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Alice In Chains

In many ways, Alice in Chains was the definitive heavy metal band of the early '90s. Drawing equally from the heavy riffing of post-Van Halen metal and the gloomy strains of post-punk, the band developed a bleak, nihilistic sound that balanced grinding hard rock with subtly textured acoustic numbers. They were hard enough for metal fans, yet their dark subject matter and punky attack placed them among the front ranks of the Seattle-based grunge bands. While this dichotomy helped the group soar to multi-platinum status with their second album, 1992's Dirt, it also divided them. Guitarist Jerry Cantrell always leaned toward the mainstream, while vocalist Layne Staley was fascinated with the seamy underground. Such tension drove the band toward stardom in their early years, but following Dirt, Alice in Chains suffered from near-crippling internal tensions that kept the band off the road for the remainder of the '90s and, consequently, the group never quite fulfilled their potential.

Staley formed the initial incarnation of the band while in high school in the mid-'80s, naming the group Alice N Chains. Staley met Cantrell in 1987 at the Seattle rehearsal warehouse the Music Bank and the two began working together, changing the group's name to Alice in Chains. Cantrell's friends Mike Starr (bass) and Sean Kinney (drums) rounded out the lineup, and the band began playing local Seattle clubs. Columbia Records signed the group in 1989 and the label quickly made the band a priority, targeting heavy metal audiences. Early in 1990, the label released the We Die Young EP as a promotional device and the song became a hit on metal radio, setting the stage for the summer release of the group's debut, Facelift. Alice in Chains supported the album by opening for Van Halen, Poison, and Iggy Pop, and it became a hit, going gold by the end of the year. As the band prepared their second album, they released the largely acoustic EP Sap in 1991 to strong reviews.

Prior to the release of Alice in Chains' second album, Seattle became a media sensation thanks to the surprise success of Nirvana. As a result, Alice was now marketed as an alternative band, not as a metal outfit, and the group landed a song, the menacing "Would?," on the Singles soundtrack during the summer of 1992. "Would?" helped build anticipation for Dirt, the group's relentlessly bleak second album that was released in the fall of 1992 to very good reviews. Following its release, Starr left and was replaced by Mike Inez. Dirt went platinum by the end of 1992, but its gloomy lyrics launched many rumors that Staley was addicted to heroin. Alice in Chains soldiered on in the face of such criticism, performing successfully on the third Lollapalooza tour in 1993, which helped Dirt reach sales of three million.

The band released the low-key EP Jar of Flies in early 1994. It debuted at number one upon its release, becoming the first EP to top the album charts. Despite the band's continued success, they stayed off the road, which fueled speculation that Staley was mired in heroin addiction. Later that year, Staley did give a few concerts as part of the Gacy Bunch, a Seattle supergroup also featuring Pearl Jam's Mike McCready, the Screaming Trees' Barrett Martin, and John Saunders. The group subsequently renamed itself Mad Season and released Above in early 1995. Later that year, Alice in Chains re-emerged with an eponymous third album, which debuted at number one on the American charts. Again, the band chose not to tour, which launched yet another round of speculation that the band was suffering from various addictions and were on the verge of disbanding. The group did give one concert -- their first in three years -- in 1996, performing for an episode of MTV Unplugged, which was released as an album that summer. Despite its success, the album did nothing to dispel doubts about the group's future and neither did Cantrell's solo album, Boggy Depot, in 1998.

Cantrell basically released Boggy Depot because he couldn't get Staley to work, but its very existence -- and the presence of Inez and Kinney on the record, not to mention Alice producer Toby Wright -- seemed to confirm that the group was on moratorium at best, and defunct at worst. Staley, for his part, stayed quiet, conceding his spot on Mad Season's second album to Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan. In 1999, Sony put together a three-disc Alice in Chains box set, Music Bank, divided between the group's best work and assorted rarities. At the turn of the new millennium, Columbia Records issued Live, which plucked material from bootlegs, demos, and festival shows covering the years 1990, 1993, and 1996.

