How Alice in Chains Have Endured Since Layne Staley’s Demise

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On April 5, 2002, Layne StaleyAlice in Chains singer and one of many defining voices of grunge, died on the age of 34.

He had lengthy battled dependancy, going into and out of rehab however hardly ever remaining sober for an prolonged interval. By the point of his loss of life, Staley had turn out to be a recluse. It had been six years since his last efficiency – an Alice in Chains gig opening for Kiss on July 3, 1996. His physique wasn’t discovered till weeks after a deadly overdose.

In some ways, the members of Alice in Chains had already begun transferring on earlier than Staley’s loss of life. Jerry Cantrell – the band’s lead guitarist, co-singer and first songwriter – launched his first solo album in 1998. A follow-up, Degradation Journey, arrived simply a few months after Staley’s loss of life. Cantrell additionally collaborated with a variety of artists, together with an look on Metallica‘s 1998 album Storage Inc.

Likewise, drummer Sean Kinney had additionally made visitor appearances on different artists’ songs through the years, working with Metallica and Johnny Money, in addition to contributing to Cantrell’s solo materials. In the meantime, bassist Mike Inez – who additionally performed on Cantrell’s solo work – contributed to It is 5 O’Clock Someplace, the 1995 debut album from Slash’s Snakepit, the aspect venture of Weapons N’ Roses guitarist Slash.

So every musician was persevering with down their respective paths within the late ‘90s, whereas nonetheless tethered to Alice in Chains. Staley’s 2002 loss of life appeared to indicate the band’s finish. Or so it appeared.

Watch an MTV Information Report Saying Layne Staley’s Demise

“Layne’s loss of life because of dependancy was one thing that gutted us, and the band thought-about themselves over at that time,” the group’s longtime supervisor, Susan Silver, recalled to Pollstar. “However they’d by no means damaged up despite the fact that they hadn’t performed collectively for 9 years. … We couldn’t think about these guys being onstage collectively with out Layne.”

On Feb. 18, 2005, Alice in Chains’ remaining members reunited for a charity occasion, serving to elevate help for victims of the tsunami catastrophe that had struck South Asia. The efficiency featured a rotating record of visitor singers, together with Maynard James Keenan of Device and Coronary heart’s Ann Wilson.

“Extra emotion was skilled that night time than any of us anticipated,” Silver admitted. “To see them taking part in once more, and for them to be taking part in collectively once more, was overwhelming.”

The profit present lit a spark among the many remaining Alice in Chains members, who agreed they wished to play extra reveals to see if a reunited lineup might proceed.

“We’re not interested by stepping on [Staley’s] wealthy legacy,” Cantrell instructed MTV on the time. “It is a powerful factor to undergo. Do you are taking the Led Zeppelin method and by no means play once more, as a result of the man was that vital?” the guitarist contemplated, alluding to Zeppelin’s 1980 breakup following the loss of life of drummer John Bonham. “That is the method we have taken for lots of years. Or do you give it a shot, strive one thing? We’re keen to take an opportunity on it. It is utterly a reunion as a result of the three of us who’re left are again collectively. But it surely’s not about separating and forgetting — it is about remembering and transferring on.”

Realizing they nonetheless had the will to be a band, the surviving trio acknowledged the necessity for a extra everlasting substitute singer. Enter William DuVall, whom Cantrell had befriended a number of years earlier when engaged on Degradation Journey.

Watch Alice in Chains Carry out With Coronary heart and Duff McKagan in 2006

“I preferred him proper off the bat,” Cantrell admitted throughout a dialogue with Lars Ulrich on Apple Music’s It’s Electrical. “And so when the dialog got here up between Mike and Sean and I, I used to be like, ‘I feel I do know a man to name.’ And so I invited him down and we performed, and the primary music I feel we performed collectively was ‘Love, Hate, Love.’ And that is an enormous piece to chunk off. And he fucking nailed it. Sean and Mike regarded over at me, and so they’re like, ‘Yeah, OK, I feel this man might be good,’ you already know? And in order that’s how all the things began.”

A number of dates grew to become a tour, and one tour led to the following. Alongside the way in which, the band made positive to repeatedly honor Staley’s reminiscence. With DuVall within the fold, they weren’t seeking to recreate the electrical energy that they had captured with their former singer however quite construct upon an already formidable legacy.

In 2009, Alice in Chains launched Black Provides Option to Blue, their first album with DuVall. The LP was well-received, reaching gold gross sales and incomes two Grammy nominations. Single “Verify My Mind” even reached the highest of the choice and mainstream rock charts.

Watch Alice in Chain’s ‘Verify My Mind’ Video

“We had been simply hoping to make the most effective document we presumably might, and we did that,” Cantrell famous to Billboard, with Kinney including that the LP mirrored what the band had been by since its final tour with Staley. “Lots has occurred since 1995, loads has occurred in our lives and we’ve by no means talked about it or mentioned it publicly. So a few of that’s what’s addressed [on the album].”

With their focus renewed, Alice in Chains launched two extra albums within the following years: 2013’s The Satan Put Dinosaurs Right here and 2018’s Rainier Fog. The band has additionally saved an lively tour schedule, even having fun with some dates on Gun N’ Roses’ vaunted Not in This Lifetime … tour.

The band’s members have additionally been positive to take care of different initiatives exterior of Alice in Chains. Cantrell launched his fourth solo album, Brighten, in 2021. DuVall put out his first solo LP, One Alone, in 2019. Inez, who spent three years as a member of Coronary heart throughout Alice in Chains’ early ’00s hiatus, recurrently collaborates with the veteran band. Kinney is a component proprietor of the Crocodile, a legendary Seattle music venue that helped spawn a number of the space’s greatest acts.

Whilst Alice in Chains push ahead, Staley stays a vital a part of the band. “He had an actual distinctive and highly effective voice, however he had a sensitivity and contact to it as nicely,” Cantrell famous. In the meantime, Kinney confessed, “He is all the time part of my on a regular basis life. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t consider him.”

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