You need flash!
no cover -  

Alice in Chains

Grunge rock alternative rock hard rock alternative

      Alice in Chains is a band that was formed in 1987 in Seattle, Washington, United States. Drawing equally from the heavy riffing of and the gloomy strains of what would become , the band developed a bleak, nihilistic sound that balanced grinding riffs with subtly textured moments. They were hard enough for fans, but their subject matter and -fueled attack placed them among the front ranks of the Seattle-based bands. This dichotomy helped the group soar to critical acclaim and multi-platinum status with their first albums, 1990's 'Facelift' and 1992's 'Dirt', yet it also divided them. Guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Jerry Cantrell always leaned toward the mainstream, while Layne Staley felt fascinated with the seamy underground lyrically and musically. Such tension drove the band toward stardom in their early years. Following 'Dirt', however, Alice in Chains suffered from near-crippling internal tensions that kept the band off the road for the remainder of the , and personal tragedy soon would strike.

      The idea for the group arose from the band members' mutual interest in , powerful and music. Formed in 1987 by Staley, guitarist Jerry Cantrell, bassist Mike Starr, and drummer Sean Kinney, the outfit was first named “Alice N’ Chains” and featured a different image in terms of clothes and stage performances, although they still had a tough edge to their music. The guys later changed it to "Alice in Chains" as things came together. 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 songs and compositions.

      The unique vocal harmonies of Staley and Cantrell included at times overlapping passages and dual lead vocals. Alyssa Burrows has said the band's distinctive sound "came from Staley's vocal style and his lyrics dealing with personal struggles and addiction". Staley's songs were often considered "black" or "dark" as stated before, with themes such as drug abuse, depression, and suicide displayed, while Cantrell's lyrics dealt more with personal relationships. Both of them expressed a desire to convey a sense of reality and a powerful 'in-the-moment' feel in the band's music, with a big emphasis on strong guitar riffs.

      Although Alice in Chains has attracted many genre labels over the years, Cantrell identifies his band as primarily with diverse influences blended in. He told the magazine 'Guitar World' in 1996: "We're a lot of different things… I don't quite know what the mixture is, but there's definitely metal, blues, rock and roll, maybe a touch of punk. The metal part will never leave, and I never want it to". Alice in Chains has cited musical influences such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Metallica as setting the path for their sound.

      Cantrell's guitar style combines what Stephen Erlewine of Allmusic has called "pummeling riffs and expansive guitar textures" to create "slow, brooding minor-key grinds". While down-tuned, distorted guitars mixed with Staley's distinctive "snarl-to-a-scream" vocals appealed to many and fans, the band also had "a sense of melody that was undeniable" in numerous songs, conveying the rebellious yet tuneful spirit of traditional "" as Cantrell had remarked. Thus, Alice in Chains broke through to a mainstream audience outside of the underground in a big way in the and onward, even though many other groups with perhaps less talented songwriting struggled.

      The band found artistic and commercial success not long after their formation, but things really shifted into high gear through the release of 1992's 'Dirt', which displayed highly skilled work while also highlighting Staley’s increasingly apparent addiction to heroin. The band appeared on the successful Lollapalooza tour in 1993 and released the 'Jar of Flies' EP in 1994. However, the guys often found their attempts to follow up past successes in the studio or on the road hampered by Staley’s erratic, drug-fueled behavior. That artist's compelling talents appeared matched by his strong personal demons. Former Ozzy Osbourne bassist Mike Inez came in to replace Starr, and the band would eventually record a third studio LP as well as undergo a famous performance on the 'MTV Unplugged' program that many would remember in rock history.

      Ultimately, however, Alice in Chains would fail to maintain a consistent career in the post- music world. The time around the turn of the millennium represented a shifting moment musically, with various genres outside of dark-sounding hard rock and metal getting spotlights in the mainstream. The band limped into hiatus when Cantrell turned his attention to solo projects, which garnered some critical praise and often included contributions from Kinney and Inez. Yet his personal work never received the same attention as that of Alice in Chains, the group's first two albums reliably selling well for years and years. Sadly, Staley finally succumbed to his afflictions when he overdosed in April 2002.

      Although Alice in Chains never officially disbanded, Staley had become a recluse as the years had dragged on, rarely leaving his Seattle condominium following the death of his fiancée in 1996 (due to bacterial endocarditis). "Drugs worked for me for years", Staley told the magazine 'Rolling Stone' in 1996, "and now they're turning against me, now I'm walking through hell". In 1998, Staley briefly reunited with Alice in Chains to record two new songs, which were titled "Get Born Again" and "Died". Originally written for a Cantrell solo album, the songs were released in the fall of 1999 as a part of a box set called 'Music Bank'. The set contains a full 48 songs, including rarities, demos, and previous album tracks. The band also released a 15-track compilation titled 'Nothing Safe: Best of the Box', serving as a sampler for 'Music Bank'. The group's first greatest hits compilation also appeared. Another official release of note is a live album, simply titled 'Live', which was released on December 5, 2000.

