Jerry Cantrell revealed the ‘worst show’ he ever played during the Layne Staley era of Alice In Chains in a new Gibson ‘Icons’ documentary.
“First time I met Ed Van Halen, I was getting ready to open for his band,” Cantrell recalls. “He’s standing in my pit, with Valerie [Bertinelli, Van Halen’s then-wife] right next to him and [son] Wolfie in her arms. He’s got his guitar on, and he’s just playing scales, and he’s like, ‘Hey dude! What’s up?’ I’m like, ‘Fuck! Are you fucking kidding me?’
“I was so fucking nervous, so I came over and said hi to him. He’s like, ‘Oh man, you’re gonna be fine!’ And I think it was probably the worst show I ever played in my life, because I could not stop thinking, ‘He’s right there.’ I just couldn’t focus, and I couldn’t wait until the gig was over.
“After that, I was fine, but that first gig was nerve-racking, because I just could not get out of my head that Eddie Van Halen was looking at me, and we’re playing in front of Van Halen.
“But we ended up being really good friends, and they kept asking us to do more and more legs, and I think we ended up spending maybe six months with those guys. We did a leg, and they were like, ‘Hey, do another one, hey, do another one!’”
Alice In Chains wrapped up their Rainier Fog world tour last year, and Jerry Cantrell is currently working on a new solo album, his followup to 2002’s Degradation Trip albums.