Jerry Cantrell Names The Alice In Chains Song He Picked Up From Van Halen

Jerry Cantrell gave an interview to Blunt Magazine in which he revealed the Alice In Chains song whose riff he picked up from watching Van Halen.

Alice In Chains is often associated with the grunge scene, although their sound also carries heavy metal elements. The band achieved worldwide fame as part of the Seattle grunge movements alongside Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden.

Alice In Chains achieved instant success after releasing the EP ‘We Die Young’ and the follow-up album ‘Facelift’ in 1990. Following that, the band began touring to widen their audience, opening for musicians like Iggy Pop, Poison, Extreme, and Van Halen.

Although they identify themselves as a heavy metal band now, it seems like Alice In Chains was highly influenced by Van Halen, especially during their early years. In fact, according to the band’s guitarist and lead vocalist Jerry Cantrell, he was inspired by Van Halen while writing one of their songs’ riffs.

In an interview with Blunt Magazine, Jerry Cantrell revealed his thoughts on the opening tracks of their albums. While speaking about ‘We Die Young,’ he revealed an interesting detail about the song’s riff. After commenting on the song’s riff, Cantrell said he picked it up after watching Van Halen back when he was trying to learn ‘Unchained.’

Commenting on ‘We Die Young’ Jerry Cantrell told Blunt Magazine:

“We knew we were onto something there. It was one of the earliest riffs I had written for the band, and we just went for it. It’s just so guttural, and so raw. It’s a very powerful song. It’s only two-and-a-half minutes, too. Right to the point – like a classic album opener should be. For the first thing, anybody was gonna hear from this band; I’m glad it was this song.

I picked it up from watching Van Halen. Ironically enough, it was when I was trying to learn the song ‘Unchained.’ It really caught my ear – I was like, ‘What is that? It doesn’t sound like it was tuned right.’ When I discovered that it was in drop-D, it completely opened up my world.”

You can listen to Alice In Chains’ ‘We Die Young’ and Van Halen’s ‘Unchained’ below.