Jerry Cantrell in 2010
|Birth name||Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr.|
|Born|| March 18, 1966 |
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr. (born March 18, 1966)is an American musician, singer-songwriter and guitarist best known as the founder, lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist and main songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains. The band rose to international fame in the early 1990s during Seattle's grunge movement, and is known for its distinctive vocal style and the harmonized vocals between Cantrell and Layne Staley (and later Cantrell and William DuVall). Cantrell started to sing lead vocals on Alice in Chains' 1992 EP Sap . After Staley's death in 2002, Cantrell took the role of Alice in Chains' lead singer on most of the songs from the band's post-Staley albums, Black Gives Way to Blue (2009), The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (2013) and Rainier Fog (2018), with DuVall harmonizing with him in the new songs and singing Staley's vocals in the old songs in live concerts.
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Typically, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
Alice in Chains is an American rock band from Seattle, Washington, formed in 1987 by guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney, who later recruited bassist Mike Starr and lead vocalist Layne Staley. Starr was replaced by Mike Inez in 1993. William DuVall joined the band in 2006 as co-lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, replacing Staley, who died in 2002. The band took its name from Staley's previous group, the glam metal band Alice N' Chains.
Seattle is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With an estimated 730,000 residents as of 2018, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. According to U.S. Census data released in 2018, the Seattle metropolitan area’s population stands at 3.87 million, and ranks as the 15th largest in the United States. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the Top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U.S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate. Seattle is the northernmost large city in the United States.
He also has a solo career, having released the albums Boggy Depot in 1998 and Degradation Trip Volumes 1 & 2 in 2002. Cantrell has also collaborated and performed with Heart, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Pantera, Circus of Power, Metal Church, Gov't Mule, Damageplan, Pearl Jam, The Cult, Stone Temple Pilots, Danzig, Glenn Hughes, Duff McKagan and Deftones, among others.
Boggy Depot is the debut solo album by Alice in Chains guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell. The vinyl edition of the album was released on March 31, 1998, and the CD was released on April 7, 1998 through Columbia Records. Boggy Depot debuted at No. 28 on the Billboard 200 album chart and spent 14 weeks on the Top 200. The tracks "Cut You In", "My Song" and "Dickeye" were released as singles to promote the album. "Cut You In" peaked at No. 5. on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks, "My Song" reached No. 6 and "Dickeye" peaked at No. 36.
Degradation Trip Volumes 1 & 2 is a double album by Jerry Cantrell, released on November 26, 2002 through Roadrunner Records. It is an expanded limited edition of Cantrell's Degradation Trip album, which was released five months earlier. All the songs were written long prior to the first release of Degradation Trip. The title was taken from the song "Solitude", the fifth track from the album. Roadrunner Records, uneasy toward the idea of a double album release, made Cantrell condense it, but promised to eventually release all of his material. The track order of the expanded version, which differs from the first, is also presented in Cantrell's originally planned order. Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin and then-Ozzy Osbourne/Black Label Society bassist Robert Trujillo contributed to Degradation Trip, and would tour with Cantrell in support of it in 2001, before the album was released.
Heart is an American rock band that first found success in Canada and later in the United States and worldwide. Over the group's five-decade history, it has had three primary lineups, with the constant center of the group since 1973 being sisters Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson. Heart rose to fame in the mid-1970s with music influenced by hard rock and heavy metal, as well as folk music. Their popularity declined in the early 1980s, but the band enjoyed a comeback starting in 1985 and experienced even greater success with album-oriented rock hits and hard-rock ballads into the 1990s.
Cantrell was named "Riff Lord" by British hard rock/metal magazine Metal Hammer in 2006.Guitar World Magazine ranked Cantrell 38th out of "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time" in 2004, and the 37th "Greatest Guitar Player of All Time" in 2012. Guitar World also ranked Cantrell's solo in "Man In The Box" at No. 77 on its list of "100 Greatest Guitar Solos" in 2008.
Metal Hammer is a monthly heavy metal and rock music magazine, published in the United Kingdom by Future and in several other countries by different publishers. Metal Hammer articles feature both mainstream bands and more unusual acts from the whole spectrum of heavy metal music.
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.
He also contributed to the soundtrack of The Cable Guy (1996), John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) and Dark Nights: Metal (2018), and has made cameos in the films Jerry Maguire (1996) and Rock Slyde (2009). Cantrell also acted in the Alice in Chains mockumentaries The Nona Tapes (1995) and AIC 23 (2013).
The Cable Guy is a 1996 American black comedy film directed by Ben Stiller, starring Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick. It was released in the United States on June 14, 1996. The film co-stars Leslie Mann, Jack Black, George Segal, Diane Baker, Eric Roberts, Owen Wilson, Janeane Garofalo, David Cross, Andy Dick, Amy Stiller, and Bob Odenkirk.
John Wick: Chapter 2 is a 2017 American neo-noir action thriller film directed by Chad Stahelski and written by Derek Kolstad. It is the second installment in the John Wick film series, and the sequel of the 2014 hit John Wick (2014). It stars Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo, and Ian McShane, marking the first collaboration between Reeves and Fishburne since appearing together in The Matrix trilogy. The plot follows hitman John Wick (Reeves), who goes on the run after a bounty is placed on him.
Dark Nights: Metal was a monthly comic book published by DC Comics that began in June 2017 and lasted until April 2018. Dark Nights: Metal is part of a larger crossover storyline, which include the eponymous six-issue core miniseries, and a number of tie-in books. The plot was written by Scott Snyder, with art by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion and FCO Plascencia. The story closely links with Snyder and Capullo's run on Batman during The New 52 DC relaunch.
Cantrell was born in Tacoma, Washington, on March 18, 1966,to Gloria Jean Krumpos and Jerry Fulton Cantrell. He grew up in Spanaway, and is the oldest of three children. His father is an Army veteran, and his mother was an amateur organist and melodica player who worked as an administrative assistant for the Clover Park School District in Pierce County, Washington.
Tacoma is a mid-sized urban port city and the county seat of Pierce County, Washington, United States. The city is on Washington's Puget Sound, 32 miles (51 km) southwest of Seattle, 31 miles (50 km) northeast of the state capital, Olympia, and 58 miles (93 km) northwest of Mount Rainier National Park. The population was 198,397, according to the 2010 census. Tacoma is the second-largest city in the Puget Sound area and the third largest in the state. Tacoma also serves as the center of business activity for the South Sound region, which has a population of around 1 million.
Spanaway is a census-designated place (CDP) in Pierce County, Washington, United States. The population was 27,227 at the 2010 census. Spanaway is an unincorporated area near Tacoma, and is often identified together with the more urban, less wealthy Parkland.
The Clover Park School District (CPSD) is the fourth largest school district in Pierce County, Washington, United States, and the 28th largest public school district in the state.
His maternal grandmother was from Norway, and his maternal grandfather was from Czech Republic.
Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northwestern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.
The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name, Czechia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres (30,450 sq mi) with a mostly temperate continental climate and oceanic climate. It is a unitary parliamentary republic, with 10.6 million inhabitants; its capital and largest city is Prague, with 1.3 million residents. Other major cities are Brno, Ostrava, Olomouc and Pilsen. The Czech Republic is a member of the European Union (EU), NATO, the OECD, the United Nations, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe.
After Cantrell learned to write, he documented his goal on Dr. Seuss' book My Book About Me , filling in the sentence "When I grow up I want to be a..." with the words "rock star".
