Jerry Cantrell discusses his songwriting style on ‘Never Meet Your Heroes’

Jerry Cantrell Alice in Chains
Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell with Scott Ian of Anthrax.

Throughout his career, Jerry Cantrell has performed double-duty as lead guitarist and principal songwriter for Alice In Chains. On the second episode of Never Meet Your Heroes on VOLUME (Ch. 106), host Scott Ian delved into Cantrell’s approach to penning lyrics.

“It’s mostly music first and then the music kind of evokes a vibe,” Cantrell said. “Or [the lyrics] may just hit you at the time where something is stuck in your head or there’s something that you feel passionately about.”

Cantrell has penned some of Alice In Chains’ most poignant and deeply personal songs like the hits Rooster, a tribute to his father, and Would?, a tribute to his close friend Andrew Wood. As he continues through his nearly 20-year career, Cantrell said it’s getting more and more challenging to write lyrics that mean something to him.

“It gets a little more difficult to come up with stuff to write about because you’ve already written about so many vibes or subjects or situations or whatever,” he said. “Music isn’t really that hard, I can come up with riffs all day long, but lyrics always take the most time for me. I don’t want to say something I don’t mean or feel strongly about, so you kind of just got to wait until that happens.”

Never Meet Your Heroes airs monthly on VOLUME (Ch. 106) on Thursdays at 7 p.m. ET with re-airings throughout the month.


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