Alice In Chains Reveal How Van Halen Helped Create Grunge

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Alice In Chains singer/guitarist Jerry Cantrell discussed Van Halen’s influence on the Grunge signature drop D tuning in a new Sweetwater Guitar Rig Tour interview.

He said, “Yeah, I think ‘Unchained’ or like a Sabbath riff or something, Van Halen or Sabbath is probably where I picked up on the drop D thing. But ‘Unchained’ has got that sick riff with the flanger on that.”

He also said, “I just prefer the sound. I’m a fan of, I think Sabbath kind of used a lot of D tuned stuff, drop D, being a half step down on some stuff, they were kind of all over the place. I always liked that darker kind of sound.

At that particular point, when I was kind of putting the band together with the guys, it wasn’t anything about vocals because we had Layne. It wasn’t an issue that he couldn’t hit anything, and I was strictly a backup singer pretty much when we started. Just a half step down has a little more weight.”

Alice In Chains toured with Van Halen during their early days in the 90’s, and Eddie Van Halen and the band served as mentors for AIC as they were coming up.