Cantrell's father, Jerry Sr., is a combat veteran of the Vietnam War.Jerry Jr.'s first childhood memory is meeting his father for the first time after he had returned from war when he was three years old. Due to the strain of war, his parents divorced when he was seven years old, and Cantrell was raised by his mother, Gloria, and his maternal grandmother in Tacoma. The family lived on welfare and food stamps. His father was the main subject in the song "Rooster", which Cantrell wrote as a tribute to his father, and his mother Gloria is also mentioned by name in the song. Father and son also appeared together on the music video for "Rooster", in which Jerry Sr. recalls the war.
Cantrell moved back with his mother to Spanaway where he attended junior high.His first job was delivering newspapers. Cantrell attended high school at Spanaway Lake High School, and, before owning his first guitar, he was a member of the high school choir which attended many state competitions. In his senior year, Cantrell became choir president, and the quartet sang the national anthem at basketball games and won competitions with the highest marks achievable. Cantrell has cited his interest in dark musical tones as dating back to this period: "In choir we performed a cappella Gregorian chants from the 14th and 15th centuries. It was scary church music." His choir teacher and drama teacher were, early on, his two greatest motivators toward a career in music. When Alice in Chains' first album went gold, Cantrell sent both teachers a gold record. He graduated from high school in 1984.
Cantrell picked up a guitar for the first time when he was in sixth grade.At that time he played clarinet, and his mother was dating a guitar player who handed his guitar to Cantrell and taught him a couple of chords. Cantrell picked it up very quickly, impressing his mother's boyfriend who suggested that she should buy her son a guitar, so she bought him an acoustic guitar. It would not be until the age of 17 that he began seriously playing an electric guitar. Cantrell learned to play guitar by ear, emulating his heroes. In his mid-teens he bought his first guitar, a Korean-made Fender Stratocaster from a swap meet.
His maternal grandmother, Dorothy Krumpos, died of cancer in October 1986,and his mother Gloria died of pancreatic cancer at age 43 in April 1987, when Cantrell was 21 years old. Friends recalled that Cantrell fell into depression and became a completely different person after losing both his mother and grandmother within a short span of time.
The first album Cantrell owned was Elton John Greatest Hits (1974),which was a gift he received from his father when he was 10 years old. He noted in an interview that he was "raised on country music" as a youth and that he admires the emotion conveyed in the genre. He also considers himself "half Yankee and half redneck". However, hard rock music caught Cantrell's interest predominantly. He would later cite guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Ace Frehley, Tony Iommi, Angus Young, Jimmy Page, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing, David Gilmour, Nancy Wilson, and Eddie Van Halen as major influences, as well as Elton John and bands Fleetwood Mac, Heart and Rush as his early songwriting idols. Cantrell also cited Soundgarden as a big influence on him.
In 1985, Cantrell was going to winter semester of college,but he decided to quit it and moved to Dallas, Texas to join a band with a couple of friends.
Cantrell worked doing asbestos abatement around the Dallas and Houston area.He also worked at the music store Arnold and Morgan Music Company. While working at the store, Cantrell bought what he described as his first "real guitar", a 1984 G&L Rampage. During that time, he had a band with Vinnie Chas (from Pretty Boy Floyd), called Sinister. Later they formed another band called Raze.
While living in Dallas, Cantrell met an early incarnation of Pantera and started a long friendship with brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul.
In 1985 or 1986, Cantrell moved back to Tacoma and began a band called Diamond Lie, which included singer Scott Damon, drummer Bobby Nesbitt and bassist Matt Muasau.The band started playing concerts in Tacoma and Seattle with the goal of getting a record deal and also recorded a four-song demo at London Bridge Studio.
When Cantrell was 20 years old, he was working several part-time jobs to pay his rent, one of which involved throwing boxes of frozen fish in a warehouse.He spent his time outside of work playing guitar and jamming with any band he could find.
Three weeks after his mother's death on April 11, 1987, Cantrell went to see the band Alice N' Chains perform at the Tacoma Little Theatre, and was impressed by the voice of the lead singer, Layne Staley.Diamond Lie played their last concert in July 1987.
Cantrell met Layne Staley, then Alice N' Chains's lead singer, at a party in Seattle around August 1987.He was homeless after being kicked out of his family's house, so Staley invited Cantrell to live with him at the 24 hour rehearsal studio "The Music Bank". Shortly after Cantrell moved in with Staley at the Music Bank, Alice ‘N Chains broke up.
Cantrell wanted to form a new band and Staley gave him the phone number of Melinda Starr, the girlfriend of drummer Sean Kinney, so that Cantrell could talk to him.Cantrell called the number and set up a meeting with Kinney. Kinney and his girlfriend went to the Music Bank and listened to Cantrell's demos. Cantrell mentioned that they needed a bass player to jam with them and he had someone in mind: Mike Starr, with whom Cantrell had played in a band in Burien called Gypsy Rose. Kinney pointed at his girlfriend and said: "that's weird cause that's his sister". Kinney called Starr and a few days later he jammed with him and Cantrell at the Music Bank. But they didn't have a singer.
Staley was already starting up another band, but Cantrell, Starr and Kinney wanted him to be their lead singer.They started auditioning terrible lead singers in front of Staley to send a hint. The last straw for Staley was when they auditioned a male stripper – he decided to join the band after that. Staley, who was Cantrell's roommate at the time, agreed to join on the condition that Cantrell join his funk project (which ended shortly after), and Staley joined Cantrell's band on a full-time basis. The band had names like "Mothra", "Fuck" and "Diamond Lie", the latter being the name of Cantrell's previous band.
Diamond Lie gained attention in the Seattle area and eventually took the name of Staley's previous band, Alice N' Chains, then renamed Alice in Chains.
Cantrell attended Guns N' Roses' concert at the Seattle Center in 1988,and took an Alice in Chains demo tape to give to the band. He met Axl Rose after the show and gave him the tape. As he was walking away, Cantrell saw Rose throwing the demo away. Years later, Guns N' Roses picked Alice in Chains to be the opening act of their 2016 reunion tour.
Alice in Chains' final demo, The Treehouse Tapes, was completed in 1988 and found its way to the music managers Kelly Curtis and Susan Silver, who also managed the Seattle bands Mother Love Bone and Soundgarden, respectively. Curtis and Silver passed the demo on to Columbia Records.After three months of negotiations, Alice in Chains signed to Columbia Records on September 11, 1989.
Jerry Cantrell served as the lead guitarist, co-lyricist, co-vocalist and main composer of Alice in Chains until the group's near-permanent hiatus beginning in the late 1990s and leading through the death of lead singer Layne Staley in April 2002.Cantrell's guitar contribution gave a heavy metal edge to the band's unique grunge style. Cantrell also played bass on the track "Love Song", from the 1992 Sap EP.
Cantrell started to sing lead vocals on the 1992 acoustic EP Sap , and his role continued to grow in the following albums, making Alice in Chains a two-vocal band.Cantrell stated that it was Staley who encouraged him to sing.
Although Alice in Chains has been labeled grunge by the mainstream media, ... I don't quite know what the mixture is, but there's definitely metal, blues, rock and roll, maybe a touch of punk. The metal part will never leave, and I never want it to".Cantrell identifies the band as primarily heavy metal. He told Guitar World in 1996, "We're a lot of different things
Alice in Chains was one of the most successful bands of the 1990s, selling over 20 million records worldwide,and over 14 million records in the US alone.
