Monday, March 15, 2010

Jerry Cantrell Gets an Emergency Steak Knife Tracheotomy: Final Chapter, Tales of Brave Mark Lanegan

I went to high school with Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell (he graduated one year ahead of me). We sang in choir together, and spent a lot of time talking music: He was one of the few headbangers during that halcyon time (ahem, the early eighties) that didn't grimace when you mentioned The Clash or The Sex Pistols.

We even partied together some: One of the most surreal things I ever saw after an all-night party was Jerry in the front yard of Kevin Yeagher's parents' house as the sun rose, sitting hunched over like some zen gargoyle. Beads of morning dew peppered his serenely sleeping-sitting-up form like spiders' eggs as steam rose from the grass. It was a strange and humorous vision that always stuck with me, and we had a good laugh about it the following week in choir class.

The last time we bumped into one another was at the taping of MTV's New Years' Show somewhere around 1993. Cypress Hill, The Breeders, and Nirvana headlined; Jerry was a VIP guest, natch; and I was a Production Assistant. We hadn't seen each other in about seven years, and I was sporting regulation shoulder-length grunge hair and thirty additional post-collegiate pounds. But he recognized me and called me over to introduce me to (I think) Alice bandmate Mike Inez and chat for a few minutes. Even in the flush of fame (this was right after Dirt had made the guy a star, for Chrissake) he was still the same laid-back, unpretentious, friendly guy he was in high school. Word has it that he's still that way, too.

All of this is apropos of nothing, except as a segue into this silly cartoon. Click images to enlarge.

Incidentally, thanks to the Internets (and my own dumb luck and detective work), I'm now reconnected with Tales of Brave Mark Lanegan Grunge-era Greek Chorus Dan Troy after eleven years. He's living happily in Davis, CA with a wife and two scrappy grade-school-age sons. This strip--and a bottle of Snapple--are lovingly dedicated to you, mi amigo.

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