Cantrell was asked by BBC Radio 1's Rock Show with Daniel P. to name one song from his past that he loves more than the others; he named four.
The guitarist began by saying it's tough to single out just one tune. There are the songs that were hits — that helped his band's career — and there are the songs that he considers to be artistic achievements.
"I'm really proud of everything we've ever done," Cantrell said. "'Man in the Box' means a lot, because it was our first big hit. 'Rooster,' seven minutes [long], I wrote that for my dad. 'Check My Brain,' that was a gigantic hit too and kind of heralded the coming back of this band."
It's understandable why Cantrell had a multi-faceted answer. Given Alice In Chains' unlikely early success, and the trials of the band's career continuing after the death of front man Layne Staley, things aren't so simple.
It's hard to deny a breakthrough as being a proud moment. Before grunge took over the mainstream, Alice In Chains was far too heavy to expect radio play. "Man In The Box" opened a lot of doors for the band.
While "Rooster" isn't seven minutes long on the album, as Cantrell suggests, it generally pushes the seven-minute mark when it's performed live. Still, Cantrell's point is well taken; "Rooster" is much too long to fit the profile of a radio hit, but it somehow was anyway. The deeply personal song peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.
Alice In Chains' return in 2009 with front man William Duvall in Staley's place was controversial in some sectors. Replacing a key member — especially a singer — is a tricky business. The band had a lot riding on "Check My Brain," so it must have been a mix of joy and relief when the song became the band's first No. 1 hit.
Cantrell also named the title track from the band's latest album, saying it has a special place in his heart.
"'Rainier Fog' is kind of this punky, metal kind of thing," he said. "That's kind of the thread and the theme of the title of the record and where we started, where we recorded it, kind of coming full circle back to where we started."
Last week, Alice In Chains released the hilarious, surreal official music video for "Rainier Fog." Watch it here or in the player below.
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