As if the group hadn't been repackaged as many times as possible with its limited repertoire, a ten-track best-of set, Greatest Hits, appeared in July 2001. With no sign of the group reclaiming their spot atop the alt-metal heap (and such copycat acts as Godsmack, Days of the New, Puddle of Mudd, and Creed taking the Alice in Chains formula to the top of the charts), Cantrell completed his sophomore solo effort, Degradation Trip, in 2002. But just two months before the album's release, in April 2002, the news that every Alice in Chains fan had been fearing for years had finally come to pass: Layne Staley was found dead due to a lethal overdose of cocaine and heroin. (Former bassist Mike Starr also battled his own addictions through the years, and in fact appeared on the VH1 reality show Celebrity Rehab in 2010; Starr continued to fight chemical dependency until his death in March 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah.) Although understandably grief-stricken, Cantrell launched his solo album's supporting tour according to schedule, opting to open shows in the summer for another Alice in Chains-influenced band, Nickelback. Alice in Chains spent the next few years in limbo, eventually reuniting in 2005 for a benefit show with Damageplan vocalist Pat Lachman filling in for the deceased Staley. After rotating through a handful of different singers, the group eventually settled on Comes with the Fall vocalist William DuVall, who appeared on the group's 2009 comeback record Black Gives Way to Blue.

Black Gives Way to Blue was a successful comeback, debuting at five on the Billboard 200 and going gold in the U.S. and Canada, while racking up two Grammy nominations. The group toured into 2010 and then in 2011 set to work on another album, titled The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, which arrived in the summer of 2013. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Tears (Single)

1. Tears

x

Track List: Again

1. Again

2. Again (Trip Hop Mix)

x

Track List: Again (Remixed)

1. Again (Club Mix)

2. Again (Tattoo Of Pain Mix)

3. Again

x

Track List: The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

1. Hollow

2. Pretty Done

3. Stone

4. Voices

5. The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

6. Lab Monkey

7. Low Ceiling

8. Breath On A Window

9. Scalpel

10. Phantom Limb

11. Hung On A Hook

12. Choke

x

Track List: Stone (Single)

3. Stone

x

Track List: Black Gives Way To Blue

1. All Secrets Known

2. Check My Brain

3. Last Of My Kind

4. Your Decision

5. A Looking In View

6. When The Sun Rose Again

7. Acid Bubble

9. Take Her Out

10. Private Hell

11. Black Gives Way To Blue.

x

Track List: Check My Brain (Radio Single)

1. Check My Brain

x

Track List: A Looking In View (Radio Single)

