Name: Jerry Fulton Cantrell
Birthdate: March 18, 1966
Birth Place: Tacoma, Washington
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 fiction..you 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
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)
- From 2001 tour dates:
- "Everybody in the Seattle scene wears Cross Your Heart bras, so there's a lot of support."
- "Another cool song from that demo for the Crowe movie ('Singles'). Thinking about it now, that was a fruitful tape! We got 'Would?' for the movie, part of SAP and we got started on the DIRT, so the tune itself was a good song, but we were just turning to the height of our blackness." (From interview about "Music Bank")
- "I grew up on Willie Nelson. To even meet an Outlaw, let alone record a song of Willie's was a thrill" (On his involvement on Twisted Willie)
- "I believe the Internet is inherently evil."
- "I never say die, man."
- "It was just bizarre...Everytime I was in a situation where sex was about to happen, I either wouldn't have a condom, or I'd get busted by a father and have to jump from a fucking 2nd story window, or I'd get busted by the cops in the park! I thought I was never gonna get laid!"
- "I never met Scott, so I haven't sized him up, but I could probably take him. I'd have to give the win to [Chris Cornell] should we ever duke it out. He's bigger and rowdier than me." (Jerry on Scott Weiland)
- "...and make sure the tape is always rolling. We had tape running constantly. Even if we didn't have two-inch tape running, we had DAT's running constantly. We have so many DAT's of so much shit that didn't get used; we have bibles full of outtakes! Maybe we'll release some of the stuff some day. When I was a kid, I always liked outtake records and bootlegs where you could hear little fuck-ups and the guys in the bands talking between the tunes. I though that was the coolest stuff; it let you in on their vibe."
- "My dad was trained to be a fucking killer. After that you can't just come home one day and say, 'OK, Everything's cool. I'm going to work 9 to 5 now.' That shit scars you forever. We had a lot of problems and occurances about that." (about his parents divorce)
- "Jerry's a very complex person. He's very guarded of himself and especially of those whom he cares about. It's very hard because he has so many different sides to him, and it just depends on what side you get in the morning. I never, ever thought he would be as big as he is today. I thought he would be working for safeway or at a video place or something" (Cheri Cantrell, his sister)
- "He's a lot like me. There's always something going on in his head. In terms of mood swings we're both like a VU meter, bouncing back and forth between being really happy and and being an asshole and being really into something or not." (Lars Ulrich, Metallica)
- "It's not Alice In Chains without Layne, it's really that simple."
- "And when power ballads come back, we'll get big hair again."
- "Rehearsals and this band [Alice in Chains] are two words that don't really go together, kinda like 'military intelligence'..."
- "Our music is about taking something ugly and making it beautiful."
- "That's how you become great, man. Hang your balls out there." (Jerry's one line in "Jerry Maguire")
- "I've never been a big soloist; I just put in what needs to be there. I'm more of a rhythm player who plays lead - or tries to play lead. I'm not saying I do bad shit, but I just do what fits the part. I'm more interested in what the whole picture is instead of creating a big vehicle for Cantrell to wank off all over everybody."
- "Its real intimidating, too, for myself, working behind a guy like Layne, you know, he's the fuckin' king. You just don't touch the motherfucker. He's a bad-ass."
- "Rock 'n Roll is just bastardized blues, anyway."
- "Fuck you and thank you . . ."
- "We're the kind of band that has always been able to do the opposite of what people expect."
- "...We kinda do that with Mike Inez, you know, he's our hair farmer. When we start going bald and getting fat, we can take transplants out of his head. See? We thought ahead before we got him in the band."
- "Uh...sure. Hi Chris! Yes, of course!" (when asked if Soundgarden was the most exciting band he's ever seen live)
- "The best part of it is playing...that's really what we wait to do all day."
- "The song, how it was written, even though you might feel different about it from day to day, all it basically is, is the expression of that particular state of mind about what you're singing about, just that thing. It's not about telling/setting an example for someone to live their life by...trying to send a message to somebody. It's just about a feeling and how that song feels. If you listen to it and you felt that, then it's done it's job. That's all it is, it's a fucking song. It's not a law or anything; it's not something that literal. It's just one person's, or in this case a few people's point of view."
