Jerry Cantrell Home | Tour | News | History | Photos | Audio | Video | Lyrics | Articles | Links

Portrait of a Rock God


The Basics
Name: Jerry Fulton Cantrell
Birthdate: March 18, 1966
Birth Place: Tacoma, Washington
Height: 6'1"
Hair: Blond
Eyes: Blue
Plays: Right-handed
Influences: KISS, AC/DC,
Ted Nugent and Black Sabbath
Pictures of Jerry

Most of Jerry's childhood was without his father Jerry Cantrell Sr. because of his duty to fight in Vietnam. Jerry later dedicates the song "Rooster" after his father and after that the two have become much closer.

Jerry started playing when he was about 13. He started off in many small bands in Seattle. He then got to know Mike Starr (former Alice In Chains bassist). Starr introduced him to Sean Kinney, who at the time was dating Starr's sister. One night at a party he met Layne (who was in the glam band Alice N' Chains) and decided to start a band. In 1987, Alice In Chains were born. Jerry started out as the main songwriter for AIC during the time of We Die Young and Facelift. Around this time, Jerry's mother, lover of music and pianist, dies.

Around the time of Jar of Flies, when Jerry was then considered an all-around great guitarist, power fails at his house. Jerry is then trapped in his house when his electric garage door opener fails to open. He nearly starves to death when his electric can opener also doesn't work! He then writes 20 new songs. He is later saved by Ski Patrol. (Truth or decide!)

Jerry's first solo effort "Leave Me Alone" appeared on the Cable Guy Soundtrack. He played the Copy Machine Guy in "Jerry Maguire". Jerry has recently finished a solo club tour with followed a tour with Metallica, promoting his solo album "Boggy Depot"

(From Columbia Records Boggy Depot site) "After making five platinum and multi-platinum albums with Alice In Chains, guitarist/songwriter Jerry Cantrell is taking a temporary break from the band and releasing Boggy Depot, his eagerly-awaited debut solo album on Columbia Records. Named for the area of Oklahoma where Cantrell's father, Jerry, Sr., (aka "the Rooster") grew up, Boggy Depot features 12 new compositions penned by the man who's written many of Alice In Chains' most memorable radio hits...Boggy Depot is in stores. In addition to writing the all the songs on Boggy Depot, Jerry Cantrell plays guitar and piano and sings on the album."

Jerry started touring again in early 2001 and will release a second solo album "Degredation Trip" on June 18, 2002.

Jerry's equipment includes: an Alesis box for reverbs and delays, a Dunlop Rotovibe and Crybaby, an Eventide harmonizer and occasional chorus/flanger effects. He has four white G&L Rampage guitars fitted with Seymor Duncan Jeff Beck signature pickups, but he also uses Gibson Les Pauls, preferably a black Custom and a seventies Standard Goldtop. His amplification is a Bogner Fist preamp, Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifiers and Marshalls, all run through Marshall 4x12" cabs fitted with Celestion 25 W "Greenback" speakers

Guitars: G&L Rampage, G&L ASAT, Gibson Les Pauls, Ernie Ball Music Man, Custom Fender Style, Danelectro Baritone, Guild Acoustic
Amps: Bogner Fish Preamp, Shark, Bogner Shiva, Peavey 5150, Marshall, Soldano, Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier, Fender, Marshall Cabinets
Rack: Eventide Harmonizer, Alesis Intelliverb, BBE Sonic Maximzer, MosValve Poweramp
Misc: Dunlop Crybaby, Dunlop Rotovibe, Boss TU-2 Tuner, Big Muff, Pro Co Rat, Dean Markley Strings

Gear information culled from Guitar World articles:
A pair of distinctive G&L axes - the creatively decorated ASAT and Rampage - along with a healty arsenal of Gibson Les Pauls made up the rocker's six-string arsenal on his recent sojourn with the Jerry Cantrell Band.
Cantrell's rack includes a pair of Bogner Fish preamps feeding a pair of Mesa Simul-Class 2 Ninety power amps (the duplication is for backup purposes), plus a pair of Rocktron RPS Intelliverbs and a BBE 462 Sonic Maximizer.
Floor effects include a couple of well-worn wah pedals. Less glamorous, but equally important, tools include wireless systems by Nady and Samson, a Furman line conditioner, and a Digital Music Corp. Ground Control GCX switcher with foot controller. Cantrell's metallic grunge is then fed to a bank of Marshall cabinets.

