Rocker Jerry Cantrell’s First Ford Explorer Came with Instant Karma

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Ever had a salesman give you the side eye? Alice in Chains guitarist tells Motor Trend how living well with a new Ford is the best revenge. 

Jerry Cantrell is a rock star, guitar master, and founder of seminal grunge-era rock band Alice in Chains. He’s also a Ford man. Cantrell’s first ride was an early 1990s Ford Explorer. But the story of how he ended up with this SUV is especially badass.

Seattle rockers Alice in Chains had just finished their first major tour, and Cantrell decided it was time to get his first new ride. Cantrell told Motor Trend about the experience. “I remember having cash in the bank to write a check, not put it on a plan, but actually to buy it, and that’s what I wanted to do. That was a sense of pride that I had earned the money to do that and that I could. So that was special, and it’s funny because the first car lot that I walked on, the guy wouldn’t even let me get in the car because of how I looked,” said Cantrell.

Jerry Cantrell

The salesmen, who we really hope is kicking himself right now, saw the long hair, flannel, and leather..and little else.

“I’m like, ‘Dude, are you serious? I’ve got cash to buy a car, a brand-new car. I don’t have to have somebody to cosign it. I need to buy a car,'” Cantrell remembered.


‘It’s funny because the first car lot that I walked on, the guy wouldn’t even let me get in the car because of how I looked.’


But you can’t stop a determined man, as Cantrell recalls. “So I looked across the street—it was an auto row area—and I’m like, ‘You just lost a sale, dude. I’m going to walk across that street, I’m going to buy a car. I’m going to come back over here and I’m going to show it to you.’ And I did. I walked across the street, bought a f–kin’ Ford Explorer, and when I got the paperwork done, I came back by the window and probably flipped him off and then drove off,” Cantrell chuckles.

The SUV proved a good call as the band was based in Seattle, Washington. “It’s pretty much all SUVs, it’s rainy all the time. Sometimes it’s snowy and icy,” Cantrell says. “That’s just the practical ride for everybody in that zone.”

Unfortunately, the SUV didn’t make it for the long haul, hitting black ice and flipping as Cantrell was returning from a Jane’s Addiction concert. But the Ford Explorer served as an awesome first ride, and a cool way to flip off salespeople that judge a rockin’ book by its cover.

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S.J. Bryan is an editor with Ford Truck Enthusiasts and regular contributor to F-150 Online and Harley-Davidson Forums, among other auto sites.

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