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Baker's Dozen

Trace The Bloodline: Jerry Cantrell Of Alice In Chains' Favourite Albums
Jean Marcel Maillard , June 28th, 2013 11:40

The grunge luminaries' main man picks out the records that put him where he is today

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All artists are fans. It's a fact. Nothing comes out of a vacuum and Jerry Cantrell is no exception to the rule.

As his Baker's Dozen testifies, the leader and main guitarist of Alice In Chains was once a teenager playing air guitar to the sound of Van Halen. Of the thirteen albums, most were released between the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, with Cantrell discovering them when he was in high school, living with his father, a soldier, stationed in Pennsylvania.

"Both my parents were country music fans. That's what my house was filled with, not rock & roll, and I'm a big fan of country as well," says Cantrell. "I guess the first kind of rock & roll-type artist that I got into was Elton John. That kinda made me have an epiphany, like 'I wanna do that, I wanna be a musician, I wanna be in a band'. And when [I decided] I really wanted to be a guitarist was probably after listening to AC/DC..."

Founded in 1987 as part of the Seattle grunge screen, Alice In Chains have walked a long road. The death of iconic singer Layne Staley in 2002, could have killed the band, but Jerry Cantrell pushed for it to survive and in 2006, singer and guitarist William DuVall joined, giving the band a second life. The new line-up released Alice In Chains' fifth album, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, last month. "We've done a lot of things, lived a lot of life, we've made music that we are proud of", says Cantrell, looking back on the path the band have taken.

Despite a voice broken from a cold, Cantrell talked the Quietus through his album choices, which range from the guitar god-touting classic rock of Led Zeppelin and AC/DC to the music of "friends and peers", like the aforementioned Eddie Van Halen.

Alice In Chains are currently on a world tour; head to their website for full details. Click on Cantrell’s image below to begin scrolling through his choices

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Dr Up
Jun 28, 2013 3:54pm

Good lord, what a staggeringly terrible list. He's got the musical taste of a 10-year-old boy.

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Jun 28, 2013 4:24pm

In reply to Dr Up:

what did you expect him to like? deerhunter? you twat

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dom Kaos
Jun 28, 2013 4:32pm

Wait, what?
He first heard Dark Side of the Moon "about a year after discovering Back To Black"? Who'd have thought he was a Winehouse fan...

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Jun 28, 2013 5:04pm

I appreciate the complete lack of pretentiousness in this list frankly.

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Mest Banana Kylie motorcycle Werk
Jun 28, 2013 5:08pm

I love Bakers Dozen!!! This was an honest selection, kind of cute, he doesnt care what's cool. The most boring BD's are, in My opinion, those who choose John Cage and Reich. And ONLY those kinda artist, dead serious and boring. I like it most when there are Some surprises...

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Apop
Jun 28, 2013 7:33pm

Not much a fan of metal but i enjoyed the hell out of this article - thank you Mr. Cantrell and Quietus.

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Gizzi_M
Jun 28, 2013 8:03pm

In reply to :

Pretty much exactly what I thought. Well put sir.

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Jude
Jun 28, 2013 8:06pm

Confirmed my opinion of American grunge bands and their listening tastes.

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Jude
Jun 28, 2013 8:14pm

Let's face it, a British musician of around the same age as Cantrell would have pointed to albums that were far more contemporary and forward thinking - rave albums, jungle and d&b, etc. At least Cantrell was honest when he admitted that he grew up listening to country music and prefers dad rock. So much of American rock music - particularly white music - is backward-looking and steeped in country music (certainly not urban).

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Jeff
Jun 28, 2013 8:18pm

In reply to Jude:

Oh shut up, you pretentious windbag!

(just kidding, Jude. I totally agree)

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Jude
Jun 28, 2013 8:21pm

In reply to Jeff:

I hope everyone ignores what I wrote, haha. If there were a delete button, I'd delete my own comments. I admit I'm biased and strongly opinionated, but people should enjoy what they like, without someone (like me! :-) ridiculing them for it...

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Jeff
Jun 28, 2013 8:30pm

I don't think your comment should be deleted. It's in reaction to the common thread of people with relatively closed minds. Most listeners I know think that music begins and ends with the 13 albums listed above. Generally speaking.

Is that necessarily wrong? No. It is a bit frustrating though, because those artists were pushing [what could be defined as pop] music forward then. Music never stopped moving forward, but you wouldn't know it if you asked the average fan of those bands. Many of them won't even listen to the new material from those artists.

This mentality of "things were better up until _____" is very pervasive, and while not everybody shares it, I see it often enough that I have felt compelled to speak out lately.

