Jerry Cantrell Reacts To Alice In Chains MTV Unplugged Blowing Away Nirvana


Alice In Chains singer/guitarist Jerry Cantrell recently appeared on Poker Night Live. Host Joe Stapleton praised AIC’s 1996 MTV Unplugged performance, calling it better than Nirvana’s.

“Jerry I wanted to ask you a question about the Unplugged album. Now me and my friends always thought we heard this thing on the Unplugged album, which by the way I think is better than the Nirvana Unplugged and better than the Crash Test Dummies Unplugged, a great Unplugged album.”

Cantrell responded, “Thank you.”

Stapleton added, “It seemed like at the end, you guys are done playing, and then a voice in the crowd yells: ‘Ayyyyy, (bleep) you man!’ Then you’re like, ‘Okay, one more song.’ That’s what it sounds like on the album, does that sound at all familiar to you?”

Cantrell responded, “Uhhh, boy that’s a lot of years.

Stapleton said, “A guy requested an encore by cursing at you!”

Cantrell responded, “Yeah, that’s a lot of years and a lot of brain cells ago, but I wouldn’t doubt it, yeah. We just always loved that. One of my favorite things is I remember Layne at the end, because it was a magical show, I remember that. It was one of those nights where everybody was on, it was really cool, the crowd was great. It was at a theater somewhere in New York, there were candles everywhere. I think Layne said, ‘I love you all, I wanna hug you all, but I’m not gonna!’ Then we walked offstage.”

  • Bru Beav

    The author use in the hyperbolic blowing away in reference to the greatest band of this generation shows his extreme bias.

    Alice in Chains Unplugged was an amazing performance. Put you out right under slight Nirvana especially when considering you type in best unplugged performances of all time and it’s usually Nirvana or Eric Clapton that come out number one, not Alice in Chains. Now I know that’s a general opinion and this author may not agree but for the author just to say that Alice in Chains blew away Nirvana’s unplugged it’s just absurd and shows the decline of this websites content creation over the last year or so

    • Kooler Than Jesus

      I love both AIC and Nirvana, and I love both Unplugged performances/albums, I don’t see why it should be a competition when they both were great.

      • Peter G-rox

        Some people enjoy saying things that they know will make other people upset. When a person can control others (perceivably) by simply trying to evoke the need to correct or combat and injustice, they get a considerable rush of power. Like a child that will pull the wings off a fly, just to feel dominant, others will feel just as important by going out of there way to prevent that.
        Defending Nirvana’s honor is quite unnecessary. No single opinion matter on the subject.
        Should the “King of Rock” be a performer and not a song writer?
        Does that really matter? The test that time grinds into every human endeavor, and it’s impact on the masses, is one of movement! How moved were the people? How many people were moved? Are people still moved generation after generation?
        This is the only test of any artistic expression! How well they tap into the general population.
        Janis Joplin
        Jimi Hendrix
        Whitney Houston
        The Clash/Sex Pistols
        Aretha Franklin
        None of these artists were the “best anything”. It’s art.
        But all of these arrest endure. And they continue to be referenced because they continue to have a similar effect on every subsequent generation.
        The time period that gave rise to the bands discussed here will be referenced by many people for many years…and certain bands will forever make an impact and a connection to people who listen. All the bands here mentioned will be held in high regard and will continue to be revered. All the rest is just singular personal preferences (that may or may not be shared by the person stand right next to you).

        • Olga Stewart

          This is the best comment of the thread

          So thank you for posting it. :).

    • bathmat

      I definitely agree that “blowing away” Nirvana’s performance is a little tactless, as both were excellent. Unfortunately though, he is right. The performance is unplugged best by far. Listen to some live Alice in chains live vs Nirvana live, and it will never be a contest. Nirvana was a great band, and Kurt was amazing, but Layne Staley was the best singer of the grunge era barring maybe Chris Cornell, whose range is mind blowing, but best singer? Layne. Sorry man, author is right Staley/cantrell were the McCartney/lennon of grunge, no contest. I invite you to listen to more Alice in chains. Jar of fly’s is a quick excellent listen👍

      • Dave Wight

        Both were excellent? AIC showed how much superior they are, Nirvana was awful, out of tune, off key…..

        • Bru Beav

          Metal heads are so dense! Nirvana was not the best band from Seattle it was the best been in the universe. Please find me one historical list that puts Alice in Chains or Soundgarden had a Nirvana on anything. Soundgarden Alice in Chains were all time great bands but Nirvana was generational. It’s totally up to anybody who their own preferences are but these prepubescent emotionally stunted metalheads can understand the nuances of catharsis and how know band was better at that than Nirvana. You guys somehow think that singing range and complexity of instrument playing always equate to a better band that’s why you guys are metalheads who have such a narrow-minded view of Art and greatness. Keep listening to AIC Metallica and all the other emotionally stunted music, you can’t change the fact that historically 200 years Nirvana will be the only band worth talking about from our era

          • Jason Kasepchuk

            Your a moron the dirt album is considered the greatest Seattle album of the 90’s look that up and yes that album be talked about for many years to come and Kurt is quoted as saying Layne is better then him

          • Bru Beav

            Hahahahaha.. type in greatest album of the 90s and please find me one link where dirt finishes ahead of nevermind it doesn’t even finish ahead of In Utero.

            There’s nothing wrong with you liking Alice in Chains more but Kurt Cobain never said that and he actually said that Soundgarden was the only band that he can listen to of the Big Four.

            You can believe whatever you want to believe but Nirvana’s Legacy asset has the best man of Seattle and the best band of a generation.

