Tag Archives: alice in chains

The Story Behind The Song: Rooster by Alice In Chains

source: Classic Rock November 15, 2006

The Story Behind The Song: Rooster by Alice In Chains

Chris’ Week on Grunge Graveyard: Chester Bennington: “Chris Cornell’s contribution to music was unrivalled”

source: Metal Hammer May 2020

Chester Bennington: “Chris Cornell’s contribution to music was unrivalled”

In the summer of 2017, we spoke to Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington about the life and legacy of his friend, late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell. For the first time, here is his tribute in full

When we heard the news that Chris Cornell had passed away on May 18, 2017, we started putting together a tribute to honour him, and reached out to his friend, Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington. Chester had sung at Chris’s funeral service at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on May 26, 2017, and though it was obviously a difficult time for him, he agreed to talk on the phone a week later. He was gracious, generous with his time and thanked us for “taking the time to write a nice piece on someone who’s contributed so much to so many people’s lives”.

Sadly, Chester took his own life two months later. The singer had also contributed greatly to so many people, and the metal community mourned another loss. Two-and-a-half years on, we revisit the conversation we had about his hero. What shines through is a firm friendship between two icons, bonded by their love for their families and their chosen career path.

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First of all, could you talk us through how you and Chris met?

Chester Bennington: “We’d done a tour in the US called Projekt Revolution, which was a semi-annual festival that Linkin Park used to put on. And we’d bring in tons of different acts, and Chris Cornell was on one of our tours [in 2008]. I think this was when we were touring [third album] Minutes To Midnight. Anyway, we met then. We got along really well right away.

“I grew up listening to Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana. I don’t think any music scene influenced me as much as the scene that came out of Seattle. There was so much great music that came out of Seattle at that time. So it was really cool for me to be out there with one of my heroes, and we got along really well. Vicky [Cornell] and my wife, Talinda – they became best friends right away. Every day they’d be hanging out, and we got really close over that tour. Our friendship really grew during that time.”

How did it develop from there? It sounds like it became more than just a touring buddies thing quite quickly

“I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience, but sometimes you meet somebody and it’s like you’ve known them forever. And that was really the case between our families. After that tour, we stayed in touch and that developed into Chris and Vicky asking me to be the godfather of their son, Christopher. One of my favourite memories of our friendship was the baptism and the christening and taking on that promise to the family. That was really great. Whenever they were in town we would try to connect – sometimes it was difficult because we’re all so busy. Chris and I were similar in many ways in that we had a lot of dear friends but we didn’t necessarily see them all the time, because our personal lives are so busy, and our dedication to our families is so strong.”

I guess the fact that your families came together so quickly, not just you and Chris personally, made that easier?

“Yeah, I think if it was just me and Chris talking, hanging out, you know, we would be good acquaintances. But the friendship between our wives, you add that into the mix and things escalate a little bit more! Ha ha ha! In terms of closeness, in terms of intimacy, it was really quite special. Our friendship grew beyond just respecting each other for what we do musically.”

How would you describe what Chris was like offstage?

“Chris was a great father, really dedicated to his family, loved his kids more than anything. Really quiet. When you got him alone, he was really talkative. Get him into an intimate setting and a lot of personality comes out. Outside of that, pretty quiet and reserved. Really soft-spoken and very gentle.”

As someone who grew up as a fan of his music, I guess you must have had a strong perception of Chris. How was he compared to how you’d imagined him before you started spending time together?

“Luckily, my experiences have been more positive than negative, but I’ve had the opportunity to perform with a lot of the people that I really admired growing up, and who had a lot of influence on me. And 90% of the time it’s been really wonderful, and friendships have developed. The other 10% of the time it doesn’t go so well and you kinda go, ‘Man, I wish I never met that person!’ Ha ha ha! It ruins the whole thing! For me, at least. Like, ‘Oh, man. I met that guy from that band I love and he was kind of a douche. I wish I’d never met him so I could still listen to the music.’

