Jerry Cantrell Recalls How He Convinced Elton John For The Layne Staley Tribute

Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell spoke in a recent interview with Kerrang! Magazine and explained how he convinced Elton John to contribute Layne Staley’s tribute.

Layne Staley was the original singer of Alice In Chains. They released three records until his death in 2002, caused by a mixture of heroin and cocaine known as ‘Speedball.’ In 2009, Alice In Chains released their first studio album following Layne’s death, named ‘Black Gives Way To Blue.’ They also released a self-titled tribute song featuring Elton John on the piano.

In the conversation, Jerry explained how he convinced Elton John to contribute to ‘Black Gives Way To Blue’ and admitted that this record was a huge gamble for the future of Alice In Chains. Moreover, the veteran guitarist pointed out that ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’ was a direct reference to what they went through with Staley’s death and said that he explained this situation to Elton John, who agreed to play on it.

Jerry Cantrell on ‘Black Gives Way To Blue’ record and song:

“Well, that was a high watermark for me personally, and also for the band. We’d been friendly before, because we actually share some people in terms of folks who had worked closely around each of us. He’s a really fucking sharp cat and keeps up on everything.

When it came to do that record, it was a new start for us, so it was a huge gamble. It was something we felt we wanted to do for ourselves, so we made it, and that record is a powerful fucking statement.

The song in particular is a direct reference to what we went through with the loss of our friend and how black that time was. I explained that in an email to Elton, and he said that he’d love to play on it.

We flew out to Las Vegas, and he was a little bit late because he was watching soccer, but walking into that studio and seeing his piano with my music on it was a real, ‘Oh my God’ moment.”

Later in the conversation, Jerry also talked about the first time he met Layne Staley, which was also the time he lost his mother and grandmother, and explained how it affected his life.