Their debut album, Facelift , was released in 1990 and has been certified double-platinum by the RIAA, selling over two million copies.Cantrell dedicated the album to his late mother Gloria and to his close friend Andrew Wood, lead singer of the band Mother Love Bone who died in 1990. Speaking with Spin magazine in January 1991, Cantrell confirmed that the song "Sunshine" from Facelift was written about his mother's death. "When I was a little kid, I'd always tell her, "I'll be famous and buy you a house and you'll never have to work again. I'll take care of you like you took care of me.’ When she passed away, it was a really shitty time for me. I didn't know how to deal with it then, and I still don't. But it gave me the impetus to do what I'm doing."
In February 1992, the band released the acoustic EP Sap .The EP has been certified gold and it features guest vocals by Ann Wilson from the band Heart, who joined Staley and Cantrell for the choruses of "Brother", "Am I Inside", and "Love Song". The EP also features Mark Arm of Mudhoney and Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, who appeared together on the song "Right Turn", credited as "Alice Mudgarden" in the liner notes. The opening track, "Brother", featured Cantrell on lead vocals. The song was about Cantrell's relationship with his younger brother, David. Cantrell also played bass on the last track, "Love Song".
Their second full-length album, Dirt , was released in September 1992 to critical acclaim and was certified quadruple platinum.The album's lead single, "Would?", was written by Cantrell as a tribute to his late friend Andrew Wood. The song was also featured on the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe's 1992 film Singles . The album's fourth single, "Rooster", was a tribute to Cantrell's father.
Alice in Chains' second acoustic EP, Jar of Flies , debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in 1994,becoming the first ever EP and first Alice in Chains release to top the charts. It has been certified triple platinum by the RIAA. The album's fifth track was an instrumental song, "Whale & Wasp", described by Cantrell as "a conversation between whales and wasps".
Alice in Chains broke up for six months following the cancellation of their opening act at the Metallica tour in July 1994,citing "health problems within the band".
The band's third full-length album, Alice in Chains , was released in November 1995, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart,and has been certified double platinum. The singles "Grind", "Over Now", and "Heaven Beside You" feature Cantrell on lead vocals. The band did not tour in support of their self-titled album.
On April 10, 1996, Alice in Chains made their first concert in two and a half years for MTV Unplugged , a program featuring all-acoustic set lists.The show featured some of the band's highest charting singles, including "Rooster", "Down in a Hole", "Heaven Beside You", "No Excuses" and "Would?", and introduced a new song, "Killer Is Me", with Cantrell on lead vocals. Cantrell stated that he was ill during the performance as a result of food poisoning from a hot dog consumed before the gig.
Alice in Chains performed four shows supporting Kiss on their Alive/Worldwide Tour in 1996, including the final live appearance of Layne Staley on July 3, 1996 in Kansas City, Missouri. Shortly after the show, Staley was found unresponsive after he overdosed on heroin and was hospitalized.Staley rarely left his condo in Seattle, but in 1998 the band reunited to record two new songs, "Get Born Again" and "Died", originally intended for Cantrell's second solo album, the songs were released on the 1999 box set Music Bank . Still in 1999, the band released a 15-track compilation titled Nothing Safe: Best of the Box . Their first compilation, titled " Live", was released on December 5, 2000. In 2001, a second compilation titled Greatest Hits was released.
Although never officially disbanding, Alice in Chains was plagued by extended inactivity from 1996 onwards due to Staley's substance abuse, which resulted in his death in 2002. The band reformed in 2005 when drummer Sean Kinney had the idea to reunite the surviving membersto perform a benefit concert for the victims of the tsunami disaster that struck South Asia in 2004. On February 18, 2005, Cantrell, Mike Inez and Sean Kinney reunited to perform for the first time in 10 years as Alice in Chains at the K-Rock Tsunami Continued Care Relief Concert in Seattle. The band featured Damageplan vocalist Pat Lachman, as well as other special guests including Maynard James Keenan of Tool, Wes Scantlin from Puddle of Mudd and Ann Wilson of Heart. A few months after that concert, the band called their former manager Susan Silver and Cantrell's manager Bill Siddons and said they wanted to tour as Alice in Chains again.
On March 10, 2006, Cantrell, Inez and Kinney performed at VH1's Decades Rock Live concert, honoring fellow Seattle musicians Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. They played "Would?" with vocalist Phil Anselmo of Pantera and Down and bass player Duff McKagan of Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver, then they played "Rooster" with Ann Wilson and Comes with the Fall vocalist William DuVall.The band followed the concert with a short United States club tour, several festival dates in Europe, and a brief tour in Japan. To coincide with the band's reunion, Sony Music released the long-delayed third Alice in Chains compilation, The Essential Alice in Chains , a double album that includes 28 songs.
Between 2006 and 2007, Cantrell played in a number of concerts with Alice in Chains featuring guest lead singers such as Ann Wilson, [ citation needed ]Mark Lanegan, James Hetfield, Phil Anselmo, Billy Corgan, Scott Weiland Sebastian Bach, and William DuVall. Although Cantrell acknowledges the benefits of working as a solo artist, he expressed his happiness with being back in the band culture.
Cantrell explained the band's reunion saying, "We want to celebrate what we did and the memory of our friend. We have played with some [singers] who can actually bring it and add their own thing to it without being a Layne clone. We're not interested in stepping on [Staley's] rich legacy. It's a tough thing to go through. Do you take the Led Zeppelin approach and never play again, because the guy was that important? That's the approach we've taken for a lot of years. Or, do you give it a shot, try something? We're willing to take a chance on it. It's completely a reunion because the three of us who're left are back together. But it's not about separating and forgetting — it's about remembering and moving on."
Cantrell met singer William DuVall in Los Angeles in 2000, through a mutual acquaintance who introduced him to the first album of DuVall's band, Comes with the Fall.Cantrell started hanging out with the band and occasionally joining them onstage. Comes with the Fall was both the opening act on Cantrell's tour for his second solo album, Degradation Trip, and also the singer's backing band, with DuVall singing Staley's parts at the concerts in 2001 and 2002. DuVall joined Alice in Chains as full-time lead singer during the band's reunion tour in 2006, after making his first public appearance with the band at the VH1 concert.
By April 2007, Alice in Chains had been writing and demoing songs for a new album with DuVall,but the band did not show further signs of progress until October 2008, when they announced that they had begun recording with producer Nick Raskulinecz in the studio. The band didn't have a record label at the time and the album was funded by Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney. The writing and recording process was completed on March 18, 2009 – Cantrell's 43rd birthday and also the same day that DuVall's son was born.
About the pressure being put on DuVall for replacing Staley as lead vocalist, Cantrell said, "To put all that weight on Will’s shoulders is unfair. We’re just figuring out how we work as a team. Although the band has changed, we’ve lost Layne, we’ve added Will, and there was no master plan. Playing again in 2005 felt right, so we did the next thing and toured. We did it step by step. It’s more than just making music, and it always has been. We’ve been friends a long time. We’ve been more of a family than most, and it had to be okay from here", Cantrell said pointing to his heart.
On September 29, 2009, Alice in Chains, released their first record since the death of Layne Staley, Black Gives Way to Blue , and toured in support of the album.The album includes songs which Cantrell described as "the heaviest he's ever written", and has Cantrell singing lead vocals on most of the songs and William DuVall as co-lead vocalist. The title track is a tribute to Layne Staley written and sung by Cantrell, accompanied by Elton John playing piano. In the months before writing the song, Cantrell had been suffering from an unexplained illness. Cantrell believes the mystery illness was the pain of saying goodbye to Staley. He told Guitar World, "I got deathly ill. I had these mystery migraines, intense physical pain, and I'd even gotten a spinal tap to test for certain things. They never could find anything wrong with me. I felt I was puking up all this undigested grief in losing Layne." Once Cantrell started writing the song and the rest of the album, his mystery illness disappeared. Cantrell, Mike Inez and Sean Kinney also thanked Staley in the album's liner notes. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in May 2010, selling over 500,000 copies in the U.S.
