Rockstars have quite the reputation for having wild and crazy lifestyles, so it may not come as too much of a surprise that the Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell has candidly spoken about setting a guitar on fire in an effort to make it look cool.
Chatting to Dean Delray on Let There Be Talk, Cantrell revealed that he burnt a Gibson Les Paul guitar with a torch. Cantrell said that the intention of lighting the guitar on fire was to give it a unique finish.
“Torched it. That was done on Gardiner in an apartment building out on my little lanai out there so that I didn’t choke myself from the fumes,” Cantrell explained.
“And the interesting part of that is – the old finish on those Gibson Les Pauls was some sort of cellulose – when you light that shit, it starts running like a bonanza map! You get lights in the middle and it just goes – whoosh!”
“So you got to blow them out, you got to light them and then blow them out. And I did it with each one of those dots, and a couple of them got out of control. At least I didn’t burn my apartment.”
The average price for a Les Paul Guitar sits around the $4,000-$5,000 mark. Though Cantrell’s successful enough to risk the chance of having a mishap and burning a guitar now, this wasn’t always the way.
“The first guitar I ever wanted [was] when I was in eighth grade, and my brother and I were fighting like hell, and I think we were having a little bit of tough times financially,” Cantrell shared.
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He told the interviewer that he had his heart set on a Les Paul electric guitar from a young age.
“I wanted one of those, so for Christmas, you had your little Christmas list, you made your list and you put it on your door so your parents could see, and I cut out a picture of a Les Paul and I put it on the paper.
“And I just wrote on the top, ‘This is all I want.’ Leading up to Christmas, a big present showed up under there, that was kind of triangular in shape. I’m like, ‘Oh my god, they got it for me!’ He fucking got me a Les Paul!
“And so for a week or whatever it was leading up to Christmas, I thought I was actually getting one. And it comes Christmas day, open up the shit, it’s an acoustic guitar, a little shitty guitar.
“So my dad’s really excited because he got me a guitar, that’s what I wanted, but it’s not a Les Paul, and I was the shitty kid, ‘I wanted the Les Paul!’ He goes, ‘You get fucking good on that and I’ll buy you a Les Paul. But learn how to fucking play that first!'”
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