Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr.
(born March 18
) is an American guitarist
, and songwriter
best known for his work with the grunge
band Alice in Chains
, as guitarist
. He performs lead vocals
on his solo projects, and was part of Alice in Chains' harmonizing dual-vocal style. He currently resides in Los Angeles
and spends time on his family ranch in Oklahoma
Alice in Chains
Jerry Cantrell would serve in Alice in Chains as the lead guitarist, co-lyricist, co-vocalist and main composer, until the group's near-permanent hiatus in the late 1990s due to lead singer Layne Staley
's drug problems.
Since Staley's death in 2002, the band has reformed with its surviving members. Beginning in 2005, Cantrell has joined Alice in Chains in a number of performances featuring singers such as Maynard James Keenan, Mark Lanegan, James Hetfield, Phil Anselmo, and William DuVall. Although he acknowledges the benefits of working as a solo artist, Cantrell has expressed his happiness with being back in the band culture.
Cantrell's career outside Alice in Chains has consisted of three solo albums, as well as many appearances with other musicians and on film soundtracks.
Following his tenure with Alice in Chains, Cantrell released the song "Leave Me Alone," featured on the Cable Guy
soundtrack in 1996 featuring Alice in Chains drummer Sean Kinney
and bassist Les Claypool
. Boggy Depot
contains several odd time signatures, something Cantrell is well known for.
In June 2002, Cantrell issued his second album Degradation Trip with Ozzy Osbourne's then live rhythm section, Faith No More's Mike Bordin (drums) and Robert Trujillo (bass); it was followed in November of that year by a re-release as a double album on the same label, featuring eleven additional tracks. The release of Degradation Trip was soon after Staley's death, and the album is dedicated to him. The "She Was My Girl" was also included on the soundtrack for the 2002 film Spider-Man.
Cantrell said of the experience of writing Degradation Trip:
- "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."
He is rumoured to have been working on his third full solo album for quite some time, and this album was to have been released in 2006, but subsequent work with the revamped Alice in Chains may have stalled the release of that record.
Cantrell has appeared as guest guitarist on several albums and projects, including the Danzig
and the Metallica
album Garage Inc.
He also guested on Circus of Power
's album Magic & Madness
in 1993 for the song "Heaven 'N Hell". In early 2004, Jerry Cantrell collaborated with The Cult
guitarist Billy Duffy
to form the rock supergroup, Cardboard Vampyres
. The group performed mostly cover songs at several venues across the nation (but mostly the west coast), and continues to exist, though no formal albums have been released.
In 2002, Cantrell played a series of summer dates with alternative rock band Nickelback. The tour kicked off May 13, 2002. Cantrell can be seen playing "It Ain't Like That" with the band on their first DVD release, Live at Home. Cantrell 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 is featured in the movie Singles
along with the rest of Alice in Chains performing the songs "It Ain't Like That" and "Would?
". He is also featured as an actor in the movie Jerry Maguire
. He also wrote the song "Leave Me Alone" for the 1996 dark comedy The Cable Guy
, which can be found on that movie's 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
. That song can be found on that movie's soundtrack, and as a bonus track on the Japanese version of the Damageplan
album New Found Power
. 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.
Cantrell is known to prefer G&L and Dean Guitars, as well as Gibson Les Pauls. He is currently working with Dean to design a signature model that will be based on his Les Pauls. Recently, he has been using two prototype Deans on tour.
He is also said to be working on a signature amp with Bogner, whose amps he has used for a long time. His collection includes the extremely rare Fish Pre-amp responsible for many of the famous Alice in Chains sounds, as well as the Shiva and Ecstasy models. He also has a Peavey 5150 head that was given to him by Eddie Van Halen.
Cantrell recorded all of the demo tracks for his album Degradation Trip at his Seattle home using a four-track recorder and his white Les Paul.
In July 2006, British hard rock magazine Metal Hammer
awarded Cantrell the title of Riff Lord, at its annual Golden Gods Awards show, held last year at the London Astoria
. He was apparently thrilled at winning the title, over several famous artists such as Slash
, James Hetfield
, and Jimmy Page
Cantrell's father, Jerry Sr., is a combat veteran
of the Vietnam War
. He was the main subject in the song "Rooster
" which Cantrell wrote as a tribute to his father. His mother Gloria died in 1990, the very same year that his close friend Andrew Wood
(of Mother Love Bone
) died, leading Jerry to pen the song "Would?
" for AIC's second album Dirt
in Wood's memory. He also dedicated AIC's debut album Facelift
to his late mother. An ex-girlfriend of Cantrell's has been the main subject of many Alice in Chains songs written by Cantrell.
Cantrell's Oklahoma ranch was featured on the 34th episode of MTV Cribs.
With Alice in Chains
With Ozzy Osbourne