Jerry Cantrell Says ‘There Really Isn’t A Difference’ Between His Songwriting Approach For Alice In Chains And His Solo Albums
ALICE IN CHAINS guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell, who is promoting his upcoming solo album, “Brighten”, was asked in a new interview with Andy Hall of the Des Moines, Iowa radio station Lazer 103.3 if he approaches writing music for AIC differently from the way he goes about composing for his solo LPs. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “No, there really isn’t a difference. I’ve developed a style and a way that I write and that I sound, and that is pretty intact in either venue. I’m always kind of collecting ideas, and before I ever get together with ALICE to record stuff, I just feel better knowing that I’m walking into the room with the guys with a whole group of really good songs — complete songs or really worked up, almost-together songs — to be able to throw at the guys and see what they dig. The process for me is the same. The only difference is the players that I’m playing and recording with. In the case of ALICE, those guys I can always count, they’re gonna take any idea that I have and they’re gonna make it that much better; they’re gonna inject themselves into it and elevate it. And when you’re working outside of the band — I’ve been fortunate enough on ‘Boggy Depot’, ‘Degradation Trip’ and this record to play with some amazing musicians who are heroes of mine and also friends of mine, and you can count on that as well — they’re gonna inject themselves into it and elevate the piece of music further than you could on your own. So, it’s really just who you’re playing with. If ALICE had recorded any of these songs, it would be an ALICE IN CHAINS song, but I recorded it with other folks, and so it’s under my banner. Luckily, we [ALICE IN CHAINS] haven’t run out of ideas and we are a creative bunch of guys and we can always rely on the fact that we’re gonna make records.”
He continued: “I think that making records outside of the band that you’re kind of associated and known with is a healthy thing; we’ve all done it. Layne [Staley] did MAD SEASON with [Mike] McCready and [Mark] Lanegan and others. Sean [Kinney] and Mike [Inez] both did a [SPYS4DARWIN] record with Vinnie [Dombroski] from SPONGE and Chris DeGarmo [QUEENSRŸCHE]. Mike‘s done work with HEART and Zakk Wylde. I’ve done records on my own with a bunch of really cool people, from FISHBONE to PRIMUS to Paul McCartney to THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN. [Robert] Trujillo and [Mike] Bordin as well on ‘Degradation Trip’. It’s a healthy thing. There’s nothing wrong with it. And William DuVall — William has put out a couple of records in this time too, with GTO [GIRAFFE TONGUE ORCHESTRA] and a solo record that he put out before the pandemic as well.”
“Brighten” will be released on October 29. The LP was co-produced by Jerry over the past year with film composer Tyler Bates and Cantrell‘s longtime engineer Paul Figueroa. They welcomed a dynamic cast of supporting players, including drummers Gil Sharone and Abe Laboriel, Jr. (Paul McCartney), pedal steel master Michael Rozon, Vincent Jones on piano, Wurlitzer, and organ. Other rock legends added to the fun of this LP, including Duff McKagan (GUNS N’ ROSES) on select bass tracks, Greg Puciato (THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN) handling all of the background vocals and Joe Barresi (TOOL, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE) overseeing the mixing of “Brighten”. Together, they recorded eight originals and the LP closes with an approved-by-Elton John cover of his classic “Goodbye” as the finale.
Jerry‘s career outside of ALICE IN CHAINS has consisted of two solo albums and contributions to major film soundtracks. Cantrell‘s first solo album, “Boggy Depot”, was released in 1998, followed by his second album, the aforementioned “Degradation Trip”. In addition to his solo artist work, Jerry has released music on soundtracks for several films, including “Spider-Man”, “The Cable Guy”, “John Wick 2”, “Last Action Hero” and “The Punisher”.
ALICE IN CHAINS regrouped in 2006 with DuVall joining the band, and released its third LP with DuVall in the lineup, “Rainier Fog”, in August 2018.
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