Jerry Cantrell remembers watching Axl Rose throw his Alice in Chains demo tape away

[L-R] Jerry Cantrell and Axl Rose
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jerry Cantrell once gave Axl Rose a demo tape when Alice in Chains were in their nascent years – and the Guns N' Roses frontman threw it away.

As he explained in a speech honoring Slash at the Sunset Strip Music Festival in 2010, he went to see GNR in concert, and “brought a demo tape down to give the band”.

"I met Axl after the show actually," Cantrell continues. "I gave it to him, and as he was walking away I saw him throw it away."

Now, in a new conversation on the Appetite for Distortion podcast, Cantrell remembers the experience, adding that although his demo tape was binned, Guns N' Roses remained a major influence on the early sound of Alice in Chains.

“I did speak to him about it at a club in New York,” the AIC guitarist says. “We had never really met before, other than just kind of meeting backstage at the show in Seattle at the arena where I gave him the demo tape.

“I can't remember what was on it. They were an important band to us, and Appetite [for Destruction] is one of a handful of records that's one of those epic things that transcends space and time and the band. It's a worldwide massive record and it's perfect.”

He also remembers being in a club with The Cult's Billy Duffy, when Axl Rose entered the room.

“He comes over and is like, ‘I heard you telling that story about you giving me that demo tape – are you still with that girl that you met there?’

“It's kind of just one of those fun things, when you're proud of your band when you're kind of unknown, and they were pretty damn huge. People still give me their demo tapes all the time.”

Jerry Cantrell's been a busy man in 2021, releasing two tracks from his newly announced fourth solo album, Brighten, and unveiling his brand-new Murphy Lab-aged “Wino” Les Paul Custom signature model with Gibson.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.