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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, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: A Looking In View (Radio Single)

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Track List: Check My Brain (Radio Single)

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Track List: Hollow (Single)

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Track List: Stone (Single)

Comments

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I like the old aic but not the new one. I still went to a new concert for old songs.
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RIP Layne Staley... love you man, and your music. You touched so many people, and gave us all some awesome music to jam out to.
Thank you so much!
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My favorite song!!!!! Never gets old
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that was the beauty of layne and jerry writing these songs you would swear it was a soundtrack to your life and yes it will last forever when you write openly its easy to adapt into your own story thank god for it too
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**A girl named Robin ** I'm in awe with AIC-- it's like they were composing lyrics about my life--I'm sure they will live on 4 eternity no matter what --seems like they were predicting what's going on in the world to this day--God Bless!!♡♡
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lol my last point to make I think someone put a mass dose of lsd in the water supply and everyone is having a bad trip smh always knew this would happen
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This song is so Raw! \,,/
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Mike Smith, Kingweavile, and betteredge support the steelers and the Raiders because they're arguing this band even though each of you actually like this music. You 3 hipsters need to get a life and quit listening to nonsense, or at least use earplugs
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Even without Layne, Alice in Chains is still great. I'm one of the very few fans who enjoy the old and new AiC. R.I.P. Layne
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Love jerry! Saw them at del mar and dtown sd it's just not the same with that new dude and seems limited to song selections but it's still worth it.bnowack81
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I love the sluts that went to the concert with me to aic
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I love Alice in chains ... Too bad music isn't like this no more . I love u layne. Thinking of going to see them at Foxwoods but I won't be the same without layne so I don't kno if I'll b there
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Just so you know if you're racist Layne Stalley wouldn't like you he knocked out a f**king skin head before for yelling racist rants.
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I think there all the same person if you ask me..and I see the same s**t on other pages as well who ever they maybe I think there younger dudes just f**king with people to get there kicks I was 15 once as well but I was never on the same level of dbag I had better things to do like chase girls around or chill with friends anything but kicking at my moms crib talking s**t lol and if they honestly believe the s**t they spew then they just need to go ahead and end it all so the earth gets liter
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Does anyone on here know what they're talking about? f**kwitedge, nicko, little nutsac, and flyinghomo should go somewhere else. This is getting ridiculous
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lol im a steelers fan I live in Pittsburgh and love aic I guess that's 3 strikes for me..now if we were talking about a patriots fan who lives in new England and likes fall out boy then yea im with you f*ck him ;)
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rock intesity dudes
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Sorry @kingweavile , my bad.
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biggiefox
Good not great
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'Again' stirs my old a** up just like s**t from Anthrax to Wu Tang Clan. Music should do that to you.
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@Mike Smith No I do not hate them. Learn to read. The only thing wrong is Nicko.
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Overrated and too grungy. The homeless look never works.
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I love aic
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I'd understand if you don't like them, but if you hate them that much, then get lost. I honestly like all metal/grunge , but as Mike Smith said, go listen to s**t like JB, nickelback, fall out boy, etc. aka God's gift to the idiots of the world
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aic are in the most wanted list and in the dirty dozen.
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Flyinghomo you jealous? What are you like 10 yrs old? Lmao. Piss off twerp.. Get a life, stop hanging off all these haters nutsacks. I think your lost. Nickelback is were you should be.
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Haters gonna hate.
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Lanye and Mike, two massive losses to music. You're both missed.
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Just look at you guys. Mike Smith isn't doing anything but stalking fat nutsac. Butthurt boy likes this band. Their hair has more KingWeiners than Nirvana.
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The Best grunge band of the 90's RIP Layne Stalley. Went to Washington state love it there.
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We pay our debts on time......
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is3wagon
Alice in Chains pioneered a different sound than pearl jam at that time, and it was needed. What a great band. Oh no! I showed my age..haha, like I care what u think.
There are more heroine induced bands than u think, and make great music.
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Rocking song! And lol Mike! you're a trip! :D
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You need to go listen to your nickelback s**t. Cant handle this s**t then piss off
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Little nutsac your the f**kin queer. Is that what you do?
Report as inappropriate
The deal's off. Nicko didn't stop, so I won't. This band is way worse than Tool. At least they don't make you want to die, mostly because their music is as quiet as s**t. But this is worse than Nickelback. At least they have a purpose to the idiots of the world
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Alice in Chains - or for those who haven't noticed yet, this band - was and is grrreeaatt, awesome and they rock ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️
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You guys are a joke. Just accept that people have opinions. If you can't, then perhaps this should be known as a hipster band. This is one of my favorite grunge bands, don't f**k it up
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this song is the bomb...Love It!!
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Little nutsac, u sound like a b**ch so stfu. Im sure everyone agrees on that. U really need to stop listening to that gay crap. Its really f**king with ur head. Do everybody a favor an dont listen to pandora ok. If u really hate music then why listen? Everything u do listen to is gay like beiber and ur pop s**t.
Report as inappropriate
mellyltms91
I'm sure glad I outlived music and stupid younger generations! All that stupid talk about Layne shows your age! Pandora??? How on earth could you put AIC w Layne and nickleback in one paragraph! Pahahaha! That's funny as hell! Oh and why have a blind Melon station?? You play no Blind Melon music! Ignore the ignorant I will do from here on out! AIC sucks NOW, I AGREE TO THAT!
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It almost seems like the s**t talking on here is done by 1 person under a couple user names like damn you have nothing better to do then talk s**t you probably know nothing about or have evidence to back up and even if your did your still the lowest form or scum on earth no place that barrel in your mouth and pull the trigger do us all a favor..now back to the music that is the reason we are here anyway
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Alice in Chains helped define the Seattle sound of the early 90s. Without them, grunge would have been less urgent, less compelling, and less intense. I applaud the band's decision to go forward with William Duvall.
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asoteloo47
hahahahahaha h h a h a h a h a h a h a h a h a
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The more the merrier. I still liked this band since I was young, but KingWeavile is right, sorry guys, but Nicko made me say this, forgive me. Layne had s*x with a goat to make his music sound worse. It was not cats though. This snitch had more arrogance than any other band in history.
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Now that flyinghobo got his attention can we just enjoy the music
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Sorry AiC fans, Nicko is on my last nerve. Forgive me, but I have to speak up. Yes, Layne was a snitch. In fact, despite being one of the best bands, Layne was a f**king a**hole. They didn't copy van halen, but they f**ked up the careers of later bands what we call nu metal, or as I refer, the hipster creator tier. AiC, you're awesome, but this immature f** needs to get banned from here
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flyinghobo likes nickelback
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mellyltms91
AIC copied van halen? Lmao!! Went to Van Halen concerts!!! Went AIC! Van Halen fontman or men!! They had NOTHING on Layne Staley! Nothing at all!!
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I don't want to be on this planet anymore
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