Jerry Cantrell doesn’t need no stinkin’ manager, or record label either



By Steve Newton

Not every established rock star in the world has a recording contract. Some of them don’t even have managers. Take Jerry Cantrell, for instance. The former guitarist for Seattle grunge-metal heroes Alice in Chains has no label and no manager, so it’s a little tricky trying to set up a quick phone interview with him in advance of his show at Richard’s on Richards on Sunday (April 22).

When we do finally hook up, Cantrell attempts to conduct the interview from the counter of a rental-car agency in Hawaii. Part of his attention is focused on answering questions about his current tour and upcoming album release; the other part is intent on providing the chirpy rental agent with the info required to secure a convertible, “a Mustang or something like that”.

After terrorizing half of Oahu from the driver’s seat of a sleek Ford, the scruffy rocker will invade our town on a bill with opening acts from Atlanta and San Francisco, namely Comes With the Fall and MIRV. Because he doesn’t even have his own touring band at the moment, Cantrell is recruiting three members of the latter and one of the former to help him preview tunes from his recently completed double disc, Degradation Trip. “I recorded it with Mike Bordin from Faith No More and Robert Trujillo [from Suicidal Tendencies],” explains Cantrell. “We recorded it at A&M [Studios] just last year, and it’s great. It’s a great record.”

Cantrell and his two recording mates—who are now working on an Ozzy Osbourne album with guitarist Zakk Wylde—came up with roughly 30 tunes for Degradation Trip, and ended up putting 25 on the CD. As well as “great”, Cantrell points out that it’s a lot heavier than his previous solo album, Boggy Depot. But is it similar at all to the once-heavy (and highly successful) Alice in Chains?

“It’s similar to me,” he replies with a chuckle.

Cantrell claims that his old bandmates in AIC will all be at his show at the Moore Theater in Seattle, which takes place the day before his Vancouver gig. He’s looking forward to those Pacific Northwest dates, and isn’t letting the obligatory do-it-yourself aspect of his current situation get him down. Besides, he doesn’t think it’s tough touring without either a manager or a record company.

“Ain’t no different than with one,” he says. “Little more work, but that’s okay, I don’t mind it. It’s less money out of my pocket, you know.”

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