It took Jerry Cantrell nearly two decades to retrieve a guitar Eddie Van Halen had gifted him after it subsequently was stolen from the studio.
On Wednesday (Sept. 1), the Alice in Chains guitarist and co-vocalist summarized how he recovered the instrument that’s one of two EVH gave him following Alice in Chains’ supporting tour stint for Van Halen. Around a week earlier (Aug. 24), Cantrell announced his new limited-edition signature model axe with Gibson Guitars, a “Wino” Les Paul Custom.
Watch a video down toward the bottom of this post.
“Those two EVH guitars mean the world to me,” Cantrell tells Guitar World. “One of them was the goldtop that went missing when I was making [2002 solo album] Degradation Trip. Somebody lifted it out of A&M studio.”
But as luck (or sleuthing) would have it, the Alice in Chains rocker “just got it back a few years ago,” he explains.
“A couple of AIC fans and collectors tracked it down and tried to do a sting on this kid who had it and was trying to sell it,” Cantrell says. “He went dark on the first guy, who was from Florida. The second guy was a separate collector from San Diego. Between the two of them, it took about two weeks for me to get that guitar back… after 19 years!”
Cantrell calls Van Halen’s gifts — which also included a complete guitar rig — “pretty amazing. He had a really big heart. It meant a lot then and it means even more to me now that he’s gone, that he took a shine to me. We had a little bond, you know. It was a really cool thing.”
He adds of the guitarist who died last year at the age of 65, “Any time we got the chance to hang, going to a pool hall or just meeting at his hotel and whipping out a couple of guitars or just sitting around backstage, [we would]. Sometimes I’d be late for soundcheck and I’d show up and he’d be up there with the band, fuckin’ rockin’ out with them. [laughs]”
Cantrell’s new Gibson guitar replicates the Les Paul Custom he’s used throughout his career. Only 100 of the instruments were handcrafted by Gibson’s Custom Shop, and each one is hand-signed on the back of the headstock by the Alice in Chains member.
“The Wino has always been one of my favorite guitars,” Cantrell says in a Gibson press release. “It’s a really good-looking guitar.”
Learn more about Cantrell’s guitar at gibson.com. See his upcoming solo dates below the clip. Cantrell’s new solo album Brighten arrives next month.
Gibson Jerry Cantrell “Wino” Les Paul Custom
Jerry Cantrell Spring 2022 North American Tour Dates
March 24 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ First Avenue
March 26 – Chicago, Ill. @ Vic Theatre
March 28 – Detroit, Mich. @ St. Andrews Hall
March 29 – Toronto, Ontario @ History
March 31 – Pittsburgh, Pa. @ Roxian Theatre
April 2 – Atlantic City, N.J. @ Music Box
April 3 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ TLA
April 5 – New York, N.Y. @ Irving Plaza
April 6 – Boston, Mass. @ Big Night Live
April 8 – Baltimore, Md. @ Rams Head Live
April 9 – Raleigh, N.C. @ The Ritz
April 10 – Charlotte, N.C. @ The Fillmore
April 12 – Orlando, Fla. @ House of Blues
April 13 – St. Petersburg, Fla. @ Jannus Live
April 15 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Tabernacle
April 17 – Nashville, Tenn. @ The Ryman
April 19 – New Orleans, La. @ Fillmore
April 21 – Dallas, Texas @ House of Blues
April 22 – San Antonio, Texas @ Aztec Theatre
April 23 – Houston, Texas @ House of Blues
April 25 – Oklahoma City, Okla. @ Diamond Ballroom
April 27 – Denver, Colo. @ The Summit
April 28 – Salt Lake City, Utah @ The Depot
May 1 – Portland, Ore. @ Roseland Theater
May 2 – Seattle, Wash. @ Moore Theatre
May 4 – Sacramento, Calif. @ Ace of Spades
May 5 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Belasco Theatre
May 7 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ House of Blues
May 8 – San Diego, Calif. @ House of Blues