“So meeting Chris was really… it’s not like everybody gets the opportunity to do those things. And that’s probably what I’ve enjoyed the most in the success of Linkin Park is being able to go on tour with a lot of these guys. I do a lot of all-star band stuff; I’ve played gigs with Alice in Chains, I’ve done shows with Jane’s Addiction, I’ve done shows with Stone Temple Pilots, I’ve done shows with Chris Cornell. I’ve had the opportunity to play with my favourite band, Metallica. It’s just been an honour. And so Chris was definitely a highlight. And in terms of his ability to perform, the guy is in the top three male vocalists of all time. Up there with Jeff Buckley and Jimmy Gnecco from Ours.”

What do you think was so unique about Chris as a performer? 

“Obviously his vocal range is incredible. The sheer power. But I think it’s his songwriting that really stands out – the time signatures he uses, the chord progressions. It’s a delicate balance to get technical and smart with the way you play. Especially with Soundgarden – their rhythm section was incredible. The progressions that they played were really complicated, but they had a groove. And I think that’s something that’s super, super difficult to pull off.”

And as a performer, did you take anything from him from touring together and getting to see him play every night? 

“When you watch greatness, you don’t need to be convinced. You just watch and go, ‘Wow.’ I’m getting goosebumps now just thinking about it. And so when you see someone who is truly talented and gifted do what they do, and love doing it, it’s so special. When we were touring on that Projekt Revolution tour, I got to go out and sing [Temple Of The Dog’s] Hunger Strike with Chris. And Eddie Vedder is a huge influence on me too, and that was one of my favourite songs. I loved hearing those two guys do that song, so when he asked me to do it I said, ‘OK, I’ll come out and sing Eddie’s parts.’ He’s like, ‘Nah man, you’re gonna hit the high ones.’ I was like, ‘Crap!’ Ha ha ha! ‘Oh, no!’

“There are two times I’ve been super-nervous about singing with someone. One was with Paul McCartney during the Grammys, and I had to sing high harmonies on Yesterday. You can’t really screw that up! And then doing Hunger Strike with Chris, and I had to hit the really high parts. The best compliment I ever got was from Chris. After we did it, he laughed and said, ‘Dude – you’re not supposed to be able to do that, man! I made you sing that on purpose so you wouldn’t do it as well!’ So that was a huge compliment to me. It’s kinda funny but my wife would always tease me because when Chris and I would do that song, we would always stare at each other. She’d be like, ‘Look at you guys, staring at each other onstage all night!’ That was just because of my admiration for him as a person and as a performer, and the friendship we were developing. It was just really special, it was a special time.”

What’s your fondest memory of Chris?

“Definitely the times we had just hanging out – which were very few and far between. Sitting by the pool with the kids, just kinda talking. Obviously, the christening of his son, Christopher, and being invited into the family. That was really special.”

You sang at Chris’s funeral. How did that come about? Were you asked to do that, or was it something that you put yourself forward to be involved in?

“I’m not sure exactly how the idea came up, I was just asked to sing. There was talk of maybe 10 people speaking, and it came up that maybe it might be good for someone to come in and do something musical to split up the eulogies. And so I was asked to sing, and of course I knew it would be tough. I wanted to make sure it was tasteful, and it was the right song. But Vicky wanted me to do it, so I did it. It was really up to her. She obviously said yes, but I didn’t ask – I was asked to perform. I’m not sure who brought up the idea.

“So I just prayed on it a little bit. I said, ‘Chris – I know you’re up there, and I wanna make this special. I want it to be the right song. Put one in my head, give me the little tingly feeling. Give me something, y’know?’ And I knew from our conversations that he’d been friends with Jeff Buckley and they were close, so I felt that Hallelujah would be a good song. It’s my favourite song of all time – I think it’s the best song that’s ever been written – and of all the versions that have been done, Jeff Buckley’s is my favourite. So that was a nice tie, you know, somebody that Chris was close to. Another one of my favourite vocalists. And so I did that song, and I spoke with Lily, his daughter, and apparently it was something they used to sing together. Lily and [Chris’s other daughter] Toni and Chris would sing together. I didn’t know that until after I’d performed it, but it turned out to be a very special moment. I’m just really honoured that I was able to participate in a positive way.”

It’s a wonderful song, but it’s so heart- breaking. We can only imagine what it must’ve been like to sing a song like that at such a sensitive occasion.

