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Biography: Jerry Cantrell

Quick Stats

Position: Lead Singer, Lyricist, Lead Guitar
Member since: 1987


Jerry Cantrell, undoubtedly the best guitarist of the 80's and 90's, was born March 18, 1966 in Tacoma, Washington. Jerry's father, Jerry Senior, fought in the Vietnam war and left Jerry just his mother for a part of his childhood. And yes, the song "Rooster" was written by Jerry about his pop.

Jerry first picked up a guitar around the age of 13 and has his roots in many small Seattle bands. Jerry than became friends with former bassist Mike Starr, who in turn introduced him to drummer Sean Kinney (who was dating Mike's sister). Jerry and the other guys first met Layne at a party and decided to create Alice in Chains in 1987. During recording for the first major album, Jerry was the main songwriter for the band. Jerry's mother, a pianist, died after the release of "Facelift."

Alice in Chains got a chance to open for Van Halen in September of 1991. This is when the ever famous "skydiving incident" took place, where Jerry went skydiving with Dave Mustaine of Megadeath and was barely able to get his parachute open. Jokingly "missing my chance at rock immortality." Still touring with Van Halen, Jerry goes hunting with his brother, and forgets that November only has 30 days, missing the concert on December 1. For a day Jerry Cantrell was believed to be a missing person and got the fliers to boot. The next day he returned and received a calander as a gift from Columbia records.

The ever interesting Jerry Cantrell lost power at his house around the time of the "Jar of Flies" album. Being out in country and needing transport, Jerry tries to open his garage door, but since it's electrically controlled cannot. Jerry writes 20 new songs and nearly starves to death when his electric can opener stops functioning. A few days later, the local Ski Patrol came to his rescue.

After the release of Alice in Chains' "Alice in Chains" album, Jerry went off on his own and released a very good solo CD, including some appearances of his Alice in Chains band mates.

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