Gibson TV, the iconic, American-made guitar maker's first-ever, award-winning, worldwide online network, features original series from the world's best storytellers. Gibson TV has premiered the third episode of the new series titled "Icons", a longform interview series featuring some of the most iconic artists, producers and music business pioneers in the world.
In the new episode of "Icons" out today, Gibson TV sits down with one of the most iconic rock musicians of our generation, Jerry Cantrell to learn about his early years in Spanaway, Washington and the birth of the Seattle sound. The show takes a deep dive into his 30-plus year career in music as the guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter of ALICE IN CHAINS, and as a solo artist.
Cantrell's career outside of ALICE IN CHAINS has consisted of two solo albums and contributions to major film soundtracks. Jerry's first solo album, "Boggy Depot", was released in 1998, followed by his second album, "Degradation Trip" (2002). In addition to his solo artist work, Cantrell has released music on soundtracks for several films, including "Spider-Man", "The Cable Guy", "John Wick 2", "Last Action Hero" and "The Punisher".
Earlier this year, Cantrell returned to the studio to continue working on a new solo album. The upcoming effort will mark his first full-length release since "Degradation Trip", the epic solo album he made in 2002 with future METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo and FAITH NO MORE drummer Mike Bordin.
Cantrell discussed his plans to record and release new solo music during a pair of interviews he gave in January. While chatting with Gibson about his new collaboration with the guitar maker, Cantrell touched upon his solo activity, saying: "There's gonna be some cool things happening this year. I've already done a couple of shows in L.A. in December with a great group of friends. My friend helped me put together a really cool group of people, and we did a couple of solo shows.
"I've been in this band, in ALICE IN CHAINS, since 1987, so 33 years. And that's always been my first love and my commitment, but I did have the opportunity to make a couple of solo records, and since we started the band back up, I really didn't have the opportunity to revisit that," he continued.
"[ALICE IN CHAINS] just finished touring in September off of 'Rainier Fog', and we generally take about a year off when we're done touring anyway — just give it a rest for a second and then get it reinvigorated and focus on what's new. So we're gonna take a year off, so I thought I'd maybe do some shows and I'm working on some music as well. And there's gonna be some exciting things. I don't wanna say just yet what's happening, but I can tell you that there's gonna be some cool shit happening this year."
In a separate interview with People TV on the red carpet of the MusiCares benefit honoring AEROSMITH, Cantrell said that he tries to stay away from listening to other artists while putting together new material. "I'm working on a new record myself, so, generally, when I'm in that sort of a mode, I pretty much don't listen to anything until I'm done, so nothing creeps in there," he explained.
"I did a couple of shows December 7th and 6th at The Pico Union Project in L.A. with some friends, and I got to play some of my material from my solo records.
"When I'm with ALICE, I'm with ALICE, and that takes the majority of my time. This year, we're taking a little time off, so... If you liked any of the solo work that I did or the work with ALICE, I'm sure you might like some of this stuff too."
Back in 2018, Cantrell told Billboard that he wasn't in good headspace when he made "Degradation Trip". "I was just really fucked up back then, to be honest with you, and you can totally hear it on that record," he said. "It was done right before I got sober, and it was also done right when I was dealing with the death of my band, and then the unhappy coincidence of Layne [Staley, ALICE IN CHAINS frontman] passing away right after I released that record. So it was not a good time in my life, and it totally comes across on that record."
Cantrell added: "It's a record I don't listen to a lot anymore because of all those things I mentioned," revealing that he got sober a year after it was recorded. He continued: "But it's a record that's important to me, and I'll see Robert and Mike every once in a while and they're like, 'We should do some fucking shows, man. Some 'Degradation Trip' shows.' [Laughs] I tell 'em we'll do it someday."
ALICE IN CHAINS regrouped in 2006 with William DuVall joining the band, and released its third LP with DuVall in the lineup, "Rainier Fog", in August 2018.