Alice In Chains
riginally as a glam act Diamond Lie then Fuck and Alice 'N' Chains (when the idea occurred to Layne Stanley to form an S&M punk rock band that didn't quite work out that way in the end), Alice In Chains act was founded by main songwriters Layne Stanley (vocals) and Jerry Cantrell (guitar/vocals). They soon after adopted the more marketable Alice In Chains name and recruited the rest of the band in the form of Sean Kenney (drums/percussion/megaphone) and Michael Starr (ex-Sado; bass) to release their debut Facelift in 1990, an album that received widespread critical approval even though it took a while for it to climb the charts to settle out at 42 in the UK Bolstered by the arrival of Nirvana and Soundgarden, Alice In Chains rose on the wave of the grunge movement to the success of Dirt in 1992 making 6 UK/42 US The album itself yielded 4 hits when spun off as singles such as Them Bones, Would?, Angry Chair and Down In A Hole each making top 30 or better. With the rise of the brief popularity of the acoustic set, Alice In Chains delivered with the EP Jar Of Flies (1994), a stripped down mini-CD and the first to ever make it on the US charts; and did it ever, making 1 in the UK and a 4 in the US.
When Stanley formed the Gacy Bunch (then renamed to Mad Season) with other grunge super-stars Mike McCready (of Pearl Jam; guitar), Barrett Martin (of Screaming Trees; drums) and Layne Staley (vocals) to create the one-off Above (1995) rumors were abound about the act's demise but Alice In Chains in full membership formation returned with a vengeance to release their self-titled album in 1995, an album that gave them their second US 1 (37 UK). The MTV Unplugged acoustic live set came next in 1996 making them one of the few acts to produce an album in that series.
The group took a rest at this point, so Cantrell branched out on his own with a self-titled side project featuring the membership of himself with drummer Sean Kinney, a set of bassists over time including Mike Inez (ex-Ozzy Osbourne) Rex Brown (of Pantera) and Norwood Fisher (of Fishbone), Les Claypool (of Primus) and guest Angelo Moore (of Fishbone) on sax to complete the one-off Boggy Depot in 1998 that got a 28 US. The disc featured a track heard on the Jim Carrey movie The Cable Guy.
After the vacation, the act returned with Nothing Safe (1999), a "best of..." compilation but the death of the grunge movement meant this one had to struggle to repeat the successes of the past. Live (2002), a live set, was their last for the future of the act was now very much in question after Stayley was found dead in his apartment on April 19th 2002; two weeks after his actual death! He was discovered dead when his accountant noticed no transactions in his bank accounts for that period. The police were called and busted in to discover him. He overdosed on haroin and cocaine. Cantrell dedicated his 2002 solo album, released two months after Staley's death, to his memory.
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 in 2004. The band featured Damageplan vocalist Pat Lachman, as well as other special guests including Maynard James Keenan of Tool and Ann Wilson of Heart. Soon after, the band re-formed for real. On March 10, 2006, the surviving members performed at VH1's Decades rock Live concert, honoring fellow Seattle musicians Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart.
DuVall joined as lead singer during the band's reunion concerts in 2006. Duff McKagan again joined the band for the reunion tour, playing rhythm guitar on selected songs.
Black Gives Way to Blue (2009) would come next.
On March 8, 2011, former bassist Mike Starr was found dead at his home in Salt Lake City in what is suspected to be an overdose of methadone and anxiety medication.
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here appeared in 2013.
In January 2015, the band performed in the halftime show of the NFC Championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Cantrell is a lifelong Seahawks fan and often attends their games.
In December 2016, the band released a cover of the Rush song, Tears.
Rainier Fog would arrive in 2018.
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Alice in Chains on tour.
Photo by: Jenya Campbell
CC BY-SA 2.0
|Active Years||1987-1999, 2005-|
|RRCA File Code||UC000012|