1. A Looking In View

x

Track List: The Essential Alice In Chains

Disc 1

1. We Die Young

2. Man In The Box

3. Sea Of Sorrow

4. Love, Hate, Love

5. Am I Inside

6. Brother

7. Got Me Wrong

8. Right Turn

9. Rain When I Die

10. Them Bones

11. Angry Chair

12. Dam That River

13. Dirt

14. God Smack

15. Hate To Feel

16. Rooster

Disc 2

1. No Excuses

2. I Stay Away

3. What The Hell Have I (Remix)

4. A Little Bitter (Remix)

5. Grind

6. Heaven Beside You

7. Again

8. Over Now (Alternate Version) (live)

9. Nutshell (Alternate Version) (live)

10. Get Born Again

11. Died

12. Would?

x

Track List: Greatest Hits

1. Man In The Box

2. Them Bones

3. Rooster

4. Angry Chair

5. Would?

6. No Excuses

7. I Stay Away

8. Grind

9. Heaven Beside You

10. Again

x

Track List: Music Bank

Disc 1

1. Get Born Again

2. I Can't Have You Blues (Demo)

3. Whatcha Gonna Do (Demo)

4. Social Parasite (Demo)

5. Queen Of The Rodeo (Live)

6. Bleed The Freak (Demo)

7. Killing Yourself (Demo)

8. We Die Young

9. Man In The Box

10. Sea Of Sorrow (Demo)

11. I Can't Remember

12. Love, Hate, Love

13. It Ain't Like That

14. Confusion

15. Rooster (Demo)

16. Right Turn

17. Got Me Wrong

Disc 2

1. Rain When I Die

2. Fear The Voices

3. Them Bones

4. Dam That River

5. Sickman

6. Rooster

7. Junkhead (Demo)

8. Dirt

9. God Smack

10. Iron Gland

11. Angry Chair

12. Lying Season

13. Would?

14. Brother

15. Am I Inside

16. I Stay Away

17. No Excuses

Disc 3

1. Down In A Hole

2. Hate To Feel

3. What The Hell Have I (Remix)

4. A Little Bitter (Remix)

5. Grind

6. Again (Tattoo Of Pain Mix)

7. Head Creeps

8. God Am

9. Frogs

10. Heaven Beside You

11. Nutshell (Unplugged)

12. The Killer Is Me (Unplugged)

13. Over Now (Unplugged)

14. Died

x

Track List: Nothing Safe - The Best Of The Box

1. Get Born Again

2. We Die Young

3. Man In The Box

4. Them Bones

6. Angry Chair

7. Down In A Hole

10. No Excuses

11. I Stay Away

12. What The Hell Have I

13. Grind

14. Again

15. Would?

x

Track List: Alice In Chains

1. Grind

2. Brush Away

3. Sludge Factory

4. Heaven Beside You

5. Head Creeps

6. Again

7. Shame In You

8. God Am

9. So Close

10. Nothin' Song

11. Frogs

12. Over Now

x

Track List: Jar Of Flies

1. Rotten Apple

2. Nutshell

3. I Stay Away

4. No Excuses

5. Whale & Wasp

6. Don't Follow

7. Swing On This

x

Track List: Dirt

1. Them Bones

2. Dam That River

3. Rain When I Die

4. Down In A Hole

5. Sickman

6. Rooster

7. Junkhead

8. Dirt

9. God Smack

10. (Untitled)

11. Hate To Feel

12. Angry Chair

13. Would?

x

Track List: Sap

1. Brother

2. Got Me Wrong

3. Right Turn

4. Am I Inside

5. Love Song

x

Track List: Facelift

1. We Die Young

2. Man In The Box

3. Sea Of Sorrow

4. Bleed The Freak

5. I Can't Remember

6. Love, Hate, Love

7. It Ain't Like That

8. Sunshine

9. Put You Down

10. Confusion

11. I Know Somethin (Bout You)

12. Real Thing

x

Track List: Hollow (Single)

1. Hollow

Comments

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AIC is a super band !
Report as inappropriate
Yea thats what yea
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3-legged dog...
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irish26144
AWESOME ;))
Report as inappropriate
Never gets old Layne was the best
Report as inappropriate
Love the song and band though was listening to much heavier stuff and rooster diddnt fit killed the mood kind of
Report as inappropriate
Good song yes but how is this considerd power metal at most its grunge metal
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battleship99
Great song, timeless !
Report as inappropriate
This is an EXCELLENT song by an EXCEL
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Nutshell is one of the best learning it on guitar its one of those songs that never gets old.
Report as inappropriate
I see people screaming for attention here , go talk to dad an mom first ,then come back
Report as inappropriate
I love alice in chains alot like my second dad.
Report as inappropriate
justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
No replacement for Layne. Period
Report as inappropriate
nicolepeace7 7
My favorite band since middle school. Never the same after Layne Staley passed away.
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kelleylinda8 4 0
❤❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
bones, them B ones roll if u like
Report as inappropriate
ROCK N' ROLL MAN , SCREAMING

