Jerry Cantrell said he got a guitar back that was gifted to him by Eddie Van Halen after it was stolen and missing for nearly two decades.
Cantrell became friends with the guitar icon when Alice In Chains opened up for Van Halen on their For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge tour in 1991 and 1992. Following the tour, EVH sent Cantrell a ton of gear, including a couple of guitars and an entire guitar rig.
“…Honestly, those two EVH guitars mean the world to me,” Cantrell told Guitar World. “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 continued, “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!”
Cantrell got to tell Van Halen he got the guitar back before he died and recalled the conversation they had about it.
“Yeah, I remember giving Eddie a call saying, ‘Dude, do you remember that f—in’ guitar that got stolen, the Goldtop you gave me? I got that thing back!'” said Cantrell. “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 s— back!'”
He added, “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!”