Although widely associated with grunge music, the band's sound incorporates heavy metal elements. Since its formation, Alice in Chains has released six studio albums, three EPs, three live albums, four compilations, two DVDs, 43 music videos,   and 32 singles. The band is known for its distinctive vocal style,  which often included the harmonized vocals between Staley and Cantrell  and later Cantrell and William DuVall.
Alice in Chains rose to international fame as part of the grunge movement of the early s, along with other Seattle bands such as Nirvana , Pearl Jam , and Soundgarden. The band was one of the most successful music acts of the s, selling over 30 million records worldwide,  and over 14 million records in the US alone,  with two No. Although never officially disbanding, Alice in Chains was plagued by extended inactivity from onwards due to Staley's substance abuse , which resulted in his death in The band reunited in for a live benefit show, performing with a number of guest vocalists.
They toured in , with William DuVall taking over as lead vocalist full-time. Before the formation of Alice in Chains, then-drummer   Layne Staley landed his first gig as a vocalist when he auditioned to sing for a local glam metal band known as Sleze after receiving some encouragement from his stepbrother Ken Elmer.
Put her in bondage and stuff like that. Staley met guitarist Jerry Cantrell at a party in Seattle around August Alice N' Chains soon disbanded, and Staley joined a funk band.
Staley's funk band also required a guitarist at the time, and Staley asked Cantrell to join as a sideman. Because Cantrell, Starr and Kinney wanted Staley to be their lead singer, they started auditioning terrible lead singers in front of Staley to send a hint. The band played a couple of gigs in clubs around the Pacific Northwest, calling themselves different monikers, including Diamond Lie,  the name of Cantrell's previous band,  and "Fuck",  before eventually adopting the name that Staley's previous band had initially flirted with, Alice in Chains.
Local promoter Randy Hauser became aware of the band at a concert and offered to pay for demo recordings. However, one day before the band was due to record at the Music Bank studio in Washington, police shut down the studio during the biggest cannabis raid in the history of the state.
This recording can be found on the bootleg release Sweet Alice. Alice in Chains soon became a top priority of the label, which released the band's first official recording in July , a promotional EP called We Die Young. After its success, the label rushed Alice in Chains' debut album into production with producer Dave Jerden.
The resulting album, Facelift , was released on August 21, , peaking at number 42 in the summer of on the Billboard chart.
Facelift was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America RIAA for selling a half-million copies  on September 11, ,  becoming the first album from Seattle's Grunge movement to be certified gold.
In early , Alice in Chains landed the opening slot for the Clash of the Titans tour with Anthrax , Megadeth , and Slayer , exposing the band to a wide metal audience but receiving mainly poor reception. Following the tour, Alice in Chains entered the studio to record demos for its next album, but ended up recording five acoustic songs instead.
In March , the band returned to the studio. With new songs written primarily on the road, the material has an overall darker feel than Facelift , with six of the album's thirteen songs dealing with the subject of addiction. There's a lot of intense feelings. All of the poison that builds up during the day we cleanse when we play. The album peaked at number six on the Billboard  and since its release has been certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA,  making Dirt the band's highest selling album to date.
Dirt spawned five top 30 singles, " Would? Days before the tour began, Layne Staley broke his foot in an ATV accident, forcing him to use crutches on stage. Starr left the band shortly after the Hollywood Rock concert in Rio de Janeiro on January 22, ,  stating that he wanted to spend more time with his family.
We wanted to continue intense touring and press. Mike was ready to go home. Starr was replaced by former Ozzy Osbourne bassist Mike Inez. Following Alice in Chains' extensive world tour, Staley said the band "just wanted to go into the studio for a few days with our acoustic guitars and see what happened".
But the record label heard it and they really liked it. For us, it was just the experience of four guys getting together in the studio and making some music.
Written and recorded in one week,  Jar of Flies debuted at number one on the Billboard , becoming the first EP—and first Alice in Chains release—to top the charts. Paul Evans of Rolling Stone called the EP "darkly gorgeous",  and Steve Huey said, "'Jar of Flies' is a low-key stunner, achingly gorgeous and harrowingly sorrowful all at once.
The second single, " I Stay Away ", reached number ten on the Mainstream rock charts, while the final single " Don't Follow ", reached number After the release of Jar of Flies , Staley entered rehab for heroin addiction.
The band broke up for six months. If we had kept going, there was a good chance we would have self-destructed on the road, and we definitely didn't want that to happen in public. Mad Season released one album, Above , for which Staley provided lead vocals and the album artwork. The album spawned a number-two single, " River of Deceit ", as well as a home video release of Live at the Moore.
On November 7, , Columbia Records released the eponymous album, Alice in Chains ,  which debuted at number one on the Billboard  and has since been certified triple platinum. Jon Wiederhorn of Rolling Stone called the album "liberating and enlightening, the songs achieve a startling, staggering and palpable impact". On December 12, , the band released the home video The Nona Tapes ,  a mockumentary featuring interviews with the band members conducted by journalist Nona Weisbaum played by Jerry Cantrell , and the music video for "Grind".
