Alice In Chains frontman Jerry Cantrell joins Strombo on Apple Music Hits to talk about his latest solo album, Brighten. He talks about how this is the first time he’s ever done a truly independent record, how he balances his solo work with Alice In Chains, drawing inspiration from unexpected events, and his mindset when working on new music.
Excerpts from Jerry Cantrell's show courtesy of Strombo.
Jerry Cantrell on being more involved with his new solo record
“All our records, even the records that we've done in partnership with a record company or whatever, are very personal. And we're always involved in every step of the way, from the album art to direction to what we want to do. And this record is no different. The only difference is that this is the first time I've actually ever done a truly independent record. That's been fun too, learning the ins and outs of that, and assembling a team and really just making it up as you go along. And it's been really fun.”
Jerry Cantrell on drawing inspiration from unexpected events
“You never know when where inspiration is going to strike… and that riff in particular (‘It Ain’t Like That’), to show you just how whimsical it is and how inspiration can come from anywhere, I think we were in a rehearsal at our rehearsal room at the music bank underneath the Ballard Bridge, where the band started. And I don't know, I was pissed off for something. It was a smart-ass reaction to something I was feeling or whatever. Just like, whatever. And I'm like, "Oh yeah, what, something like this?" and I just drew my pick across the strings and then did a band a couple of times. And they're like, ‘That's fucking killer, play it again.’”
Jerry Cantrell on balancing being a member of Alice in Chains and his solo work
“I'm not really compartmentalized as far as what is for Alice and what is for a solo record. It's more just determined on the time and the intent. If Alice in Chains had been in a creative process where we had made a decision to make a record, you can go through the demo process and work some stuff up and bring in ideas and build them up and tear them down. And any of this probably could have been involved in that process. But it wasn't. The only distinction is time and intent. It wasn't the time for me to be working on ideas for Alice, it was the time to make a record on my own. I guess what's a good way to say it, that the game is the same but the venue and the players are different.”
Jerry Cantrell on his mindset when working on a new record
“You got to put your trust in the fact that you've ended up in the right place more often than not, with the right people at the right time, whether that's producers, band mates, creative people, while you're working on a project or writing songs or making a record. But you go with your gut, you go with what feels right. And I think if you operate on that, that criteria of just putting one foot in front of the other, taking it step by step and trusting in the fact that it's going to work out. There's no rule book, there's no map. There's just a desire to take a journey and to see where the hell it comes out. To strike out blindly is exciting.”