Jerry Cantrell may be known as the mastermind behind Alice in Chains, but his solo material deserves a lot of credit too, and the rocker says it’s “healthy” to make music outside of the band that you’re associated with.
The guitarist’s third album Brighten will be out in just over a month, and it’s his first solo endeavor since 2002’s Degradation Trip Volumes 1 & 2. Since then, he’s released three albums with Alice in Chains. Though he’s worked with a plethora of different musicians on his own records, he explained in a new interview with Lazer 103.3’s Andy Hall that his songwriting process is pretty much always the same.
“I’ve developed a style and a way that I write and that I sound, and that is pretty intact in either venue,” he remarked. “The process for me is the same. The only difference is the players that I’m playing and recording with. In the case of Alice, those guys I can always count, they’re gonna take any idea that I have and they’re gonna make it that much better — they’re gonna inject themselves into it and elevate it.”
“I’ve been fortunate enough on Boggy Depot, Degradation Trip and this record to play with some amazing musicians who are heroes of mine and also friends of mine, and you can count on that as well — they’re gonna inject themselves into it and elevate the piece of music further than you could on your own,” he continued.
Cantrell said that if he had worked on the songs with his bandmates in Alice in Chains, then they’d simply be Alice in Chains songs. Since he didn’t, they’re Jerry Cantrell songs, but he assured that doesn’t mean that Alice in Chains are out of ideas by any means.
“I think that making records outside of the band that you’re kind of associated and known with is a healthy thing. We’ve all done it,” the musician remarked, citing Layne Staley’s side work with Mad Season in 1995, Sean Kinney and Mike Inez’s Spys4Darwin project, William DuVall’s solo record and some other records he and his bandmates have done apart from each other.
Listen to the full discussion below.
Among the artists Cantrell has worked with on Brighten are Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan, former Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato, pianist Vincent Jones and drummer Gil Sharone. The album will be available Oct. 29. Pre-order it here now, and check out his 2022 tour dates at this location.