Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell
Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell

Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell has been honoured with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award, for his hard work and dedication in helping musicians and artists recover from drug addiction. The award was presented during the eighth annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit held in Los Angeles last week.

The former grunge guitarist, who rose to prominence with his band Alice in Chains in the early 1990s, joins previous winners of this prestigious award, including Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers), James Hetfield (Metallica), Chris Cornell (Soundgarden/Audioslave), Alice Cooper and Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode). A number of other artists, including Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart), Duff McKagan (former Guns N' Roses) and Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees) also performed at the show to show their support. Cantrell, who has remained sober for nine years now, said he was very happy to receive the award.

"It's been an amazing day. It's overwhelming. I'm as imperfect as they come. I just don't get high today and wake up the next morning and try and do the same thing," Rolling Stone magazine quoted Cantrell as saying.

The 46 year old musician's friends, who stood by him through thick and thin, were also proud of Cantrell.

"This is a triumphant night because things have been very dark. We've all hit different kinds of bottom and been there for each other, trying to help each other. 'Send money,' or, 'We need people with cars that are not drunk to drive.' All of those things that you can think of, we probably had it all," Heart lead singer Ann Wilson was quoted by Rolling Stone.

Meanwhile, Cantrell paid homage to the memories of deceased band mates Layne Staley (lead singer; died in 2002) and Mike Starr (bassist; died in 2011). Both Staley and Starr fell victim to drug addiction.

"A lot of people stand and get the f**k back up after falling," Cantrell said, "Some people don't get that chance. My band's been a harsh example of that - what happens when you don't deal with it," quoted Cantrell as saying.

Finally, after accepting the award, Cantrell and his band performed five numbers, including Got Me Wrong and Your Decision, to end the night.

"We really miss Layne and Mike, and we carry them with us in our hearts," said Cantrell, according to Rolling Stone.

MusiCares is an organization which provides help and assistance to musicians and artists at times of need. Emergencies ranging from financial, medical to personal are all covered by this organisation. Also, each case is handled with discretion and confidentiality. The main objective of MusiCares is to focus on human service issues in the music industry for the benefit and welfare of the whole music community.