Thursday, April 30, 2009

Band for the day - Alice in Chains

1987. The wonderful year marked with the birth of Alice in Chains. It all started in Seattle,WA at a party. It just so happened that an extremely talented guitarist named Jerry Cantrell was attending this party along with the man that sings like a lark, Layne Staley. At that time, Layne was involved in a glam band which was growing stale. When he met and hit it off with Jerry that night, Jerry threw out the brilliant idea that they should start a band together. Layne agreed. Now there were two. Jerry knew a man by the name of Mike Starr who agreed to play bass for the new band. Now all they needed was a drummer. (Layne could play of course, but as you know, he enjoys vocals) Luckily, Mike introduced the others to Sean Kinney, a crazy drummer who was dating Mike's sister.

They decided to call their band Alice 'n Chains. (The name was supposedly spawed from a crazy idea about the group dressing in drag and playing). The monumental date of their first gig was on August 5, 1987.
After that, they were briefly known as Diamond Lie and played a few shows sparking the takeoff of their music. Of course they ended up calling themselves Alice In Chains.

Later in 1987 they signed with Columbia Records. Their first EP titled "We Die Young" was released in 1990 and is currently a rare collectors item. A few months after that, they released their first full length album called "Facelift".The release of this album sent their debut song "We Die Young" to the top.
Westminister, CA was their first U.S. tour date which happened a few months after Facelift's release. In Seattle, the December 22 show sold out. It was, though, filmed and released as Live Facelift.

Their first American Music Award nomination happened in January of 1991 when they were up for Favorite Heavy Metal Artist. Sadly, they lost."Man In The Box" was their first single which they released. This was their first exposure on MTV.
Alice In Chains made a movie debut in the film "Singles" where they played the song "Would?" in a bar. They then toured with Megadeth in Europe for the first time. They received a Grammy nomination for the "Best Heavy Metal Performance". Sadly, they lost again. Next up for AIC was the "Clash of the Titans" tour with Slayer. They then had time to make their television debut with ABC for their "In Concert" show.

After that they accompanied Van Halen on a 4 month tour.Facelift went gold around September of 1991. During their tour break in November, they recorded their second EP. The album was titled SAP, a name given to it by Sean Kinney. He had a dream about the group making an album and naming it SAP because it was "sappy". Spring 1992 was some well deserved off-time for AIC. They soon began recording Dirt, though. It was released in September. "Would?" was the first single released. "Angry Chair" followed. At this point,Layne broke his foot, but completed the tour with Ozzy using a wheelchair or crutches. (He didn't miss a date!) A tour shirt had an X-ray of Layne's fractured foot on it. Lollapalooza was the main focus of the summer 1993.

After this, they recorded their new EP- Jar Of Flies.They then began the Down In Your Hole tour- a six week speedy tour. At this point, "Down In A Hole" was released as a single. A video was shot for this song as well. Finally, "Them Bones" was released as single number four from "Dirt". The cool film "Last Action Hero" was in theatres along with two unreleased Alice in Chains songs- "What The Hell Have I?" and "A Little Bitter". A video was shot for "What The Hell Have I?"
AIC recorded their third full length album in April of 1995.

After nearly four months, the result was a harder heavier album originally named "Tripod". (third full length album, three legged dog and man) The dog on the cover was inspired from a dog that would chase Sean when he was delivering papers as a child. The album ended up self titled. It was released in November 1995 and debuted number one on the Billboard chart. They were nominated for a Grammy once again, and once again they lost.
1996 found AIC performing on Saturday Night Special, David Letterman, and a show for MTV Unplugged.They opened four shows for KISS on their reunion tour as well.


The Unforturnate Death of Lead Singer Layne Staley -- 1967-2002

Alice in Chains' Layne Staley died from a mixture of heroin and cocaine, an autopsy and toxicology report revealed Monday. Laboratory results determined the singer died April 5, according to a spokesperson for the King County medical examiner's office, the same day fellow grunge pioneer Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994. Staley was found dead two weeks later, surrounded by intravenous drug paraphernalia in his Seattle apartment.

The death certificate reads Staley's death resulted from "an acute intoxication due to the combined effects of opiate (heroin) and cocaine." The death was classified as "accidental."
The lethal combination goes by the name "speedball" in drug circles. The same ingredients contributed to the deaths of comedian John Belushi in 1982 and actor River Phoenix in 1993.

Information from -


Reunion (2005-present)

In 2005, Jerry Cantrell, Mike Inez, and Sean Kinney reunited to perform a benefit concert in Seattle for victims of the tsunami disaster that struck south Asia. The band featured Damageplan vocalist Pat Lachman, with other special guests including Wes Scantlin of Puddle of Mudd, Maynard James Keenan of Tool, and Ann Wilson of Heart.

On March 6, 2006, the surviving members performed at VH1's Decades Rock Live concert, honoring fellow Seattle musicians Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. They played "Would?" with Pantera and Down vocalist Phil Anselmo, and Duff McKagan of Guns n' Roses and Velvet Revolver, then they played "Rooster" with William DuVall and Ann Wilson. The band followed the concert with a short United States club tour, several festival dates in Europe, and a brief tour in Japan. To coincide with the band's reunion, Sony Music released the long delayed third Alice in Chains compilation, The Essential Alice in Chains, a double album that includes 28 songs.

Comes with the Fall vocalist William DuVall joined Alice in Chains as lead singer during the band's reunion concerts. Velvet Revolver and ex-Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan also joined the band for the reunion tour, playing rhythm guitar on selected songs. Before the tour, Kinney mentioned in an interview that he would be interested in writing new material, but not as Alice in Chains.

However, reported that the band has begun writing new material, with DuVall on lead vocals. reported in September 2008 that Alice in Chains would enter the studio that October to begin recording a new album for a summer 2009 release. On October 23, 2008, the band began recording it at the Foo Fighters' Studio 606 in L.A. with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush, Stone Sour, Trivium, Shadows Fall, Death Angel). Guitarist Jerry Cantrell recently told Revolver Golden God Awards that Alice in Chains had finished recording the album on March 18th, which happened to be his 43rd birthday, and were in the process of mixing it for a September release.

On April 25, 2009, it was reported that the new Alice in Chains album would be released on their new label Virgin/EMI, making it the band's first label change in their 20-plus year career. In April, the band confirmed that the album would be released in September, with a blog post from the band expressing the hope that "these songs will strike a chord and make a similar impact on all of you out there that were moved by this band in the first place."

In September 2008, it was announced that Alice in Chains would headline Australia's Soundwave Festival in 2009, alongside Nine Inch Nails and Lamb of God. In February 2009, it was also announced that Alice in Chains would play at the third annual Rock on the Range festival.

Info from:

Upcoming Performance Dates:

  • May 16 2009 - 12:00p Rock on the Range Columbus, Ohio
  • Aug 1 2009 - 8:00p Marlay Park Dublin
  • Aug 2 2009 - 8:00p Sonishpere Festival Knebworth, East

Merchandise, updates, blogs, etc at their website :

Facelift -1990

Dirt - 1992

Sap - 1992

Jar of flies - 1994

Alice in Chains - 1995

Unplugged - 1996

Music Bank - 1999

Nothing Sage - 1999

Greatest Hits - 2001

The Essential Alice in Chains - 2004

Next album coming soon in 2009

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