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Alice In Chains

Formed:
1987

Genres:
Grunge

Seattle grunge band Alice in Chains came about when frontman Layne Staley decided to form a band while in high school he called Alice N Chains. He met Jerry Cantrell in 1987 at a warehouse where musicians rehearsed. The two hit it off and began practicing together, and changed the name to Alice in Chains. Cantrell brought in his friend Mike Starr on bass, and high school dropout Sean Kinney sat in on drums. They began gigging the lush Seattle club scene, and enjoyed success with metal fans. In 1989, they signed with Columbia and released Facelift the following year. The album produced he hits “We Die Young” and “Man in the Box,” and they supported the album by opening for a bevy of big-name bands. In 1991, the band released Sap, which was a collection of mostly-acoustic material that featured Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, Ann Wilson of Heart, and Mark Arm of Mudhoney along with the boys from AIC. The band was picking up momentum.

Just when Chains was getting ready to release their second full-length album entitled Dirt, the Seattle music scene exploded. Kurt Cobain’s Nirvana had achieved phenomenal success, and America went grunge-crazy. When they finally released Dirt, it sold millions of copies. “Rooster,” “Angry Chair,” “Down in a Hole,” and “Would?” became radio staples, and Chains was catapulted into superstardom. Due to the tremendous popularity, Mike Starr left the band. He was replaced with ex-Ozzy bassist Mike Inez, and the band toured with the epic Lollapalooza tour in 1993.

In 1994, Jar of Flies debuted at number one, becoming the first EP to top the album charts. Rumors of Staley’s heroin addiction had been ongoing, however, and the band’s reluctance to perform live only stimulated these rumors. Staley was performing, however, with a side project he called Mad Season. They released an album called Above, and Staley returned his focus to Chains while the band recorded their self-titled third album, which again debuted at number one on the charts. And, after three long years, Chains fans were treated to a concert that was aired on MTV’s Unplugged series, and the album and video footage of the performance followed. Staley’s heroin use was rampant at this point, however, and it was obvious that the band would not be able to perform unless Staley tried to clean up. Cantrell released his first solo album entitled Boggy Depot in 1998, and it received some airplay.

In recent years, Staley has been virtually absent from the public eye. Cantrell has soldiered on with his solo albums, as well as writing and working with other musicians on joint projects. In 1999, Columbia put together a 3-disc boxed set entitled Music Bank. It has never been officially stated that Chains has disbanded, but it is not expected that any new music will emerge from this once-awesome band. Sean Kinney and Mike Inez later formed the band Spys 4 Darwin. On guitar is Chris Degarmo, formely of Queensryche, and Sponge lead singer Vin Dombroski is on vocals. Jerry Cantrell moved to San Fransico and hired a few backing muscians from the band MIRV to help him on his new album, which is still in the working process.(Thanks to Travis for submitting killer info)

Band Members:
Jerry Cantrell
Mike Inez
Sean Kinney
Layne Staley
Mike Starr

Discography:

Jar of Flies
Release Date: , 1993
Label: Columbia
Produced by Alice in Chains

Sap
Release Date: , 1992
Label: Columbia
Produced by Alice In Chains and Rick Parasher

Dirt
Release Date: October , 1992
Label: Columbia
Produced by Dave Jerden

Facelift
Release Date: , 1990
Label: Columbia
Produced by Dave Jeroen



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