Alice In Chains singer/guitarist Jerry Cantrell discussed not being ‘that fucking proficient’ technically on guitar in a new Guitar World interview.
“You’re wrong! [ laughs] I’m actually much more of a writer than I am a free-form-solo kind of guy. I will do some of that stuff for sure — for feel and for vibe and whatever. But I’m a songwriter, so I write solos, too. That’s probably for two reasons — one, technically I’m not that fucking proficient. I couldn’t tell you what notes I’m playing or what scale I’m using.
I can’t tell you that. I just kind of fumble around until I find it. So that’s one part of it. And then the other part is I’ve always looked at a solo as a piece of the music that needs to sing, you know? I always look at it as a cross between a horn line and a vocal line, and stuff like that. So, more often than not, my solos are pretty constructed. But that said, the way I construct them is by doing a lot of improv shit.
So, I guess I write solos the same way I write songs. I throw a ton of shit up against the wall, and then I pick out the best pieces and string them together. The early phases of solo writing are impromptu, and then I use what makes sense to me for it to be a really powerful and complete statement in itself. It’s got to be something that’s going to add to the song, and not just a bunch of wankery.”