The song was re-released as a single on the soundtrack for the independent film Clerks in , reaching number seven on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Alice in Chains resurfaced on April 10, , to perform their first concert in two and a half years for MTV Unplugged , a program featuring all-acoustic set lists.
I didn't want my fans to think that heroin was cool. But then I've had fans come up to me and give me the thumbs up, telling me they're high. That's exactly what I didn't want to happen.. The set contains 48 songs, including rarities, demos, and previously released album tracks and singles.
Mike Inez and Sponge lead vocalist Vin Dombroski joined the supergroup soon after. The band released their first and only album in , a 6-track EP entitled Microfish. By , Cantrell had finished work on his second solo album, Degradation Trip. Written in , the album's lyrical content focused heavily on what Cantrell regarded as the demise of Alice in Chains, which still remained evident as the album approached its June release.
However, in March that year, Cantrell commented, "We're all still around, so it's possible [Alice in Chains] could all do something someday, and I fully hope someday we will. Reflecting on the band's hiatus in a interview, Kinney said that Staley wasn't the only one battling addiction.
So they'd single him out. But the truth was, it was pretty much everybody. I definitely had my hand firmly on the wheel going off the cliff. And the reason we pulled back — you know when you stop when you have two 1 records, it's not really the greatest career move — but we did that because we love each other and we didn't want to die in public. And I know for a fact in my heart that if we were to continue that I wouldn't be on the phone right now talking to you.
I wouldn't have made it. I just wouldn't have. After a decade of battling drug addiction, Layne Staley was found dead in his condominium in Seattle on April 19, The autopsy and toxicology report on Staley's body revealed that he died from a mixture of heroin and cocaine, known as " speedball ".
The autopsy concluded that Staley died on April 5, two weeks before his body was found. Following Staley's death, Mike Inez joined Heart and toured and recorded with the band from through In , Sean Kinney came up with the idea of doing a benefit concert for the victims of the tsunami disaster that struck South Asia in Kinney made calls to his former bandmates, as well as friends in the music community, such as former Alice in Chains manager Susan Silver. Kinney was surprised by the enthusiastic response to his idea.
Alice in Chains was approached by the producers of the CBS reality show Rock Star about being featured on its second season, but the band turned the offer down.
To coincide with the band's reunion, Sony Music released the long-delayed third Alice in Chains compilation, The Essential Alice in Chains , a double album that includes 28 songs. After they finished, Sean Kinney looked at his bandmates and said, "I think the search is pretty much over. Dombroski jammed with them to a couple of songs but they did not feel he was right for the band.
Cantrell explained the reunion saying, "We want to celebrate what we did and the memory of our friend. We have played with some [singers] who can actually bring it and add their own thing to it without being a Layne clone. We're not interested in stepping on [Staley's] rich legacy. It's a tough thing to go through. Do you take the Led Zeppelin approach and never play again, because the guy was that important? That's the approach we've taken for a lot of years. Or, do you give it a shot, try something?
We're willing to take a chance on it. It's completely a reunion because the three of us who're left are back together. But it's not about separating and forgetting — it's about remembering and moving on. Heart's guitarist Nancy Wilson also joined them onstage. Alice in Chains joined Velvet Revolver for a run of U. In addition to the band's original material, they also played a cover of Led Zeppelin 's " Kashmir " while backed by over musicians, including the Northwest Symphony Orchestra and the Northwest Girlchoir.
Sean Kinney said about the band's reunion: "I never called Jerry; he never called me, and said, 'Hey, let's get the band back together,' you know? We had been taking every step extremely cautious and slow, and just doing whatever feels right: If it's genuine and we're doing it for genuine reasons and we're all okay with it then we take a little step.
None of us is broke. Nobody needs to be a rock dork, and you know, stroke their ego. I mean, we don't really operate like that. So as long as it felt good and from the right place and it's about making music and carrying on….
About the pressure being put on DuVall for replacing Staley as lead vocalist, Cantrell said, "To put all that weight on Will's shoulders is unfair. We're just figuring out how we work as a team. Although the band has changed, we've lost Layne, we've added Will, and there was no master plan. Playing again in felt right, so we did the next thing and toured.
We did it step by step. It's more than just making music, and it always has been. We've been friends a long time. We've been more of a family than most, and it had to be okay from here", Cantrell said pointing to his heart. The band started writing and demoing songs for a new album with DuVall in April The minute performance for a crowd of 67, people featured a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" accompanied by the Northwest Symphony Orchestra. On June 11, , Blabbermouth.
On June 30, , the song " A Looking in View " was made available for purchase via iTunes and Amazon ,  and for a limited time it was available as a free download through the official Alice in Chains website in early July. To promote the album, the band released an EPK featuring all four of the members being interviewed while the Kiss makeup is being applied on them.
Sean Kinney said about the new album and the fans' mixed reactions about the band moving on after Staley's death: "Look, it's a big move to fucking stand up and move on. Some people, the music connected with them so strongly, their opinions, how they feel about it It's amazing that they have such a connection but they seem to act like it happened to them. This happened to us and Layne's family, not them. This is actually our lives. If we're okay with it, why can't you be?
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