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Alice In Chains

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Alice In Chains

At the beginning of the 1990s: Seattle, the port city in the northwest of the USA in the state of Washington, briefly rises to the center of the music world. Everyone is talking about the term grunge for a new style. Bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden or Pearl Jam are the focus of interest.

The former glam / metal band Alice In Chains was first called Diamond Lie and in 1987 didn't have much to do with grunge. The sound and lyrics are characterized by a distinctive two-part singing by fronter Layne Staley and guitarist Jerry Cantrell and get increasingly depressed. The band's line-up also includes drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Starr.

In a way, you still benefit from the grunge hype, as media and record companies pounce on anything that even remotely sounds like it or at least comes from Seattle. After just a few gigs, the band signed a contract with Major Columbia and released the EP "We Die Young". At the time, hardly anyone was interested, later the disc was considered a sought-after collector's item.

In 1990 the debut "Facelift" was released. Hardly a song on it was originally written for the album. It was only in the studio that numerous tracks were rewritten. Above all, Cameron Crowe's film "Singles" (1992), in which Alice In Chains played a gig and contributed the track "Would" to the soundtrack, was popular and even earned Alice In Chains a Grammy nomination.

After the film, the success curve points steeply upwards. Alice In Chains are on stages around the world with bands such as Megadeth, Van Halen, Slayer or Anthrax (later also Kiss). They postponed the next EP "SAP" back in 1992, but also sent bassist Mike Starr into the desert.

He then called My Sister's Machine into being, but soon disappears into oblivion. His successor Mike Inez can be heard on the 1992 album "Dirt" and previously played with Ozzy Osbourne.

He's going on tour after the release, with Layne spinning around the stages in a wheelchair for quite a while thanks to an ankle injury. Although Starr was apparently fired for drug problems at the time, the whole band is not exactly saddened in this regard as a child.

That doesn't change anything in terms of success, because by the end of 1993 "Dirt" and the soundtrack to "Last Action Hero", to which Alice In Chains contributed two songs, went platinum. The same applies to the Mad Season project and the album "Above", for which Layne teamed up with Barett Martin (Screaming Trees) and Mike McCready (Pearl Jam).

In order to continue the series successfully, the 1994 EP "Jar Of Flies" climbed straight to number one on the Billboard charts and was also proposed for a Grammy, but - like "Would" - was empty.

While Layne is busy with Mad Season, Mike Inez briefly plucks the strings at Slash's Snakepit. But when it goes on again with Alice In Chains, signs of fatigue appear for the first time: The band seems burned out, but with the help of producer Toby Wright pulls itself back to studio work.

The reward: again number one in the Billboard charts as well as gold and platinum for "Alice In Chains". Now even MTV knocks and asks for a session for their popular Unplugged series.

An honor that is not bestowed on every act. It goes without saying that this event will be immortalized on CD, video and DVD. Meanwhile, Staley is withdrawing more and more from the public. He is considered to be a strenuous personality with an idiosyncratic character and a real drug problem. "He lives in his own world, in which demons take possession of him", claims someone close to him.

In contrast, Jerry Cantrell's creativity seems to have no limits. With the help of Kinney and Inez, Les Claypool (head noser of Primus), Rex (Pantera) and a few others, Cantrell recorded the solo album "Boggy Depot" in 1996. This feeds rumors of an imminent end to the Alice In Chains era, as Mike Ines has meanwhile hired again at Ozzy Osbourne.

In 1998, however, the band recorded the tracks "Died" and "Get Born Again". Allegedly, Staley has his problems under control thanks to drug rehab. Rumors of dissolution persist, however. Columbia is now starting to exploit the back catalog using Nice Price. The inevitable best of, live and greatest hits stories land in stores.

Staley doesn't really get on his feet, even if his bandmates hope that he'll pick himself up from a Scott Weiland right away. On April 19, 2002 all hopes are gone: Layne is found dead in his apartment. He died on April 5th at the age of 34, exactly eight years to the day after Kurt Cobain's death, from a drug cocktail of heroin and cocaine. The last concert with Alice in Chains was almost six years ago.

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After Gitarrero Cantrell released another solo record ("Degradation Trip"), the shocked band members didn't meet again to jam a year later. A reunion for the last chapter Alice In Chains is not an option at the time. For all three members, the subject appears to be closed with Layne's death.

Only the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia on Boxing Day 2004 brought them back to the stage. For a benefit concert on February 18, 2005, they boarded the stage of the nightclub The Premiere in Seattle with guest singers such as Patrick Lachman (Damageplan), Wes Scantlin (Puddle Of Mudd) or Maynard James Keenan (Tool) together with Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot, Heart singer Ann Wilson and Queensryche guitarist Chris Degarmo.

In February 2006 the administrator of the official homepage confirmed the rumors about a reunion. One month later, an episode of the VH1 show "Decades Rock Live" follows, which shows Jerry, Mike and Sean with Phil Anselmo on the microphone.

In the summer there are actually some festival and club gigs in Europe and the USA on the program. Cantrall's pissing friend William DuVall (Comes With The Fall) is now singing, with whom Alice In Chains actually released their fourth album "Black Gives Way To Blue" in September 2009 after many years in the studio-off.

The album sells over a million times, numerous tours around the world follow, the halls are full. In 2013 Alice In Chains will release their fifth record "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here".