Imagine Eddie Van Halen giving you an EVH guitar only to have it stolen. That’s exactly what happened to Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell but, thankfully, this story has a happy ending. Even better, Cantrell was able to share the good news with Eddie himself.
Back in 1991 Alice in Chains was chosen as the opening act for Van Halen. Cantrell said Eddie ended up gifting him with two EVH guitars and an entire rig. One of those guitars was stolen in 2002 but, thankfully, Cantrell was able to get it back almost two decades later and share the news with Eddie. Below are Cantrell’s comments to Guitar World:
We loved that story about you supporting Van Halen on tour and coming back to find he’d sent you a couple of guitars and an entire rig as a gift…
“Yeah, that was 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.
“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. 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].”
“Yeah! And honestly, those two EVH guitars mean the world to me. One of them was the Goldtop that went missing when I was making [2002 solo album] Degradation Trip. Somebody lifted it out of the A&M studio.
“I just got it back a few years ago – 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. 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!”
You must have been over the moon! Did you ever tell Eddie?
“Yeah, I remember giving Eddie a call saying, ‘Dude, do you remember that fuckin’ guitar that got stolen, the Goldtop you gave me? I got that thing back!’ And he was like, ‘No way… how long had it been?’ I told him and he said, ‘Man, I’m really happy for you, I never get any of my stolen shit back!’
“And then I told him, ‘Man, you’re Eddie Van Halen… if I had some of your gear, I might not give it back either!’ And we laughed and he was like, ‘Yeah, okay man, well I’m happy for you and really glad you got it back!’ I’m looking at it right now… it’s sat on my couch.”
You can read Cantrell’s entire interview with Guitar World’s Amit Sharma HERE.
Watch MTV Special From 1991 On Alice in Chains & Van Halen