- "A lot of bands really dig themselves into a hole by trying to do the same crap over and over. It might have been cool the first time, maybe even halfway the second time, and by the time you've done it for your third album, it's like jesus, somebody shoot these guys please."
- "We're gonna try to keep doing different things and having fun with it as long as we can."
- "The Jar Of Flies thing and the Sap EP, that we put out before, those were just fun things...that's the whole point: just being able to do whatever you want to do."
- "[Unplugged] is a show like any other show, with the band playing and people clapping and singing along and shit. I mean, that's what gets me going - that's why I do this."
- "There's a certain sense of loyalty in this band because we've been together for a long time. We're all talented and there are other things out there, so we don't stop each other from trying other things. The band can't be the only thing you do."
- "It's not my job to tell anyone else how to live. We treat each other in a way that says that we trust them and respect them. That's all you can do. I'm not gonna start watching over Layne at this point. Making music with this band means as much to him as it does to any of us. We know that. It's up to him to keep his life in order and make sure that music is his priority. If he can do that - and I think he can - then he'll be okay."
- "You should see us on the road sometime by the end of the road"
- "Who gives a fuck about people's personal lives whats hurting them..."
- "Somebody's filming my ass, it's getting hot!"
- "Get on your feet! I haven't seen this many people sitting on their asses since I took my niece to go see the Lion King!" (while opening for Metallica)
- "We're a rock and roll band for God's sakes, not a bunch of congressman who keep it in the closet."
- "You don't get all sunny days."
- "It's just that, at a later date, somebody changed thier mind. A little tweaking here and there, and it's like 'Oh, that's fucking great!' 'Well, that's what I was trying to tell you fucking eight years ago dickhead.'"
- "I guess...whatever...I like to be in touch with feminine insides" (When asked "Are you in touch with your feminine side?")
- "Ha! Thanks! But I see a pretty positive thread in it too. People would argue with me, but I see that in a lot of Alice's stuff, even though it's fucking dark ass...The positive side is...just the fact that you're still here, I guess." (After interviewer commented "Your lyrics are as miserable as ever.")
- "There's a lot of ways you can look at it, you know? it says a whole lot. And a lot of it we didn't even mean to say. You just kind of read into it late, you know. It's our third album. Three-legged guy. Three-legged dog. The old missing member rumor. But those are definitely secondary to what we came up with. We just came up with the idea. It was basically Sean who came up with the cover art. So that's where the dog came from. But all the other things we kind of figured out later. That was what was actually good about it. That it all came together like that. You can't plan something like that."
- "One of the first memories I have was my dad coming from Vietnam in his uniform when I was three years old, and my mom telling me that he was my dad."
- "The way I view it, the only way to find out what's going on in life is to go through it full force with your head down and to smack into a few walls on the way. That's the only way to learn. Then, hopefully, after a while, you figure out which one not to keep hitting."
- "We'd been going full force, just running at top speed with our eyes closed. We had been way too close for too long, and we were suffocating, We were like four plants trying to grow in the same pot."
- "It's really a blast revisiting that type of headspace, you know, 'cause it's really not about anything other than the pure joy of rockin' the tune, you know," he said. "And both of us have been very lucky, you know. We've put a lot of hard work to get where we've gotten with our respective bands, and sometimes when it gets to that level, it becomes quite a different thing. It's an all-encompassing thing that forces you to learn to wear many hats." (About Cardboard Vampyres project)
- Jerry: "luckily we were all pretty much 21 when we met. except for Layne. Layne couldn't even get into some of our gigs, man. he'd have to wait in the fucking parking lot sometimes."
Sean: "wait for us to start playing and then they'd let him in."
Jerry: "we'd all be in there drinking, getting shit-faced, and he'd be getting pissed. 'hey, can't get you in man.'"
Interviewer: because he was underage.
Jerry: "yeah. right. he could only be in there during the time he was working. so he'd come in, sing the gig, then go right back out in the freezing cold. that was fucked."