Gear information culled from Guitar One article:
I used everything in the studio. I had a really great experience in the studio. Actually, for amps I used the Bogner Fish before and the Shark, which is a preamp and a power amp, but what I'm using now is just a straight head, the Bogner Shiva. I use those heads almost exclusively on this record. It's a little smaller than a regular head. I was very cocky about my sound, so I was like, "Well, this is what I use, I use these." My engineer, Jeff Tomei, said, "Man, you gotta try this amp out, it's really cool." I like all Bogner amps pretty much, but I've got my thing, which I thought was my sound, and really, your sound is in your hands anyway. It really doesn't matter what you play through. So, I ended up blowing out my amp about five or six songs in, and then I had to use this amp. But after I used it, I went back and re-recorded all of my tracks. It's so good, and that's what I'm using live, the Bogner Shiva.

In the studio, we probably used about 40 or 50 guitars. And I was lucky enough to have a guitar tech who works out of L.A. and also has a vintage guitar and equipment rental company, so basically, I had his store in the studio. So there where guitars and amps lined up everywhere. I mean, you name it, we used it. I've always been into layering sound and layering tracks and different guitars and stuff. We made full use of about every parameter or every combination of guitar and amp that you could thing of on this album. And because it's such a big record, we tried to make the songs as individual as possible. We really listened to what the songs needed, instead of what you think the song needs. That's the trick.

Guitars: Cantrell owns four G&L Rampages, each equipped with a singles Seymoue Duncan Jeff Beck pickup in the bridge position and a Kahler tremolo. About his penchant for these guitars, he says, "When I picked up my first Rampage, it was the most comfortable thing I'd ever played. I'm not sure what the body is made of; I think it's alder. It's also got ebony fretboard and a hard rock maple neck.
"The stickers on my main Rampage came from KISW, a Seattle radio station that was always my main conduit to rock music. I cut the word 'rock' out of three KISW stickers and stuck them on the middle of the guitar. I did this when I was 18 or 19, so they've really been there for a while. The sticker of the naked girl is a different story. I cut her out of a Oui magazine, I think."
Cantrell's other guitars include an Earnie Ball Music Man Van Halen signature model that was a gift from Eddie himself, and a variety of Fender Strats and Teles. Lately he's been playing Les Pauls frequently, including black and white Les Paul Customs, a '52 goldtop, a Seventies goldtop Standard and a Les Paul Junior that he bought from Heart's Nancy Wilson. To record his acoustic parts on Jar Of Flies, Cantrell borrowed a Guild acoustic from Mike Inez.
Strings & picks: Dean Markley Custom strings, .009-.046, black Jim Dunlop Tortex picks. "I used to use the purple Tortex picks," says Cantrell, "whick are the heaviest, but now I use the black ones, which are the next to the heaviest. I've eased up in my old age!"
Amplifiers: In the early Nineties, Cantrell's amp rig consisted of a Bogner Fish preamp running through a Tubeworks MosValve 500 power amp. After Alice In Chains toured with Van Halen in 1992, Eddie gave Jerry several Peavey 5150 stacks, which have remained part of his backline since then. "The 5150s ended up taking the place of the Mesa Dual Rectifiers that we used on Dirt, which were there to back up the sound of Bogner," says Cantrell, "The 5150 is fatter and nastier, and a little bit more out-of-control kind of tone."
Cantrell records with a variety of amps in the studio, his favorites including Mesa Dual Rectifiers and various Marshalls, Fenders and Soldanos. For his clean electric and amplified "acoustic" parts on Jar Of Flies, Jerry plugged his guitar into a Sixties Fender Twin Reverb. On stage he plays thorugh eight 4x12 Marshall speaker cabinets equipped with Celestion 30-watt Vintage and 25-watt Greenback speakers.
Effects: Alesis Intelliverb digital reverb unit, an Eventide Harmonizer, a Dunlop Crybaby wah from playing songs like "Man in the Box." For his solo album Boggy Depot, Cantrell experimented with several distortion stomp boxes including ProCo Raat and a vintage Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi. Cantrell's wirelles unit is a Sony WR-820 model.

(for more quotes/interview clips, see the audio/video page)