FOR ATTENTION , ACCEPTANCE,

WE'RE LIVING A TABOO LIFESTYLE

Report as inappropriate
I will never stop loving Lane. Best band ever
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Hell yeah
Report as inappropriate
Brings back the good old days!!
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Yup
As of now.
Report as inappropriate
zoeblue
You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of you love. Now that you started reading this don't stop. This is so freaky but if you ignore it you'll have bad luck. Post this in 10 songs in the next 143 minutes when your done press the space bar and your crushes name will appear on the screen, this is freaky. It actually works.
Report as inappropriate
Still the best
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Alice in chains my fave band.
Report as inappropriate
Soundgarden takes me back to living in Seattle,SanF r a n s i s c o .
How I wish I stayed the only thing do not think I would have been alive now....memor i e s of hanging out in Stephens pass,with Alice and Chains.
Wow,is all I can say
Report as inappropriate
Tolerate Alice. Maybe next be slayer or pantera
Report as inappropriate
21dparsons
Look up rush in the artist category. These rip offs stole there logo for TEARS
Report as inappropriate
I was born in 1957. The 90's was a great time in my life. I was making a lot of money. Legally. Driving a Mustang GT. Even had a son in 1995. Married and f**king young girls on the side. I'm not proud of that. But it's fact. Alice In Chains, along with The Stone Temple Pilots was a reason for a great decade.
Report as inappropriate
I was born in 1857. The 90's were a great time in my life. I was making a lot of money, driving a Mustang GT. Even had a son in 1995. Married and f**king young girls on the side. Although I'm not proud of that. But it's fact. Alice In Chains, along with Stone Temple Pilots was a reason for a great decade.
Report as inappropriate
nicocamp02
Alice In Chains made the best Grunge Album Ever,DIRT!
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No Doubt been there... They where playing grunge early Saturday morning in the Market Place across from Pikes Place on the Sea Wall....That City Rocks!
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I'm moving to Seattle the people are cool there.
Report as inappropriate
This is classic Alice in chains, and at their finest! This song, rooster is probably my favorite song by this Kick-A** Seattle, Washington based band. Alice in Chains rocks a**! & this song Totally kicks a**! I dedicate it to miss Lake Tahoe, this jams for you because u love rooster 2! It totally rocks a**, and so does Alice in Chains people! Awesome Jam, kick a** Rock N Rock Band! Rock on!
Report as inappropriate
kelleylinda8 4 0
❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
jamieb12871
I didn't listen 2 anything but AIC/PANTERA FROM '91→AFTER ALL THE REAL '80's metal was mostly gone
Report as inappropriate
♡♡♡♡♡♡♡
Report as inappropriate
I could see Zakk Wyild doing a cover of that song ,if hasn't done it already.
Report as inappropriate
jamieb12871
Yeah could never tell the guys in PANTERA that AIC gave me a few more chillz(♪) but I had heard DARRELL @least 200 times so a little spoiled maybe ...great the only 2 X I saw these guys !!!
I staaay awaay
Report as inappropriate
Sure do miss you, brother. ��
Report as inappropriate
Such an awesome Kick-A** Rockin jam by Alice in Chains. Its from their Dirt album, which is in my opinion their best album still to this day. Its classic Alice in Chains at their finestt! & this song would, totally rocks a**! & is one of my all-time favorites by Alice in Chains. I dedicate this Jam to Shannon, I agree with you, this is one of their best songs ever! Alice in Chains kicks a** America! Rest in peace Layne, gone but never forgotten. You live on in this awesome music you helped crea
Report as inappropriate
Most would agree that our taste in music changes when you get older.... Not sure that's gonna happen.
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A great talent forever lost. R.I.P beautiful Angel.
Report as inappropriate
I've seen rush four times trust me this is not coverno offense or disrespect to rush but maybe Rob should go to the rush station
Report as inappropriate
Yeah Rob doesn't know what he's really talking about
Report as inappropriate
mjmathison
Rob, this isn't a Rush cover. AiC wrote and recorded it in 1994 for Jar of Flies. Staind covered it later.
Report as inappropriate
AIC - Rooster is hands down the best song ever made..
Report as inappropriate
A great cover of Rush!!
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A Great Rush Cover!!
Report as inappropriate
This is music! The radio rock these days SUCKS!
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