“It was tough. I believe everything is random in this universe, but that there are no accidents. That’s what I believe. We were set to play Jimmy Kimmel a few days beforehand, and we switched things up. We were going to play Heavy on Jimmy Kimmel that night, but Chris had just passed so we felt like dedicating One More Light to him would be appropriate. I got to sing through that a few times, break down, cry a little bit, pull myself together. And I got to run through that experience a little bit, so I felt like that prepared me for the funeral. So I was able to keep it together pretty well, but it was tough.”

What do you think Chris’s legacy will be? 

“His legacy are his children and his wife. His family will be his legacy. I think, musically, he stands without question as being one of the greatest influences of our time, from one of the greatest bands of all time. His contribution to music is unrivalled. Obviously there’s tons of great musicians who contribute to the history of music, but I think Soundgarden in particular – as well as Chris on his own – will be recognised as being among the greats. In terms of his music, I think that’s undeniable. In terms of him as a person, who he was as a father, as a husband, family man, friend – he was a great person, and a good person. And I think his kids will grow up to do special things with their lives.

 

Watch Alice In Chains’ Jerry Cantrell On ‘Icons’, Streaming Now On Gibson TV

source: Blabbermouth July 9, 2020

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.

source: Alternative Nation  Jul 12, 2020

By Brett Buchanan

Jerry Cantrell revealed the ‘worst show’ he ever played during the Layne Staley era of Alice In Chains in a new Gibson ‘Icons’ documentary.

“First time I met Ed Van Halen, I was getting ready to open for his band,” Cantrell recalls. “He’s standing in my pit, with Valerie [Bertinelli, Van Halen’s then-wife] right next to him and [son] Wolfie in her arms. He’s got his guitar on, and he’s just playing scales, and he’s like, ‘Hey dude! What’s up?’ I’m like, ‘Fuck! Are you fucking kidding me?’

“I was so fucking nervous, so I came over and said hi to him. He’s like, ‘Oh man, you’re gonna be fine!’ And I think it was probably the worst show I ever played in my life, because I could not stop thinking, ‘He’s right there.’ I just couldn’t focus, and I couldn’t wait until the gig was over.

“After that, I was fine, but that first gig was nerve-racking, because I just could not get out of my head that Eddie Van Halen was looking at me, and we’re playing in front of Van Halen.

“But we ended up being really good friends, and they kept asking us to do more and more legs, and I think we ended up spending maybe six months with those guys. We did a leg, and they were like, ‘Hey, do another one, hey, do another one!’”

Alice In Chains wrapped up their Rainier Fog world tour last year, and Jerry Cantrell is currently working on a new solo album, his followup to 2002’s Degradation Trip albums.

 

Alice In Chains Dedicate “Nutshell” to Pantera’s Vinnie

Vinnie Paul, Pantera, Damageplan and Hellyeah’s drummer, passed away on this day in 2018. For more information about Jerry Cantrell’s long friendship with Vinnie and Darrell from Pantera, check tomorrow’s post on my other blog Metal Graveyard.

Alice In Chains performing “Nutshell” at Val de Moine in Clisson, France on June 24, 2018. Jerry Cantrell often dedicates Nutshell to Layne Staley and Mike Starr, but this time he dedicated the song to his longtime friend and Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul, who passed away two days before the concert. More Jerry Cantrell/Alice in Chains videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9PnF5M5bSl31Dh7JvTjj6cbA9tVLrkjK

Mark Lanegan About Layne Staley and Kurt Cobain

source: Alternative Nation  Jun 1, 2020

Layne Staley Rejecting Queens of the Stone Age Leaks

Late Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley rejected former Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age singer Mark Lanegan’s claim that he had been clean for a year in a conversation that appears to have taken place around 2001, when Lanegan had cleaned up and was joining QOTSA after the Screaming Trees’ 2000 breakup.

Lanegan told Rolling Stone, “”Out of my friends, I was the guy who they always thought would never have a chance of getting clean because I was so maniacal in my approach. I would have climbed Mount Everest for drugs. I was always trying to kick. Layne was a magical person who was also hellbent on doing drugs until he died.