            You may not like it but history has had its say

          • Bru Beav

            By the way I just looked it up. Rolling Stones, NME,, kerrang, hit parader, and I could go on.
            Not one of these music Publications have dirt ranked in the top 10 let alone ahead of nevermind. In some of them it’s not even ahead of Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill so come on brother you may like Alice in Chains more but that is not the worldwide consensus. Alice in Chains were all time greats Nirvana is legendary there’s a difference

    • Dave Wight

      Nirvana’s unplugged was one of the worst musical displays in MTV history. He cannot accentuate enough how much better AIC was than Nirvana. It was like comparing a Hall of Fame player to a minor leaguer, Nirvana obviously the latter. AIC literally destroyed Nirvana’s unplugged.

  • Raj

    Here’s the real story Stapleton is a moron and just kissing Jerry’s butt because he’s sitting right there with him trying to bring back some nostalgia. If he said it was a great album fine but he’s trying to sound cool to undercut Nirvana and CTD. What a turd.

    • Dave Wight

      Except he’s right, Nirvana’s unplugged was horrific, AIC dominated. It’s not even worth talking about. No he ‘s trying to sound musically literate by emphasizing how much better AIC is than Nirvana.

      • Raj

        Dave we get your disdain for Nirvana, are you a regular on here or just here to keep talking about Nirvana.

        • Dave Wight

          I prefer not to talk about Nirvana, if this site would stop mentioning them the world would be better off. Focus on bands that were A leaguers like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. There should only be comments deriding Nirvana and Pearl Jam for the fraudulence they promoted in the 90’s

          • Windy Scott

            Nirvana songs where just better and more original.

          • bathmat

            It’s tough for some too take, but Aic and Soundgarden are vastly superior. Mad season above was amazing, and even better was madseason live at the Moore which actually may rival aic unplugged. It’s unfortunate Nirvana garnered such praise, while Aic were the best. Period.

      • Brandon Boggs

        They were both good but it’s dickheads like you that can’t appreciate that both were awesome and the unplugged on New York was amazing as well. I think there is some jealousy here somewhere.

  • Dave Wight

    Good thing the guy has a firm grasp on the obvious, is there anyone who understands music who did not think AIC’s unplugged was infinitely superior to Nirvana’s, Nirvana’s one of the worst unplugged episodes of all time They should have been unplugged and kicked out.

    • Brandon Boggs

      Man, you are a fucking hater…Ehats your deal against Nirvana? One shit comment wasn’t enough? Did Kurt fuck your girlfriend or something? There’s a reason why Nirvana is like #1 band of all time. I love me some AIC but they weren’t as successful

  • Eddie Yarler

    Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots are probably my favorite unplugged performances.

    • Dave Wight

      two A league bands

  • KyMule74


    • Dave Wight

      one of the best unplugged shows ever, underrated. The Lady Wore Black was so good

  • Hwang Sunghyeop

    Nirvana was better snd now still better than AIC’s performance.

    • Dave Wight

      Really did you hear how off key Cobain was during that set, their instruments sounding slightly out of tune, It is comparing C leaguers to A leaguers. AIC blew them away.

      • Hwang Sunghyeop

        Wow get your attentions by Nirvana right away. Nirvana and AIC both have tensions. Are these really important to you? You should go your way. I should go my way.

  • Brion

    I hate this better shit… can you call a show better than could say i enjoyed or prefer this one over that one but your personal taste doesnt make it better.

    • Dave Wight

      easily AIC are GOATs, Nirvana one of the worst bands of all time, easy decision

      • Brion

        Ah whatever NEVERMIND.

      • timamac

        Love both!

      • Brandon Boggs

        You’re a dickhead apparently

        • Olga Stewart

          Don’t get him started on Pearl Jam.

  • Christopher Aragon

    No contest, really Nirvana? AIC are just more talented they know their instruments inside n out . Nirvana good song writers, music eeh not so much Foo Fighters have better music than them. AIC ,better song writers ,better musicians . Yea blew them away on unplugged & blow them away.

    • Dave Wight

      is that a joke? nirvana good songwriters? they wrote mediocre music. AIC clearly superiod band at every level

  • Scott Gaines

    Here’s how I remember it:
    Layne said something like “I guess that’s it” after ”It’s Over Now”, suggesting that the concert was over. The audience applaudes but one fan jokingly lets out a big “Boo!”
    And then Layne (with an audible grin) shouts “Hey Fuck You, Man!” And the crowd cracks up laughing.

    • IrregularJohn

      Exactly. It’s Layne’se voice. Weird that Jerry doesn’t remember it, he probably didn’t listen to that show as religiously as we have.

      P.S. Nirvana’s Unplugged was really good but most of the songs they did were covers whereas AIC Unplugged was sublime. Acoustic rendition of Nutshell gives me shivers each time, just such sad and truthful song at the same time considering where Layne was coming from in the lyrics.

  • Jayme Baumgartner

    If you seriously think Nevermind was better than Dirt or even Facelift than your an idiot and probably need your ass kicked…not even close musically or vocally…

    • bathmat

      Uh….. You forget jar of fly’s, and Alice in chains. Those were better as well. Nevermind and in utero both rank behind those 4. Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if they are wrong.

  • Olga Stewart

    A lot of brain cells ago?

    I can relate. :).

  • Monroe A Whitt !!!

    Nirvana 1993 mtv unplugged arguably greatest album ever. The boy sung his phuckin obituary. Tragically classic. Beutifull harmonies from mates. Both great infact i mos def see why some consider AIC’s performance superior but yea……