The band released their fifth studio album, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here , on May 28, 2013,and Cantrell continued his role of main singer in the album. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 (the band's highest chart position since 1995's Alice in Chains , which debuted at No. 1), selling 61,000 copies in its first week of release.
In June 2017, Alice in Chains returned to Seattle's Studio X to record their sixth studio album. Studio X was the same studio where the band recorded their self-titled album, Alice in Chains (1995),Recording was completed in January 2018. On June 27, 2018, the band announced the title and unveiled the cover art of the new album, Rainier Fog , released on August 24, 2018 through BMG, Alice in Chains' first release on the label. Cantrell took the album's title from the Mount Rainier in Seattle, and the title track is a tribute to the Seattle music scene.
As part of the promotion of Rainier Fog, the baseball team Seattle Mariners hosted an "Alice in Chains Night" at the Safeco Field in Seattle on August 20, 2018, and Cantrell threw out the ceremonial first pitch and delivered a strike before the Mariners vs. Houston Astros game.
As of 2018, Alice in Chains has had 18 Top 10 songs on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart,5 No. 1 hits, and eleven Grammy Award nominations.
Cantrell's career outside Alice in Chains has consisted of two solo albums, as well as many appearances with other musicians and on film soundtracks. His first solo material was the song "Leave Me Alone", released exclusively on The Cable Guy soundtrack in 1996, featuring Alice in Chains drummer Sean Kinney on drums and Cantrell on lead vocals, guitar and bass.It had a music video, which was included as a bonus feature on the 15th anniversary edition Blu-Ray of The Cable Guy in 2011, and the song reached No. 14 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks. In the same year, Cantrell covered Willie Nelson's "I've Seen All This World I Care to See" for the album Twisted Willie: A Tribute to Willie Nelson.
As the activity of Alice in Chains slowed and the band's future came into question, Cantrell reluctantly began work on his first full-length solo record. While video footage from Cantrell's official website claimed that he wanted to work solo for some time,his comments in Guitar World stated otherwise:
It's something I never really wanted to do, but the way things have played out, it's like, why not? To be honest, I'd just be happy being the lead guitarist and singer for Alice In Chains. It's always been my first love, and always will be, but the situation being what it is... we've been together for a long time, and right now it's kinda played out. It's time to let it be. Now I've got to step up to the plate and take a few swings.
Boggy Depot was released in April 1998.The title comes from the ghost town of the same name in Oklahoma, which is the area that Cantrell's father grew up in. The album cover shows Cantrell covered in mud standing waist-deep in a branch of the Boggy River. Besides singing, Cantrell also played guitar, piano, clavinet, organ, and steel drums on the album. The tracks "Cut You In", "My Song" and "Dickeye" were released as singles to promote the album. Cantrell's father played the sheriff in the music video for "Cut You In".
His touring band for the album included Alice in Chains bandmates Inez and Kinney, and Cantrell expressed hope to have a second album released by the following year.[ citation needed ] Cantrell opened for Metallica and Van Halen on their 1998 summer tour.
The same year of Boggy Depot, Cantrell began writing a follow-up album. He also departed from Columbia Records during this time and had trouble finding a new label.Cantrell said of the writing experience:
In '98, I locked myself in my house, went out of my mind and wrote 25 songs. I rarely bathed during that period of writing; I sent out for food, I didn't really venture out of my house in three or four months. It was a hell of an experience. The album is an overview of birth to now.
In 1998, Layne Staley almost performed live again since Alice in Chains' last concert in July 1996,when Cantrell went to Seattle on his solo tour for Boggy Depot. It was Halloween night and Staley was backstage as a guest. Cantrell reportedly asked Staley to join him onstage, but Staley declined.
Cantrell started recording a follow-up to Boggy Depot in 2000. He was also living in San Francisco during that period.Cantrell had to sell his Seattle house to fund the album and produced it himself. Finally in June 2002, Cantrell issued his second solo album, Degradation Trip, with Ozzy Osbourne's then live rhythm section, Mike Bordin (drums) and Robert Trujillo (bass). Released on Roadrunner Records, Degradation Trip hit shelves two months after Layne Staley's death and was dedicated to him. The songs on the album ranged from doom metal to pop-based hard rock. The album, which received better critical reception than its predecessor, featured two singles, "Anger Rising" and "Angel Eyes", and the track "She Was My Girl" was included on the Spider-Man soundtrack.
Degradation Trip has sold 100,000 copies in the U.S. as of December 2002.The live show was well received by audiences on a national tour that helped build upon the solo album's success. Degradation Trip was re-released in November 2002 as a double album, featuring eleven additional tracks that were made for the album as Cantrell originally intended.
In Spring 2004, Cantrell opened a slate of shows on Kid Rock's U.S. tour.
Cantrell has been rumored to be working on his third full-length solo album for several years, for a supposedly planned release in 2006. However, this album still has not been released. Subsequent work with the revamped Alice in Chains may have stalled this release.When asked about releasing another solo album, he issued this statement in 2010:
Not for a while. My first and foremost love has been this band and always has been. The only reason I did those two records is because we weren’t working as a band. But being a part of this band is a full time job. Some guys can do multiple things and maybe when I was younger I could do that, but not now.
In November 2014, during an interview on radio 95.5 KLOS, Cantrell was asked if he had any plans on doing more solo work, to which he replied: "I don't know. Maybe somewhere down the road. The only reason I ever did anything by my own was because my band wasn't really doing anything. My band has been doing things lately, so I don't really have time to do anything. I kinda focus my energy there [in the band]. Of course, you know, possibilities..."Cantrell expressed the same sentiment when asked about a new solo album during an interview with Trunk Nation in August 2017, stating that Alice in Chains has always been his number one concern, but that he would not rule out a new solo album in the future.
In February 2017, Cantrell released his first solo song in 15 years, "A Job To Do", featured during the end credits of the movie John Wick: Chapter 2 .
Cantrell has appeared as guest guitarist on several albums and projects, including the Danzig album Blackacidevil (1996), in which he played on three tracks ("See All You Were", "Come to Silver" and "Hand of Doom"),and the Metallica album Garage Inc. (1998) on the band's rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone". He also guested on Circus of Power's 1993 album Magic & Madness for the song "Heaven & Hell", played lead guitar on Metal Church's "Gods of a Second Chance" from their 1993 album Hanging in the Balance , and played on the track "Marry Me" from Pigeonhed's 1997 album, The Full Sentence.
Cantrell provided background vocals for the track "Effigy" on Gov't Mule's 2001 album, The Deep End, Volume 1 . [ citation needed ]He also appears briefly with Warren Haynes in the documentary Rising Low, which documents the work of the band Gov't Mule following the death of bassist Allen Woody.
In a May 2001 interview with Metal-is.com, Cantrell revealed that he had written four songs for Ozzy Osbourne.Cantrell, Osbourne, guitarist Zakk Wylde, bassist Robert Trujillo and drummer Mike Bordin went to the studio and made some rough demos of those songs.
Cantrell played guitar in the song "Fallen Ones"from Heart's 2004 album Jupiters Darling .
Cantrell was the lead guitarist in all of the tracksfrom Ozzy Osbourne's 2005 album of cover songs, Under Cover . The songs performed by Cantrell were also included on disc four of Osbourne's box set Prince of Darkness (2005).
