a day off, and Scott [Ian, guitar], myself, Kirk [Hammett, guitar], and Cliff, we went to breakfast kind of early because we couldn’t sleep. We couldn’t adjust to the time, so we went for breakfast.
“And we’re setting up the table, reading on the menus, what’s for breakfast – and I just said ‘You know that part in ‘Master of Puppets,’ right before Kirk’s lead, James [Hetfield, guitar/vocals] screams out something, but I don’t understand what he says, it’s hard to make out…’
“And I remember Kirk and Cliff looking at each other, I don’t even think they knew what he [Cliff] said, he looks at me, looks at the menu, and he goes, ‘Pancakes, I think he says ‘pancakes’…’ We were cracking up laughing, and every show after that, I would kind of watch from Cliff’s side, and when that part would come up, he’d look at me and he’d mouth the word, ‘Pancakes!’ So it became a thing.
“And I told James the story many, many years later – the first Big Four show in Poland [in 2010]. The night before, we all had a big dinner with just the bands, we were just all talking, and I was talking to James, and I was talking to him about Cliff, and I told him the story about that.
“And he looked at me, and he’s like, ‘Thank you so much for telling me this story, because a lot of that time is a blur to me, so when I hear stories like that, it makes me so happy.’ During the whole Big Four concerts that we did, James would yell out, ‘Pancakes!’ [as demonstrated in the embedded video at the 5:21 mark] and I heard he still does it here and there.
“So it’s just one of those things, a funny story, a funny moment with Cliff. The words that James actually says are ‘Fix me,’ but I think ‘Pancakes’ sounds so much better. Great guy, and yeah, very dry sense of humor.”