During an appearance on the "Hardcore Humanism" podcast, ALICE IN CHAINS guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell discussed his plan to return to the road, both with his band and as a solo artist in support of his recently released solo album "Brighten". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "This year and a half has been really difficult for the whole planet. Everybody's trying to figure out how to navigate this new element in our lives. Fortunately, we've had pretty good medicine so we haven't had to deal with this for most of humanity; this is just like a regular occurrence. With COVID, it made the making of the ['Brighten'] record pretty difficult. We were lucky enough to get most of the work done with the basic tracks right as everything shut down in March . And then the rest of it was done one-on-one and masked up and doing the distancing where we could and trying to be careful. Luckily, nobody got sick. And it's something we're still dealing with.
"I wanna be back out and playing shows," he continued. "Things are just still a little bit uncertain right now, especially with the delta variant. And people are out doing gigs and stuff, but there's also some incidences where folks are getting sick and having to cancel again.
"I know for us, speaking to Sean [Kinney, ALICE IN CHAINS drummer], we've been pretty together on this. We kind of thought that we wanted to see how this plays out a little bit and hopefully we get to some kind of equilibrium that kind of holds.
"We were planning on doing some shows next year with ALICE, and I have [solo] shows booked from March till May of [next] year. But we'll see. I think everybody's gotta make their choices for themselves and navigate their own path.
"For us, it's concerning 'cause we haven't worked in a couple of years and that's our job," Cantrell added. "Along with being our passion and something that we're really lucky to do, it's also something that — it's our job; it pays the mortgage; it pays the food; it takes care of our families. So we haven't been able to work. So we're chafing at the bit to work too. But we want it to be a safe experience for everybody and also something that we can stay out there doing with a good degree of certainty that we can pull it off in a safe way."
"Brighten" was released on October 29. The LP was co-produced by Jerry over the past year with film composer Tyler Bates and Cantrell's longtime engineer Paul Figueroa.
Jerry's new effort marks 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.
Jerry's career outside of ALICE IN CHAINS had consisted of two solo albums and contributions to major film soundtracks. Cantrell's first solo album, "Boggy Depot", was released in 1998, followed by his second album, the aforementioned "Degradation Trip". In addition to his solo artist work, Jerry has released music on soundtracks for several films, including "Spider-Man", "The Cable Guy", "John Wick 2", "Last Action Hero" and "The Punisher".
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.
"Brighten" has received praise from critics, including Kerrang!, which called it a "vivid, contemporary self-portrait of one of the most distinctive voices in hard rock. A long-overdue show of individual brilliance." Classic Rock proclaimed it "his best yet. The work of a songwriter who is happy within his life, it spans a broad arc of styles." The Sun commented: "A rich, organic album... 'Brighten' is brilliant."
Jerry recently announced a U.S. tour that will bring him to cities such as New York, LA, Chicago, Boston, Nashville and Vegas, among many other cities.