In 2007, Cantrell played guitar on Glenn Hughes's rendition of Led Zeppelin's "Misty Mountain Hop", featured on Hughes' solo album Music for the Divine ,and played on the track "Soul Ecstacy" off the Stevie Salas's album The Sun and the Earth: The Essential Stevie Salas, Vol. 1. He also played guitar on Smith & Pyle's debut album, It's OK To Be Happy, released in 2008.
In 2010, Cantrell played guitar on the song "Anything" from Pearl Aday's debut album, Little Immaculate White Fox .Aday stated that she thought Cantrell would be a good person to put in some "heartbroken, haunting, crying guitar" on the track.
Cantrell sings background vocals and does a lead vocal ad-lib in the final chorus of "Love Is Blind" from Richie Kotzen's 2011 album, 24 Hours.
He played guitar on Duff McKagan's 2015 EP How To Be A Man,and has also collaborated with Alternative Metal band Deftones, contributing guitar parts to the track "Phantom Bride" off their 2016 album Gore .
Cantrell performed a snippet of "Man In The Box" followed by a cover of Motörhead's "Ace of Spades" alongside Pantera during their concert at the Seattle Center Coliseum on March 1, 1992.Cantrell joined the band again for their performance of "Walk" during a concert in San Jose, California on February 6, 2001.
On October 9, 1994, Cantrell joined Metallica for a performance of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" during their concert in Oklahoma City.
In 2002, Cantrell played a series of summer dates with headlining hard rock/post-grunge band Nickelback.Cantrell can be seen playing Alice in Chains' "It Ain't Like That" with the band on their first DVD release, Live at Home (2002). He was also asked by Nickelback's frontman, Chad Kroeger, to contribute to the song "Hero" for the 2002 film Spider-Man . Cantrell was unable to attend the recording session and was replaced by Saliva's Josey Scott.
Cantrell made several guest appearances with the supergroup Camp Freddy,(a covers band featuring Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, former Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and Billy Idol guitarist Billy Morrison), performing with them for the first time at The Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2004.
The experience with Camp Freddy inspired Cantrell and The Cult guitarist Billy Duffy to form their own covers band,the rock supergroup Cardboard Vampyres (named after Cantrell's cats). Under the moniker of the Jerry Cantrell-Billy Duffy Band, they debuted during the three-concert series for Sweet Relief Musicians Fund at The Troubadour in April 2004. "This band is really just about having fun and playing tunes that we were fans of growing up," Cantrell stated. Performing mostly cover songs from bands like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Stooges, Black Sabbath, and Aerosmith, the group was rounded out by vocalist John Corabi, bassist Chris Wyse, and drummer Josh Howser. The band played at various venues in the United States; although, they predominately played along the West Coast. No formal albums were released by the band.
Cantrell joined Metallica on backing vocals during their performance of "Nothing Else Matters" at the Download Festival in Dublin on June 11, 2006.
On October 6, 2009, Cantrell joined Pearl Jam during their concert at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles. Cantrell hopped on stage to close out the night with the guitar solo on "Alive".The following night, Cantrell joined the band to perform "Kick Out The Jams".
Cantrell made a special appearance at a Stone Temple Pilots concert in Camden, New Jersey on May 23, 2010. Cantrell played guitar during the band's performance of "Sex Type Thing".
On December 9, 2011, Cantrell joined Metallica for their 30th anniversary concert at The Fillmore in San Francisco. Cantrell performed the songs "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "Nothing Else Matters", "Seek and Destroy" and a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s "Tuesday’s Gone".
On May 12, 2012, Cantrell made a duet with Somar Macek accompanied by the Synergia Northwest Orchestra for a performance of Elton John's "Levon" at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, during a benefit concert for music education in Northwest public schools.
Cantrell performed with Duff McKagan's band The Walking Papers during the band's concert at The Crocodile in Seattle on December 15, 2012.
On April 18, 2013, the Seattle band Heart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Cantrell joined the band onstage for a performance of "Crazy On You".Cantrell alongside Pearl Jam's Mike McCready and Soundgarden's Chris Cornell, also played guitar for Heart's hit song "Barracuda" with Ann and Nancy Wilson at the ceremony.
On November 20, 2015, Cantrell joined The Cult on stage at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles to perform the song "The Phoenix".
On December 16, 2015, Cantrell joined the supergroup Royal Machines at The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood and performed Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak" and Alice in Chains' "Would?" and "Man In The Box".
On March 13, 2017, Cantrell made a guest appearance at Steel Panther's concert at The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood and performed "Man In The Box" with the band joined by Godsmack singer Sully Erna on lead vocals.On March 25, 2017, Cantrell performed with Nancy Wilson and Mike Inez at the 5th annual Rock Against MS benefit concert.
Cantrell was one of the musicians who participated on the Founders Award Celebration honoring The Doors at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture on December 7, 2017.Cantrell sang "Love Her Madly" accompanied by The Doors' original guitarist Robby Krieger, keyboardist George Laks, bassist Zander Schloss, and drummer Brian Young. He came back at the end of the concert to sing "Roadhouse Blues" together with all the artists who performed at the tribute.
On December 8, 2017, Cantrell joined The Hellcat Saints (a supergroup featuring members of The Cult, Velvet Revolver, Weezer and Apocalyptica), to open for Jane's Addiction at the third annual Rhonda's Kiss benefit concert at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. Proceeds from the concert benefited the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and further the mission of Rhonda's Kiss, an organization that helps cancer patients in need.Cantrell performed Alice in Chains' hits "Would?" and "Man In The Box", and sang Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak".
On January 16, 2019, Cantrell along with William DuVall, Pearl Jam's guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament, and drummer Josh Freese performed Soundgarden's "Hunted Down" at the Chris Cornell tribute concert "I Am The Highway".
Cantrell wrote the song "Leave Me Alone" for the 1996 dark comedy The Cable Guy , which can be found on that movie's soundtrack. "She Was My Girl" from Degradation Trip, was included on the Spider-Man (2002) soundtrack.
Cantrell returned to the movie scene in 2004 to write, with the newly formed metal band Damageplan, the song "Ashes to Ashes" for the movie The Punisher . The song features Cantrell on vocals alongside Damageplan singer Patrick Lachman,and can be found on that movie's soundtrack, and as a bonus track on the Japanese version of the Damageplan album New Found Power .
In February 2017, Cantrell released the song "A Job To Do", the end-title song to John Wick: Chapter 2 . Cantrell wrote the lyrics from the perspective of Keanu Reeves’ title character.Cantrell said in a statement: "I really dug John Wick and have always admired Keanu's work. When the opportunity arose to create a song for the second film, Tyler Bates and I wrote and recorded 'A Job To Do', a theme song for the character. Can't wait to see it!".
On July 19, 2018, Cantrell released the song "Setting Sun" for the soundtrack of DC Comics' graphic novel Dark Nights: Metal . The song was released as a single in digital platforms.
Cantrell's early influences made Alice in Chains' heavy metal tones stand out among their fellow grunge/alternative rock-oriented bands of the Seattle music scene. However, his musical range also extends into elements of blues and country as heard on his solo debut album. Cantrell's guitar playing is known for its unique use of wah pedal as well as odd time signatures. In a 1998 interview with Guitar World , he was asked about the latter quality:
I really don't know where that comes from; it just comes naturally to me. I could sit down and figure it out, but what's the use? Off-time stuff is just more exciting – it takes people by surprise when you shift gears like that before they even know what the hell hit 'em. It's also effective when you slow something down and then slam 'em into the dash. A lot of Alice stuff is written that way – "Them Bones" is a great off-time song.