All of this said, I think Jerry picked nothing but bonafide classics in their respective genres. It didn't teach me anything new (I'm usually able to cull one new album rec from a Baker's Dozen) but hey, he's being earnest. His tastes are in line with the average American male born between 1970 and 1985. There are no bad records up there, and several that are so representative of their respective genres that other albums in the same vein might as well not exist. Back In Black, I'm looking at you.

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Mark Eglinton
Jun 28, 2013 10:49pm

Whatever Jerry's taste in music, there's few guitarists out there who know how to write solos that actually serve a song. Brilliant phrasing - awesome feel. A modern-day legend

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Apop
Jun 29, 2013 12:46am

As i've previously mentioned, i'm personally not much a fan of metal and/or hard rock. That said, for the most part, the fans and musicians which fall into that genre are flat out maniacs about it. And I can't help but appreciate that passion.

That Metal Show, should you ever get a chance to watch it, is a prime example. I like almost none of the bands that are constantly featured, interviewed, discussed, etc, but it is unbelievably entertaining to watch. Everybody seems to love everybody (in a very genuine way), from the hosts, to the folks in the audience, to the guests and they'll often have a couple artists on at the same time who will either share a respect for each other or for those who came before them in that genre. Is it insular? Sure, but it's very real and as a passionate music fan myself, i thoroughly enjoy the sentiments expressed.

And let me just add, this genre, this fellow (Mr. Cantrell), and it's followers all dig the rock star. And after 15+ years of apologetic indie bands I can't help but love seeing someone show up on stage with a "yeah, i'm here, and I'm gonna fookin' own this, rock this, tear this shit up". It might seem silly (especially with certain folks, Jack Black i'm lookin' at you, who often send up that attitude) but there's a severe lack of "i'm gonna rock this" in today's modern music.

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Jun 29, 2013 3:23am

Eh. I haven't seen any Bakers Dozen with any of these albums ever. Excellent!

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Peter Fox
Jun 30, 2013 12:13am

I really enjoyed that. You can really feel the passion. Shock horror, American metal-heads growing up in the 70s listened to Van Halen and Judas Priest. Deal with it! Anyway, it's not just the albums themselves but the stories behind them that make these lists great to read. If I was a multi-million selling rock god and one of the most influential guitarists of the past 25 years I'd have a few of those in my list too... Plus 'Dirt' or 'Jar of Flies'...

And 'Rocks' is my favourite Aerosmith album too. Groovy as f**k.

Really enjoying 'The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here'. And yes, it took me a while. It's a grower...

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KJ
Jul 1, 2013 9:17am

Makes a change from the usual combo of Joy Division, The Velvet Underground and a David Bowie album.

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Chris Dalton
Jul 1, 2013 11:19am

Good heavens. These comments read like they were either penned by sycophantic Christgau minions who are now in their mid-sixties or 19th Century English anthropologists observing the "peculiar habits of the uncivilized negroid/aboriginal tribes" of some remote culture.

It's the 21st century and you people STILL don't have Wire, The Smiths, Boards of Canada along with Judas Priest, Slayer and Agalloch in your music collections?

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Mark T
Jul 1, 2013 6:24pm

While I wouldn't say any of this stuff is bad, if you lived in America in the early 80s you could hear this stuff pretty much any time. If you owned a radio and it worked, this is what came out. Who needed to buy the records?

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Peter Fox
Jul 1, 2013 11:43pm

Also, Jerry Cantrell has always struck me as a down-to-earth and unpretentious guy. And this list would appear to be further proof of this. For further evidence have a look at his MTV 'Cribs' episode on Youtube if you have some spare time.

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The Intl
Jul 2, 2013 10:09am

comes from a shit band; has shit taste.

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The Intl
Jul 2, 2013 10:12am

In reply to :

He's supposedly a musician, sorry but I expect more of a "push" out of him. If that makes ME a twat, then ... you know what to do.

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L.
Jul 3, 2013 1:02am

I've always asked myself why AIC are the only band from the "Seatle scene" whose music really means a lot to me.
Cantrel's choices do answer the question now!

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Trevis
Jul 5, 2013 4:33pm

Really generic picks. Not that surprising actually, but this was a really boring read.

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Old school. I guess
Jul 20, 2013 9:13am

In reply to Dr Up:

Great albums. All of them. 10 year old boy comment???

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Mathieu R
Mar 18, 2014 2:30pm

This felt more like a consensus from the editors of Uncut than like the personal choices of an individual. No quirk to be found, just like in AIC post-Layne.

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TheIntl
Jul 30, 2014 8:31am

I could've told you what 10 of these 13 would be before I read them. What a loser. He's in a shit band, he has shit taste.

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