Saturday, August 18, 2007

Alice In Chains

Alice in Chains is an influential / group that emerged from the scene of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Along with Nirvana , Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, they formed the core of the so-called movement epitomized by distorted guitars, introspective lyrics, and a Northwest Pacific fashion sense of flannel shirts, denim jeans, and Dr. Marten boots. Unlike many of their peers, Alice in Chains owed more to than to or '70s rock, and often dwelled in more morbid subject matter, especially when their lyrics addressed the drug addiction of lead singer Layne Staley

Formed in 1987 by Staley, guitarist Jerry Cantrell, bassist MIKE STARR, and drummer Sean Kinney, the band performed under the names “Diamond Lie” and “Fuck” before adapting the name of Staley’s former band “Alice N’ Chainz” a speed metal outfit that performed in drag. Combining the unique voice and intense delivery of Staley with the evocative songwriting and vocal harmonies of Cantrell, Alice in Chains created an immediately identifiable sound that also proved to be quite versatile as their repertoire grew to include both driving, angry rock songs and mellow acoustic compositions.

The band found commercial and artistic success in the early 90’s, primarily through the release of Dirt which also highlighted Staley’s increasingly apparent addiction to heroin. The band appeared on the successful tour in 1993 and released the Jar of Flies EP in 1994, but often found its attempts to follow up success in the studio or on the road to be hampered by Staley’s erratic, drug-fueled behavior. Former Ozzy Osbourne bassist Mike Inez came to replace Starr and the band would eventually record a third studio LP as well as a performance of MTV Unplugged. Ultimately, however, Alice in Chains would fail to maintain a consistent career in the post-grunge music world and limped into hiatus when Cantrell turned his attention to solo projects (which often included contributions from Kinney and Inez). Staley finally succumbed to his affliction when he overdosed in April 2002.

Alice in Chains appeared in and contributed music to the Cameron Crowe movie “Singles” and also recorded two songs for the soundtrack to the Arnold Schwartzenegger film “Last Action Hero”. Staley was also a member of grunge side project/supergroup Mad Season with Mike McCready of Pearl Jam and Barrett Martin and John Baker Saunders of Screaming Trees.

Alice in Chains have released the following albums/EPs:
*Facelift (1990)
*Sap [EP] (1992)
*Dirt (1992)
*Jar of Flies [EP] (1994)
*Alice in Chains (1995)
*Unplugged (1996)
*Nothing Safe: The Best Of The Box (1999)
*Music Bank (1999)
*Live (2000)
*Greatest Hits (2001)
*The Essential (2006)

The surviving members of Alice in Chains reformed and played shows in late 2005 and early 2006 with a variety of guest vocalists, including Billy Corgan, Pat Lachman, Wes Scantlin, Maynard James Keenan, Ann Wilson and Phil Anselmo. For their European and U.S. tours of mid-late 2006, William Duvall (Comes With the Fall) performed lead vocals.

In spring 2007, the band announced they are writing new material with DuVall as an official, full-time member.

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