Cantrell has been most famously seen playing a G&L Guitars' Rampage model. The two models most closely identified with Cantrell are instruments manufactured in the 1980s.They feature a maple body, maple neck and ebony fingerboard. The bridge is a Kahler Tremolo as opposed to a Floyd Rose tremolo which was commonly seen on instruments made throughout the 1980s and 90s. The guitars feature a single-bridge humbucker wired to a volume control.
G&L Guitars makes two Jerry Cantrell Signature guitars available to the general public for purchase. The first is a Rampage model which is very similar to the instrument most closely identified with Cantrell, known as the "Blue Dress Rampage" for having an image of a vintage pin-up girl wearing a blue dress, which Cantrell taped to the top of his first guitar.The second is a guitar called the 'Superhawk'. This guitar features a fixed bridge and the addition of a neck pickup.
Cantrell used the original "Blue Dress" guitar on the music videos for "Man in the Box","We Die Young", "Sea of Sorrow", "Grind", and "Again". The guitar can also be seen in the movie Singles . In 2011, Cantrell told that he had to retire the guitar due to a hairline crack from the neck all the way through the back of the body. Before that, he had never gone on tour without it.
Apart from his signature G&L Guitars, Cantrell has also been seen playing a Telecaster,a Fender Standard Stratocaster Brown Sunburst, a Gibson Les Paul most notably an Ivory White Les Paul with torch burn marks that Cantrell made all over the guitar, which is the guitar that Cantrell has used on all of the Alice in Chains albums along with the original Blue Dress G&L. Also a Gibson Custom Shop Jerry Cantrell SG, a 1952 Goldtop Les Paul, a Ernie Ball Music Man EVH that was a gift from Eddie Van Halen in the 90's, but has been stolen from Cantrell, a dark blue Mosrite Venture, a Dean Micheal Schenker USA V, and Dean Soltero guitars.
Cantrell used a variety of amplifiers such as those made by Bogner, Mesa Boogie and Marshall throughout his career.He has most recently been using a signature amp called the, 'JJ100' made for him by Friedman Amplification.
In 2010, Jim Dunlop introduced the "JC95 Cantrell Signature Cry Baby", Cantrell's signature Cry Baby wah pedal,based on the original Jimi Hendrix Wah pedal that Cantrell used since his early days. The lyrics to "Black Gives Way to Blue" are printed on the base plate of the pedal. In January 2019, Dunlop released a new version of the pedal, with a design based on Cantrell's tribal orca tattoo and lyrics for the Alice in Chains song "Rainier Fog" on the bottom plate.
Cantrell is widely considered to be one of the greatest rock guitarists of his generation. Pantera and Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell expressed his admiration for Cantrell's guitar work in an interview for Guitar International in 1995, saying that "the layering and the honest feel that Jerry Cantrell gets on [Alice in Chains' Dirt] record is worth a lot more than someone who plays five million notes".
In July 2006, British hard rock/metal magazine Metal Hammer awarded Cantrell the title of "Riff Lord" at its annual Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards show, held at the London Astoria.He was apparently thrilled at winning the title over several famous artists such as Slash, James Hetfield, and Jimmy Page.
He was ranked 38th out of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World in 2004,and ranked at No. 37 out of "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" also by Guitar World in 2012.
Cantrell was ranked at No. 98 on the list of the "Top 100 Most Complete Guitar Players of All Time" by Envision Radio Networks' "Chop Shop" guitar show in 2008.
In October 2008, Guitar World ranked Cantrell's solo in "Man In The Box" at No. 77 on its list of "100 Greatest Guitar Solos".
Elton John stated in a 2009 interview with Rolling Stone that he's been an admirer of Cantrell for quite some time, and couldn't resist the offer to play on Alice in Chains' song "Black Gives Way to Blue" at Cantrell's request.
In a 2015 interview with Loudwire discussing five of his essential guitar albums, Slayer guitarist Kerry King said about Cantrell:
|“||Cantrell did the harmonies with Layne, and they were haunting, especially on Dirt . Those two guys really had their thing figured out. Guitar-wise, Jerry's playing was always exciting and interesting. ‘Them Bones’ is a heavy f---ing song. Jerry's tone on that one is insane. The title track has a really ominous intro that sets the mood for the rest of the song. So many great guitar riffs and solo performances on this record. Jerry's a really solid blues-rock guitarist, very tasteful and emotive.||”|
In 2016, Blend Guitar ranked Cantrell No. 7 on its list of "Top 10 Underrated Guitarists".
In 2018, Cantrell was named "Guitarist of the Year" by Ultimate Guitar's readers poll.Cantrell and William DuVall were also tied at No. 10 on Total Guitar/MusicRadar's "15 best rock guitarists in the world right now" poll.
Between 2009 and 2010, Cantrell co-owned a hard rock bar called Dead Man's Hand in Las Vegas with Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian.
In 2011, Cantrell appeared on a spot for NADCP, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
In 2012, Cantrell's voice was featured on a smoking policy ad at the Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle.
In his teens, Cantrell was acting in lead roles in high school plays.In a 1998 Q&A, Cantrell revealed that acting has always been an interest to him.
Cantrell is featured in the 1992 movie Singles , along with the rest of Alice in Chains performing the songs "It Ain't Like That" and "Would?".
In the early 90's, Cantrell and his Alice in Chains bandmates Layne Staley and Mike Starr were featured on the music video "Never A Know, But The No", from the Seattle thrash metal band Forced Entry.
In 1995, Cantrell played journalist Nona Weisbaum on the Alice in Chains mockumentary The Nona Tapes .
In 1996, he had a cameo in Cameron Crowe's Jerry Maguire playing "Jesus of CopyMat", the CopyMat worker who helped Tom Cruise's character make copies of his manifesto.Cantrell said about the film; "I get more people coming up to me telling me my line. It was such a big movie and it was really fun to do." Cantrell was also Crowe's first choice for the role of Stillwater bass player Larry Fellows in Almost Famous (2000). Cantrell was busy writing the songs for his solo album Degradation Trip and had to turn the role down. Mark Kozelek was cast instead.
He also had a cameo as a musician in the 2009 film noir comedy Rock Slyde ,and appeared on the background of one scene in the first season of the TV series Deadwood in 2004.
In 2013, Cantrell played country singer Donnie "Skeeter" Dollarhide Jr. on the Alice in Chains mockumentary AIC 23 .
In 2018, Cantrell played Terry, a plumber who plays bass in a garage band in the short film Dad Band, co-starring W. Earl Brown. Cantrell also composed the film score along with Carl Restivo.
Cantrell was homeless in the early '90s and lived for some time at the house of Pearl Jam's manager Kelly Curtis. While living in the basement of Curtis' house, Cantrell was roommates with Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder.At the start of 1991, Cantrell moved in with Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell and his wife Susan Silver at their house in Seattle. Silver was also Alice in Chains' manager. Cantrell wrote the song "Rooster" at the Cornells' house and stayed there for a few weeks. Cantrell would later pay tribute to Cornell during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony on April 14, 2018, joining singer Ann Wilson for a rendition of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun". Alice in Chains also paid tribute to Cornell on the one year anniversary of his death on May 18, 2018. The band covered two Soundgarden songs, "Hunted Down" and "Boot Camp," respectively, closing their headlining set at the Rock on the Range festival in Columbus, Ohio. Towards the end of "Boot Camp", the lights on stage spelled out "CC" for Chris Cornell and "SG" for Soundgarden as feedback rang out.
