Jerry Cantrell Reflects On Elton John’s Influence On James Hetfield

Alice In Chains’ Jerry Cantrell gave an interview to Q1043’s Out Of The Box, during which he made remarks on Elton John‘s influence on Metallica guitarist James Hetfield.

Although Jerry Cantrell has been playing for a band with roots in heavy metal, it appears that he was influenced by the legendary musician Elton John. The first album Cantrell owned was John’s 1974 ‘Greatest Hits,’ which was given to him by his father when he was ten years old. From then on, Sir Elton John has been a significant influence on the musician.

Apart from Jerry Cantrell, there are various hard rock and metal bands that Elton John’s music has influenced. This is mainly because Elton John is a prolific musician that has a universal sound and influential music. As Cantrell told Out Of The Box, Metallica is among those musical acts which the iconic musician influenced.

In the interview with Out Of The Box, the host Jonathan Clarke told Cantrell it’s interesting that he, James Hetfield, Metallica, and other hard rock bands consider Elton John’s music influential. In response, Cantrell said that there is not that much of an age gap between him and Hetfield.

The guitarist stated that they were born in the ’60s and grew up in the ’70s. Therefore, they listened to the popular music of that time. He then said there were musicians like Elton John on the radio, and they were exposed to that kind of music back then. Moreover, Cantrell said they shifted towards rock and metal throughout the late ’70s and ’80s.

During the conversation, the Out Of The Box host Jonathan Clarke told Jerry Cantrell:

“I think it’s interesting that people like you and your music, and even James Hetfield and Metallica, hard rock bands, and of course, countless others really count Elton’s music and Bernie’s lyrics as really influential to them.

Cantrell then responded:

“Well, you have to think about guys James’s age and my age. You know, James is a couple of years older than me. I’m 55, he’s probably 57 or something like that. We’re kids of the ’60s, and we were born in the 60s and grew up in the 70s and what was playing in the ’70s. We got probably moved into rock, toward the latter part of the 70s and into the 80s, and then started making it ourselves.

I mean, that was the music that was on the radio, like Fleetwood Mac and Elton John. There were so many great songwriters and also a real healthy diverse mix of styles like R&B and disco. I grew up with a couple of country fans, my mom and dad. There was dance and swing and stuff. My grandmother watched Lawrence Welk every week, and that was on in our house. Then, when I discovered, when I got a guitar in my hands, that’s when everything changed. That’s when I’m sort of gravitating toward more guitar-heavy stuff.

You can watch the rest of the interview below.