Jerry Cantrell

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About Jerry Cantrell

Jerry Cantrell has been the steadfast engine behind some of rock’s darkest and heaviest moments since debuting with Alice In Chains in 1990. Born in Tacoma, Washington, in 1966, the lead guitarist, main songwriter, and co-vocalist for one of Seattle’s most menacing grunge exports has long channeled his pain into music that sears—through sludgy, bendy guitar riffs; raw, nihilistic poetry; and a haunting voice that lingers. While the band experienced massive success throughout the ‘90s, internal struggles—largely fueled by lead vocalist Layne Staley’s drug use—spurred Cantrell to work on his own material, resulting in his 1998 solo debut, Boggy Depot. The album highlighted his heavy-metal roots, with touches of organ and piano, but it wasn’t nearly as mired in doom as his follow-up, 2002’s Degradation Trip, Vols. 1 & 2, which was released shortly after Staley’s death. “I was in so much pain,” he told Apple Music about that recording process. “I just wanted to scream and spill all that pain on the page.” He continues to channel that emotional intensity into hard, visceral rock, mostly through a revived Alice In Chains (with William DuVall on lead vocals) and eventually on his own again with 2021’s Americana-dusted Brighten.

Tacoma, WA, United States
March 18, 1966
Hard Rock
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