Cantrell was a close friend of late Alice in Chains' lead singer Layne Staley, who was described by Cantrell as his best friend.Staley died on April 5, 2002 at the same time of Cantrell's Degradation Trip tour, but Cantrell opted not to cancel any shows, stating, "It's difficult to do interviews - it's hard to talk about it [Staley's death]. I'm just thankful to have a tour and work - something I can focus on." "The shows I played between the time I got the word about Layne and Layne's funeral were very important to me in terms of being able to continue on. It's one of those things where if you take a break and allow things to settle in, it might be harder to get up again." Cantrell's manager at the time, Bill Siddons, said that Jerry really loved Layne and they had a bond he hadn't seen before. Asked about Staley's death in an interview with MTV in July 2002, Cantrell said: "It's something I'm still dealing with, and I still think like he's here. I miss him tremendously. I love him and have to move on. I'll remember him and respect the memories of what we did together and just enjoy life... and that's all I'll say about it." William DuVall, who performed Staley's vocals during Cantrell's solo concerts, elaborated on this emotional period saying: "I lost my grandfather in the same week, so Cantrell and I both hit the road with immense personal losses dogging us. There were times on stage—there was one show in Charlotte where it was just so heavy. I'm holding back tears onstage, and Jerry would start crying onstage too a lot at that point, and a lot of times we would just look at each other when we were singing the stuff because it was the only way... it was heavy. I can't quantify it really in words."
Cantrell canceled the show that he was scheduled to perform at Zephyrhills's Livestock Festival on April 28 in order to attend Staley's funeral in Seattle in the same day.Cantrell dedicated his solo album, Degradation Trip, released two months after Staley's death, to his memory. He also adopted Staley's cat, a female siamese named Sadie, after his death. The cat appeared on Cantrell's episode of MTV Cribs, which was shot at his ranch in Oklahoma in September 2002. Sadie died on the same night of Alice in Chains' concert in Seattle on October 8, 2010, aged 18.
Cantrell is critical of religionand Young Earth Creationism, satirizing them both in Alice In Chains' 2013 Album, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here . Cantrell stated, "There are two things you never want to get into a conversation or argument about: politics and religion. But fuck, I guess we're going to be talking about this for awhile". "No one in the band claims to be an expert on religion, but the title of the song [The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here] comes from something that a lot of people actually believe in". Cantrell also stated that he's sick of the hypocrisy that's taken over many facets of organized religion. "I think there’s overwhelming evidence that things aren’t working right now. We need to start growing up as a people. When you’re teaching people that being gay is a mortal sin, yet a good portion of the people teaching this are fucking kids, there’s a huge problem".
During his independent tour for Degradation Trip before the album was released, Cantrell broke his left hand while playing football after a concert at the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2001.While Cantrell was running full speed, his guitar player at the time, Bryan Kehoe, was also running full speed towards him and Cantrell got his pinky finger caught in Kehoe's T-shirt sleeve. Cantrell went to the emergency room but they could not do anything for him there, since the bone had slipped back in his hand and he would need a reconstructive surgery, but he had to wait for a couple of weeks for that to happen. Cantrell wanted to continue the tour, and although he was in a lot of pain, he played his first concert as a frontman without a guitar opening for Cheap Trick in Atlanta. Cantrell needed a Titanium plate and four screws to put the bones back together. Cantrell told that breaking his hand was the worst physical pain he ever had. The injury caused the remainder of Cantrell's solo tour to be postponed. His first concert after the surgery was at the Key Club in West Hollywood on July 1, 2001.
Cantrell underwent shoulder surgery twice. In December 2005, a surgery in his left shoulder removed bone fragments and repaired cartilage.During a chat at ESPN.com on November 29, 2011, Cantrell revealed that he had gone through another surgery earlier that year, this time in his right shoulder and that he was in the tail end of the rehabilitation process. The surgery postponed the recording sessions of The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here as Cantrell could not play guitar for eight months while he was recovering. Cantrell explained the surgery saying, "The thing that set me back is I had some bone spurs [and] cartilage issues in my shoulders. I had the same issue in the other shoulder about six years ago so I've had them both done now. It's a repetitive motion injury from playing." While recuperating at home in a sling, Cantrell heard a riff in his head and sang it into his phone. The riff later became the song "Stone", the first single from The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here.
Cantrell is a recovering addict and alcoholic and has been sober since 2003.He was awarded the 2012 Stevie Ray Vaughan Award from MusiCares, for his work helping other addicts with the recovery process. Cantrell said in his acceptance speech, "I crash landed here almost 9 years ago, in Los Angeles. Sean [Kinney] was at the door with my brother, so my choices were open the door and go to rehab or jump out the back window down a cliff into some black berry bushes. That’s the choice I took. Luckily they caught me because I couldn’t go anywhere, I was kind of stuck in a bush at the bottom of a cliff bleeding, and I ended up here. I didn’t intend to get here but I’m very grateful I am here, and it took a lot of people to help me get here. It's been an amazing day. It's overwhelming. I'm as imperfect as they come. I just don't get high today and wake up the next morning and try and do the same thing. A lot of people stand and get the fuck back up after falling. Some people don't get that chance. My band's been a harsh example of that – what happens when you don't deal with it." Cantrell and his Alice in Chains bandmates played a five-song set at the awards event and Cantrell stated, "We really miss Layne [Staley] and Mike [Starr], and we carry them with us in our hearts".
Cantrell is a longtime supporter of MusiCares MAP Fund,which helps musicians who are struggling with addiction, financial and health issues. He also supports Road Recovery, an organization dedicated to helping young people battling addiction.
On April 12, 2004, Cantrell and his then-band Cardboard Vampyres performed at a benefit concert for Sweet Relief, a nonprofit organization that helps needy musicians cover medical expenses.On November 10, 2004, Cantrell was among the musicians who performed a short acoustic set to benefit Help The Homeless in Hollywood, California.
In 2007, Cantrell auctioned off some of his favorite clothes from key moments in his career to benefit MusiCares and the Layne Staley Fund,which provides support and treatment for heroin recovery in the Seattle music community.
Since 2009, Cantrell hosts the Alice in Chains & Friends Charity Fantasy Football League. Each participant puts up an item for an online auction and all of the proceeds goes to the charity chosen by the champion of the league.Cantrell founded the league to combine his love of fantasy football with the goal of helping a worthy cause. Cantrell won the league for the first time in 2016, and in 2017 he decided to donate the proceeds to MusiCares in Chris Cornell's memory, and to Music for Relief in memory of Chester Bennington. Both musicians died in 2017. In 2018, Cantrell named the league's trophy after his friend Vinnie Paul, who had died recently.
On May 15, 2015, Cantrell performed at the second annual Acoustic-4-A-Cure concert in benefit of the Pediatric Cancer Program at the University of California, San Francisco.
Cantrell is a supporter of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and has performed at benefit concerts and charity golf tournaments to raise funds for the hospital that treats children with cancer.
Cantrell and his Alice in Chains bandmates offer special seating at their concerts for veterans from Operation Ward 57, a fund for wounded soldiers.
In 2015, Alice in Chains donated two dollars from every pre-sold ticket of their summer tour to help the family of a fan named Stefan Dayne-Ankle, who passed away after a battle with leukemia.
