Jerry Cantrell: Why Metallica’s James Hetfield Is ‘The Godfather’

Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell called Metallica‘s James Hetfield a “godfather” among rock icons in an interview that emerged on Monday (Aug. 3), a day that also happens to be Hetfield’s 57th birthday.

The Alice in Chains member’s commendation came as he shared a fond memory of working with the Metallica frontman. Namely, an occasion when Cantrell teamed up with Hetfield alongside Metallica’s Robert Trujillo and Alice in Chains’ Sean Kinney for a benefit concert in Los Angeles.

Looking back on that time, Cantrell saluted Hetfield as a revolutionary figure in rock.

“What makes James such a great frontman is his physical presence,” the Alice in Chains guitarist recently told Louder. “Nobody else commands the same kind of respect and attention without it being self-seeking or egocentric.”

Cantrell continued, “He’s all about the music; all about the fun and the celebration and the connection with the fans. And that to me is really inspiring. Especially because he’s done this for so long, and he’s been at the top of his game for so long and he continues to search for a deeper meaning.”

Saying that he “can’t wait to see what [Hetfield] does next,” the Alice in Chains guitarist claimed that jamming with Hetfield during the aforementioned benefit gig “was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my whole life.” The group played a version of Metallica’s The Black Album single “Nothing Else Matters.”

That concert also saw Cantrell sing Alice in Chains’ “Them Bones” and “Would?” with the Hetfield-backed benefit band. And it certainly cemented the Metallica rocker’s status as a rock and metal legend in the guitarist’s mind.

“He took an underground thing and took it worldwide,” Cantrell added. “Metallica is a huge thing for me and for any hard rock or metal band. … Will he go down in history as a rock icon? He already has — he’s the godfather, man.”

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Code Orange Perform Haunting ‘Unplugged’ Alice in Chains Cover

Code Orange deserve a round of applause for their latest quarantine concert, delivering a powerful “Unplugged” performance of originals along with a fantastic cover of Alice in Chains’ “Down in a Hole.”

The past few months have been filled with socially distanced virtual concerts, with Code Orange providing fans with regular entertainment since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world’s live music industry. With the U.S. still unable to hold concerts, sans a few heavily criticized events, bands like Code Orange have been making the best out of a bad situation.

In the middle of their “Unplugged” set, the hardcore band brought fans back to the ‘90s, reenacting Alice in Chains’ iconic MTV Unplugged set both sonically and visually. As candles burned around Code Orange, guitarist / vocalist Reba Meyers took the lead for “Down in a Hole,” paying a fitting tribute to Layne Staley’s haunting delivery from the 1996 performance.

Code Orange also stripped down original tracks from throughout their discography, performing acoustic versions of “Bleeding in the Blur,” “Ugly,” “Underneath” and more.

The entire 45-minute concert can be viewed on YouTube, with the show beginning one hour into the live stream. For the Alice in Chains cover, jump to 1:23 in the video.

Code Orange Live Stream

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