Jerry Cantrell Picks The Best Guitarist In The Grunge Scene

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Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell gave an interview to Guitar World and revealed that he likes Kim Thayil’s guitar playing more than Kurt Cobain’s.

Jerry Cantrell is a talented musician known as the guitarist and vocalist of Alice In Chains. Formed in 1987 by Cantrell and Sean Kinney, Alice In Chains rose to worldwide fame as part of the Seattle grunge scene of the early 1990s alongside other Seattle bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden.

The iconic frontman Kurt Cobain formed Nirvana in 1987, and the band is credited for popularising the grunge subgenre. Apart from writing songs and singing vocals, Cobain also played the guitar for the band. He took an interest in playing guitar at a young age, and although he lacked the technical skills of many professionals, his ‘sloppyguitar technique was deliberate as it added to the musical effect.

Kim Thayil, on the other hand, gained popularity as the lead guitarist of Soundgarden. He contributed to the band’s success with his guitar skills from its formation to its disbandment in 2018. Although he was a successful songwriter as well, Thayil shined out with his influential guitar playing. Moreover, among other grunge guitarists, he was considered the pioneer of the Seattle sound.

In an interview with Guitar World, the host Joe Bosso asked Jerry Cantrell who the best guitar player in Seattle back in those times was. As a response, Cantrell said this is a tricky question because everybody is so unique. He then praised Kim Thayil’s playing and revealed that he always admired him.

Following that, Cantrell mentioned Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard and said he liked his style. When it came to Kurt Cobain, the guitarist said he thinks Cobain was a cross between punk and pop, and he wrote pretty memorable and simple music. Cantrell then revealed that he would pick Thayil if he had to choose one.

Guitar World’s Joe Bosso asked Jerry Cantrell that:

“Present company excluded, who was the best guitar player in Seattle back then? Who was just killing it?

Jerry Cantrell then said:

“It’s tough to say; everybody’s so unique. Kim Thayil is crazy. He’s got a crazy style that is unique unto itself. It’s a blend of different styles – super-big and out of control, but right on the fucking edge of coming off the tracks and going right back on. I always admired his playing. 

I always liked Stone Gossard’s style, too. Super-punk, but also really melodic and based in some kind of regular rock, hard rock, blues-based riffs, and stuff. Kurt Cobain was like a cross between punk and pop. His style had a lot of ferocity, and he wrote super-memorable, simple stuff. I don’t know… If I had to pick one, it would be Kim.

Although each one of the Seattle scene’s guitarists was remarkable considering their musical career and guitar skills, it seems like Jerry Cantrell thinks Kim Thayil is the best among them. Considering his contributions to the Seattle sound, Thayil has indeed been a prominent guitarist of the scene.