Cantrell also supports Music for ReliefAutism Speaks, Rock Against MS Foundation, and the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation.
|1995||The Nona Tapes||Nona Weisbaum||Short film|
|1996||Jerry Maguire||Jesus of CopyMat|
|2013||AIC 23||Donnie "Skeeter" Dollarhide Jr.||Short film|
|2018||Dad Band||Terry||Short film|
|Year||Album details||Chart positions|
| US || AUS || CAN || NZ |
|2002|| Degradation Trip ||33||34||35||36|
| Degradation Trip Volumes 1 & 2 ||—||—||—||—|
|"—" denotes a release that did not chart.|
|1996||"Leave Me Alone"||—||14||The Cable Guy soundtrack|
|1998||"Cut You In"||15||5||Boggy Depot|
|2002||"Anger Rising"||—||10||Degradation Trip|
|2017||"A Job To Do"||—||—||John Wick: Chapter 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)|
|2018||"Setting Sun"||—||—||Dark Nights: Metal Soundtrack|
|"—" denotes a release that did not chart.|
Layne Thomas Staley was an American musician known for his role as lead singer and co-songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains from 1987 until 1998. The band rose to international fame in the early 1990s during Seattle's grunge movement, and became known for Staley's distinct vocal style, as well as the harmonized vocals between him and guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell.
"Man in the Box" is a song by the American rock band Alice in Chains. It was released as a single in January 1991 after being featured on the group's debut studio album Facelift (1990). The song was included on the compilation albums Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999), Music Bank (1999), Greatest Hits (2001), and The Essential Alice in Chains (2006).
Sean Howard Kinney is an American musician, best known for being the drummer and co-founder of the rock band Alice in Chains. Kinney also founded the short-lived supergroup Spys4Darwin, and has collaborated with Johnny Cash, Metallica, and played drums for his Alice in Chains bandmate Jerry Cantrell's first solo album, Boggy Depot (1998).
"Down in a Hole" is a power ballad by Alice in Chains, and the fifth and last single from their album Dirt (1992). It is the twelfth song on most pressings of the album and fourth or eleventh on others. The song was written by guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell for his then-girlfriend, Courtney Clarke. The single spent 21 weeks on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks and peaked at No. 10. The song was included on the compilation albums Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999) and Music Bank (1999). An acoustic version performed on Alice in Chains' MTV Unplugged in 1996 was released in a live album and DVD.
Mike Inez is an American rock musician best known for his role as the bassist of Alice in Chains since 1993. He is also recognized for his work with Ozzy Osbourne from 1989-1993. Inez has also associated with Slash's Snakepit, Black Label Society, and Heart. He is of Filipino descent.
"No Excuses" is the lead single from American rock band Alice in Chains' third EP, Jar of Flies (1994). The song was well received by music critics and was a charting success, becoming the first Alice in Chains song to reach No. 1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks, and spending 26 weeks on the chart. It has gone on to become one of the band's most popular and well-known songs. The song was included on the compilation albums Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999), Music Bank (1999), Greatest Hits (2001), and The Essential Alice in Chains (2006).
William Bradley DuVall is an American musician, best known as the current co-lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the rock band Alice in Chains. DuVall joined Alice in Chains in 2006, replacing the band's original lead singer Layne Staley, who died in 2002, and sharing vocal duties with guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell. To date, DuVall has recorded three albums with the band, 2009's Black Gives Way to Blue, 2013's The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, and 2018's Rainier Fog.
"Get Born Again" is a song by the American rock band Alice in Chains and, along with "Died", one of the last two songs recorded with vocalist Layne Staley before his death in 2002. The song was released as the lead single from the compilation Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999) on June 1, 1999. It peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and at No. 12 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. "Get Born Again" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2000. The song was also included on the compilation albums Music Bank (1999) and The Essential Alice in Chains (2006).
"Nutshell" is a song by Alice in Chains that originally appeared on the band's 1994 extended play Jar of Flies. "Nutshell" is also known for having opened the band's performance on MTV Unplugged in 1996. This rendition of the song was included on the compilation album Music Bank (1999), as well as The Essential Alice in Chains (2006).
Black Gives Way to Blue is the fourth studio album by the American rock band Alice in Chains, released on September 29, 2009. It is their first record without singer Layne Staley, who died in 2002. It instead features new vocalist and rhythm guitarist William DuVall sharing vocal duties with lead guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell, who sings lead vocals on most of the songs. It is the first Alice in Chains album released on Virgin Records and their first venture away from Columbia, who handled all of their previous releases. The album debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, and was certified gold by the RIAA on May 26, 2010, with shipments exceeding 500,000 copies and has sold 1 million copies worldwide. The singles "Check My Brain" and "Your Decision" reached No. 1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks, while "Lesson Learned" reached No. 4 and "A Looking in View" peaked at No. 12. "Check My Brain" was also the band's first #1 song on the Alternative Songs chart, and on the Hot Rock Songs chart, and it also reached No. 92 on Billboard's Hot 100, becoming the band's first single to appear on the chart. "Check My Brain" and "A Looking in View" were both nominated for the Grammy Award for "Best Hard Rock Performance".
Nick Pollock is a Seattle-based singer, guitarist, and songwriter best known for his work with the grunge band My Sister's Machine. He has also played in various bands with other notable musicians, including Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley and Queensrÿche guitarist Michael Wilton. He graduated from Lindbergh High School in 1986.
"Brother" is a song by the American rock band Alice in Chains and the opening track on their 1992 acoustic EP Sap. The song was written by guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell for his younger brother, David. Cantrell sings lead vocals in the song, while Heart lead singer Ann Wilson sings backing vocals. An acoustic version performed on Alice in Chains' MTV Unplugged in 1996 was released in a live album and DVD. The song was included on the compilation albums Music Bank (1999) and The Essential Alice in Chains (2006).
"Black Gives Way to Blue" is a song by American rock band Alice in Chains, and the last track on their 2009 studio album of the same name. Written and sung by guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell, it features Elton John on piano. The song is a tribute to the band's late lead singer, Layne Staley, who died in 2002. A piano mix of the song is a bonus track on iTunes. The lyrics to "Black Gives Way to Blue" are printed on the base plate of Jerry Cantrell's signature Cry Baby Wah-Wah pedal.
"Sunshine" is a song by the American rock band Alice in Chains and the eighth track on their debut album Facelift (1990). The song was written by guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell as a tribute to his mother Gloria, who died in 1987.
"So Far Under" is a song by the American rock band Alice in Chains and the second single from the band's sixth studio album, Rainier Fog, released on August 24, 2018. The single was released via YouTube, streaming and digital download on June 27, 2018. The lyrics were written by Alice In Chains' co-lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist William DuVall, who also played the guitar solo in the song.
Rainier Fog is the sixth studio album by the American rock band Alice in Chains, released on August 24, 2018, through BMG, the band's first release on the label. The title was inspired by Mount Rainier, a volcano that overlooks the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area, and the title track is a tribute to the Seattle music scene. This is the band's third album with William DuVall sharing lead vocals with Jerry Cantrell, and the first Alice in Chains album in 22 years to be recorded in their hometown of Seattle. The album was partially recorded at Seattle's Studio X, the same studio where the band recorded their 1995 self-titled album. Rainier Fog is also Alice in Chains' third collaboration with producer Nick Raskulinecz, marking their first time recording three full-length albums with the same producer.
"Never Fade" is a song by the American rock band Alice in Chains and the third single from the band's sixth studio album, Rainier Fog, released on August 24, 2018. The song was written by vocalists/guitarists Jerry Cantrell and William DuVall, who also share lead vocals, with DuVall singing the verses and the pre-chorus, while Cantrell sings the chorus. "Never Fade" is a tribute to DuVall's grandmother, Soundgarden lead vocalist Chris Cornell, and Alice in Chains' original lead singer Layne Staley. The song was released as a single on August 10, 2018 via YouTube, streaming and digital download. "Never Fade" peaked at No. 10 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart.