Jerry Cantrell, who will be honored with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award by MAP/MusiCares at a May 31st ceremony in L.A., says Alice in Chains are finally set to go into the studio to record the followup to their last album, Black Gives Way to Blue.
As previously reported, the album was delayed when Cantrell had shoulder problems. Now healed, he is anxious to hit the studio.
"It‘s time to get to work and the material is really interesting, the body of work that we’ve done," Cantrell says. "It’ll be as different as any one of our records is to any other, and it’ll also be just as recognizable. It’s an Alice record, for sure."
Alice In Chains will perform at the MusiCares event along with Heart, Billy Idol, Duff McKagan, Mark Lanegan and a DJ set by Moby. With Heart and Lanegan joining AIC, the show will have a heavy Seattle bent. "It’s kind of a fucking family affair," Cantrell says.
He helped put together the lineup even though the show comes at a somewhat inopportune time. "We started the record like two weeks before," he says.
Cantrell isn't sure when the record will be out, but he's hoping either later this year or early next year at the latest, though they have no plans to rush the recording to capitalize on the success of Black Gives Way to Blue. "We’ve been very lucky to be able to kind of do things at our own pace for our entire career," he says. "And this is no exception."
The last album was very much a goodbye to frontman Layne Staley, something Cantrell acknowledged in interviews. He calls this next record "the next step.
"Albums, to me, are like snapshots of periods of time, and it’s kind of a mosaic of all the people involved. It’s a process that you go through to make it happen lyrically and musically," he says. "It’s always been our style to tell our story."
As a recipient of the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award, Cantrell joins past recipients including Dave Gahan, Alice Cooper, Anthony Kiedis, Chris Cornell and James Hetfield, all of whom have received the honor for "dedication and support of the MusiCares MAP Fund, and for commitment to helping other addicts with the addiction and recovery process."
Cantrell has been a longtime supporter of the program, since moving to L.A. in 2003. "I’ve been involved with a lot of the musicians and been to a few – I was at Alice Cooper’s – and it’s a cool thing," he tells Rolling Stone. "I'm honored to be chosen this year."
Despite the award, Cantrell insists his is not an example to follow. "I am nobody’s fucking role model," he says. It's too much pressure: "Everybody’s human, everybody has flaws, everybody falls down. It’s just a fucking fact of life. And a lot of people stand and get the fuck back up after falling. Some people don’t get that chance. My band’s been a harsh example of that – what happens when you don’t deal with it."