      Staley, found dead in his condominium on April 19, 2002, would be subject to an autopsy that revealed that he had died from a mixture of heroin and cocaine fourteen days previously. In his last interview, which was given months before his death, Staley admitted, "I know I'm near death, I did crack and heroin for years. I never wanted to end my life this way." Cantrell, shaken by the death of his friend and former band-mate, dedicated his 2002 solo album, titled 'Degradation Trip', to Staley's memory.

      Jerry Cantrell, Mike Inez and Sean Kinney 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.

      Vocalist for Comes With the Fall, 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. In September 2009 the band released their first studio album since 1995. The album is called 'Black Gives Way to Blue' and is a surprisingly good album and is received worldwide with good critisism. During the last months of 2009 they tour Europe and almost everywhere the shows are sold out.

      Alice in Chains has sold more than twenty million albums in the United States (and an estimated 40 million worldwide), released two number-one albums and 19 top 40 singles, and has received six Grammy nominations. The band was ranked number 34 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Alice in Chains has had a large impact on many bands, such as Godsmack, who, according to Jon Wiederhorn of MTV, "have sonically followed Alice in Chains' lead while adding their own distinctive edge". Godsmack singer Sully Erna has also cited Layne Staley as his primary influence. Staind has covered Alice in Chains' song "Nutshell" live, which appears on the compilation The Singles: 1996-2006, and also wrote a song entitled "Layne", in Staley's dedication, on the album 14 Shades of Grey. Other bands that have been inspired by Alice in Chains include Taproot, Puddle of Mudd, Smile Empty Soul, Creed, Nickelback, Cold and Tantric. Metallica, who originally influenced Alice in Chains, in turn said they always wanted to tour with the band, citing Alice in Chains as a major influence on the vocal melodies for Metallica's eighth studio album St. Anger.

      Photos of Alice in Chains can be found at their official site, Photos of Jerry Cantrell can be found at his official site,


      Mike Starr – bass, backing vocals (1987-1993) (deceased)
      Layne Staley – lead vocals (1987–2002) (deceased)
      Jerry Cantrell – lead guitar, vocals (1987–2002, 2005–present)
      Sean Kinney – drums, percussion (1987–2002, 2005–present)
      Mike Inez – bass, backing vocals (1993–2002, 2005–present)
      William DuVall – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (2007-present)
      Scott Olson – acoustic guitar (1996) (Unplugged performance)
      Patrick Lachman – lead vocals (2005–2006)
      Duff McKagan – rhythm guitar (Reunion tour)

      Alice in Chains 4c65330e6bfb49c1a889a403de0f2883 Alice in Chains 6191d633c3a245abb6b032c73a0f1134 Alice in Chains 7095685017044a8a91e0a0b61ac41b68 Alice in Chains c5508c698189461b983e9bbbb875cfc2 Alice in Chains 95bd1b3cfaae46b599440326e3bea851 Alice in Chains 5bcd3a8caf1c4f56a0214d2ac5203ec2 Alice in Chains bb74ea4d789b48b6aa02c0b0778acbea Alice in Chains 0204cb5e9d37488293576dbd00a1ffe5 Alice in Chains 048cb0bd27ed42529a2f1417da5e1438 Alice in Chains 9092dad937e645588dbc8896da33a00e Alice in Chains 4e7e81a390844e3c965aa55b0abc9d15 Alice in Chains f09607631bfe412fc1ed176b4f255782 Alice in Chains 8afa06dec70e4924afd12c863d3413a8 Alice in Chains 7ddb91c71f3d4020a14b1335cef91c42 Alice in Chains e5fc4c2b4bd847969d6ae26885109997 Alice in Chains 75f201cd3141415083e2dd479471fdd1 Alice in Chains 4b2f3a1331544b06b7b005e179ae89fc Alice in Chains bb1f3f59a5f24a1b804ce9afa5b90ec3 Alice in Chains 47435e15ff45433ba86466bf3626f1f7 Alice in Chains d04236b9344e483daffe9967175ee52c Alice in Chains 20e4ddd4a55e4f28a34f82847969aaf9 Alice in Chains ae0e68d370d14edcaf7757e74ecd8be1 Alice in Chains 604ec8ec333546fb8c9b8ed3d0b92048 Alice in Chains 33ab3e18db4b4134b30dfd313d4b8006 Alice in Chains f354f9cd1cfe47a6857a2fc8ce1284c2 Alice in Chains 91ef754eec464a9ea44693e473f2928f Alice in Chains c220cd5cd0502acc107010275392276e Alice in Chains b44c219e83d447519f4378a95455992f Alice in Chains e883ade693aa799deca6adac8924026b Alice in Chains f759dd64542c440f800ee4b624be3c28 Alice in Chains fcbaead55e054967911ec204057fba29 Alice in Chains b0a23967ba2445008f9e01c20575cf9c Alice in Chains 14ff13ff1b794babb740dc3de52086ad Alice in Chains 1c47f0c49f784c6e886735364206f98b Alice in Chains 879e989b14e94de8aa280f9e9564a3bc Alice in Chains e00da8ec237f4c2db73c12db3aa47b66 Alice in Chains a1ff3bb494704e789ccbe1fa5551e50b Alice in Chains 329e5d04df5d457ba99608db1d97b316 Alice in Chains a215c86e749742038a901c70077453dc Alice in Chains 24c0adac14aa408787ea2f7475a83479