The first time I saw him after I’d gotten clean, I’d been clean a year. I’m pretty sure that [Alice in Chains guitarist] Jerry [Cantrell] and [bassist] Mike Inez flew me up to Seattle because they were unable to get into his house. He had a camera and lived in the penthouse of this condo. So whenever anybody from that camp would come to see him, he would just ignore it. Jerry and Mike knew that when he saw me, he would let me in.

I went along with that, and I also wanted him to see that I was clean, that it was possible to get clean, that his prediction that I would never be able to do it had failed. [Laughs] Hopefully, maybe, it would give him the idea that he, himself, could do it. But he didn’t want to do it.

When I got there, I said, ‘Hey, man, it’s been a while. I’ve been clean for more than 12 months.’ And he was like, ‘No, you weren’t, man. You just left, like, two months ago.’ His sense of time had warped. And he wasn’t buying the truth from me.

I remember him saying at that point, ‘I always just keep thinking I’m gonna get that same feeling I got the first time again.’ And, dude, I never got that first feeling again after the first time I ever did dope. I immediately had to do five times more to even get close to it. So for me, that was an impossibility, but that was his obsession.”

He later added, “It’s heartbreaking the way he went. I always knew that that’s what was gonna happen, although I always hoped there would be some medical emergency that would put him in the hospital and give him a moment away from the routine of crack and heroin that might give him a break and some insight. That medical emergency ended up being his death.”

Staley died in 2002 from a drug overdose, with Lanegan suffering the untimely death of another close Grunge singer friend, 8 years after the death of Kurt Cobain. Lanegan has discussed his regret over missing a phone call from Cobain shortly before his death.

Hype! 20 Years After Interviews (July 2017, Seattle)

Hype! SEATTLE GRUNGE 20 Years After Interviews (July 2017, Seattle)

Layne Staley’s Final Recording With Alice in Chains With Tom

The story of Class of 99 and the recording of the Pink Floyd Cover

Dave Grohl Remembers Meeting Nirvana for 1st Time: How I Got Introduced to Grunge

source: Metal Wani January 2018

Dave Grohl Remembers Meeting NIRVANA for 1st Time: How I Got Introduced to Grunge

Dave Grohl remembered meeting the boys from Nirvana before they went on to change the world of music together, explaining in a new Dear Seattle video (via Alternative Nation):

“I remember getting off the plane, and Krist and Kurt meeting me at baggage claim. It was like having Children of the Corn pick you up from the airport. When I came up to Seattle, Nirvana was doing a show with another drummer.

“I get there to this Nirvana show, there’s 1,200 people, and maybe 15 of them looked like they were punk rockers. The rest were trailer park kids with greasy long hair wearing clothes they bought at Frey Myers and Salvation Army.

“They were flannels… I still dress like the kids I saw at the gig that night.

“It already felt like there was some sort of movement, but it was unintentional. These people just gathered, or were drawn to this thing, because it just sounded like they felt.

“The energy was different than anything I’d ever seen. That was my first day in Seattle.

“I went out and got drunk with all the guys in Nirvana, it was really fun. I thought if I don’t become the drummer, at least I have a story to tell. I think that’s the first time I grilled octopus too, that was weird.”

Grohl added during the chat:

“Anyone who spent more than one season in Seattle knows that there’s practically one season in Seattle. Those hard five or six months when you don’t see sun, you retreat to places like basements or bars. In that, you develop these little communities.

“I talked to friends at home, they’d say, ‘What did you do last night.’ I’d say, ‘I went and shot pool with a guy from Alice in Chains, a dude from Pearl Jam, a guy from Soundgarden, and someone from Mudhoney. It’s a big city with little-town vibe, small-town vibe.’

“Months went by where I didn’t see the sun. Kurt and I wouldn’t go to sleep until 9 o’clock in the morning as the sun was coming up.

“We’d wake up at 4 in the afternoon as it was going down, in this tiny little apartment where I slept on a couch that is half as long as me, with turtles and this aquarium that Kurt had built.”

JAR OF FLIES (Full Album)

Rotten Apple

Nutshell

I Stay Away

No Excuses

Whale & Wasp

Don’t Follow

Swing On This

It’s April 5th Again

I don’t think I have to remind you what happened on that day, right?