In a brand new interview with Grammy.com, ALICE IN CHAINS guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell was asked for his opinion of where rock as a genre stands today. "Things are always changing, right?" he responded. "That is just the essence of existence, and life. There's always change happening. Nothing is fucking static. It's going somewhere. Where it's going to go, who the fuck knows. But as far as I've been alive, there's always been rock. And it's always spoke to me in a way that was really powerful, and visceral. And not just rock, just music in general. Being a recording artist, whatever your genre.
"I think any generation can turn into the old man yelling at the kids to get off your lawn. 'They don't understand anymore.' And I remember my parents didn't like my music too much either, so it's totally normal for that to be the case. I'm just lucky I still have something to focus on that I dig doing. And that I've got my friends around me to make that music with.
"Somehow, after 32 years, there's still millions of fans," he continued. "That we get to stand in front of, and travel around the world, and play our music to. And new stuff is just as important as anything that we've putting out before. We've always been an in-the-moment, now-thinking band. We don't look too far back, and we don't look too far forward. We're always trying to forget about what we've done before.
"We don't need to worry about sounding like ourselves, because that's just how we sound. It's an established thing. So really it just comes down to pleasing yourself. I believe that this record [2018's 'Rainier Fog'] is as strong as any record we've ever put out."
During the same chat, Cantrell admitted that there have been times when he seriously questioned whether he "could still do it," more than 30 years after ALICE IN CHAINS' formation.
"I think everybody has questions," he said. "You have to question yourself occasionally. That's just part of life. That's what moves you forward from being in a place of fear, or of doubt. And if you've had some success like we’ve have, those thoughts can be kind of daunting, too. Oh shit, we've got to top that. Shit, there's another record. As a creative person, if you're lucky enough to have a creative catalog that we have, which may not be gigantic but it's potent as fuck. And it's really good work.
"It's also in two different eras of the existence of this band. It was four guys before, and it's four guys now. This era of the band is, we've done some amazing things. I think the band's playing better than we ever have. The work ethic of everybody is really evolved. And we're still making music that we care about, and other people do too. As long as that's the case, we will continue to continue our journey, and see where it goes."
The band's first new studio effort in five years, "Rainier Fog" marks a few firsts for ALICE IN CHAINS: it's their first album for BMG and their first time recording in their hometown of Seattle in more than 20 years (worth noting that the album title is a tribute to Seattle). The "Rainier Fog" recording process also saw the band spend time at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles and at the Nashville studio of producer Nick Raskulinecz. "Rainier Fog" is the third straight ALICE IN CHAINS album recorded with Raskulinecz and engineer Paul Figueroa. The album was mixed by Joe Barresi (QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, TOOL).
Photo credit: Pamela Littky