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Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell on Loss of Chris Cornell + Chester Bennington: ‘It’s Family and It Hurts’

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The loss of both Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington this year still feels rather surreal as fans and artists continue to reflect on the pair of tragedies. In an interview on The Rich Eisen Show, Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell spoke about the deaths of the singers and offered up his thoughts on depression and addiction while speaking from personal experience.

“It’s been a horrible year and it’s really unfortunate to have lost those guys because they were both great people, both very good friends and amazing talents. It still doesn’t seem real,” Cantrell told Eisen. “It’s just an unexpected thing and we’ve been through it personally [with Alice in Chains], so we kind of know what that’s all about,” the guitarist added, referring to the death of singer Layne Staley. “All you can really do is just let everybody know that you love them and be there for them and also to remember them in a good light instead of bad moment. Because they had great lives and they were quality people,” he continued.

The loss of Cornell cut deep within the grunge scene especially, which already suffered the loss of Nirvana‘s Kurt Cobain and Stone Temple Pilots legend Scott Weiland. “We had so many landmark moments in life together with Chris,” said Cantrell, going on, “And I didn’t know Chester as well, but we’ve done a lot of charity work with he and his band’s charity. It’s really sad to see that sort of thing happen. You just try to be there for them and to be supportive.”

“I think everybody has dark thoughts,” stated the guitarist. Talking about his own struggles, Cantrell detailed, “I think depression and addiction and many other issues, they’re all linked. I have some of them myself. I’m an alcoholic as well, so I’ve dealt with a lot of those issues myself and we’ve lost a lot of friends and bandmates to that. But there are a lot of people that get through, that deal, and so, I guess, basically [we] are trying to reach out to them and also to be an example of ‘you can walk through that.’ Because a lot of people were there for us when we walked through our thing. So it’s family and it hurts and I’m really gonna miss them.”

Last week, Linkin Park revealed their intentions of honoring Bennington at a special public event in Los Angeles. No details have emerged since the announcement was made, but the band thanked the fans for the “tremendous outpouring of love, which has strengthened our spirit during this incredibly difficult time.”

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