Last weekend (October 29), the Seattle Seahawks recruited Alice in Chains electric guitar hero Jerry Cantrell to perform The Star-Spangled Banner prior to their home game against the Cleveland Browns.
Cantrell's take on the US national anthem – and indeed his choice of the Strat-style Rampage, rather than one of his signature Les Pauls – seems to indicate that another Seattle guitar hero, one James Marshall Hendrix, was on Cantrell's mind.
Though not quite as avant-garde as Hendrix's immortal Banner rendition at Woodstock, the Alice in Chains man's take on the song has more Marshall power – and certainly a lot more wah pedal – than your average sporting event national anthem performance.
“What a great weekend, got to play the national anthem before the Seahawks game,“ Cantrell wrote of the performance on Instagram. “Hawks brought home the W at the end of a slugfest with the Browns. Very proud to have been a part of the festivities. Thank you Seattle!“
The up-close, HD video of Cantrell's Banner performance offers a killer look at his vibrato, and the physicality of his playing.
In a recent interview with MusicRadar, that very physicality was discussed by Guns N' Roses bass guitar player Duff McKagan, who recruited Cantrell for a guest solo spot on I Just Don’t Know, a tune from his recent solo LP, Lighthouse.
“Jerry fights for his leads,” McKagan said. “I’ve seen so many different guitar players. Some guys can just come in and [do it]. And, ‘Wow, that’s fuckin’ amazing.’
“Jerry comes in and he fights. He fights his guitar and, by the end – by the time he gets the lead on – it’s like, ‘Wow man, that was a piece of work. I saw your brain working.’
“He fuckin’ swears,” McKagan continued. “He gets through this thing. I’ve seen him do it plenty of times, and I knew he’d do it on [I Just Don’t Know].”