Former ALICE IN CHAINS Guitarist: 'You Can't Replace A Guy Like LAYNE STALEY'

June 15, 2005

Former ALICE IN CHAINS guitarist Jerry Cantrell recently spoke to about his upcoming solo album, which he expects to complete by the fall.

"I've spent the last year and a half in writing mode, compiling a lot of material, writing with a lot of different people," Cantrell told "I've worked with some great songwriters, and I've just been stockpiling my warheads, so to speak, until it's time to do a record. And it's getting pretty close to that time. I've been just gearing up for the next phase of my career, whether that's my third solo record or, of course, there's a possibility it may be a new band as well. I'm just sussing that out for myself. CARDBOARD VAMPYRES [the 'covers' band featuring Cantrell and ex-THE CULT guitarist Billy Duffy], is something we do for a blast."

Cantrell's been working with several high-profile musicians, including METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo, ex-JANE'S ADDICTION bassist Chris Wyse, ex-JANE'S ADDICTION drummer Stephen Perkins, ALICE IN CHAINS' Sean Kinney and Mike Inez, producer Marti Frederiksen (MICK JAGGER, AEROSMITH) and FAITH NO MORE's Mike Bordin, who played drums on Cantrell's most recent disc, 2002's "Degradation Trip".

While Cantrell wouldn't speak in detail about the album, saying he'd like to keep its title and track list to himself for now, he did promise the LP would see release in early 2006 — but through which label, he's still not sure. At present, he has no label ties.

"I'm really enjoying my free agency," he said. "But I guarantee you some shit's coming, and it's serious. There's a really exciting thing that's happening with the material I'm coming up with. It's beautiful, it's ugly, it's powerful, it's all that stuff. It's got edge, it's got teeth. It also is something a little different. It encapsulates this part of my life, and I'll be sharing it with everyone else."

With regards to whether or not he would ever Cantrell, Inez and Kinney would ever take the stage again together, as they did in February for the K-Rock Tsunami Continued Care Concert in their native Seattle, Cantrell said, "It was a fucking great feeling being back onstage with those guys, but it was also heavy. There's a big hole there, and Layne [Staley, late ALICE IN CHAINS frontman], he's still something major to get through. You can't even put him behind you, you can only get through. Layne not being there, it's such a huge hole, and such a sad thing. All we can do is appreciate what we had and, it was, I mean, it was pretty fucking amazing. It still has impact. We did it honestly, the right way, and we did it for us, with the right intentions. But you can't replace a guy like Layne. But this is what you're left with — life. So, you live.

"Still, there's always the possibility, man," Cantrell continued. "But there's really no plan of it. I would hope and probably say that Sean and I and Mike would get together and do something at some point. That's always been a big hope for me. The Seattle show, that was a one-time deal. It's hard to step forward with a hole as big as Layne and out of respect to not only him, but the music we created with him, I mean, where do you go from there? I don't know. I'm not saying it couldn't happen. It's pretty unimaginable. But if it did happen, [the band] would have to evolve into something new that carries on the old tradition."

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