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History of Alice In Chains

 

Alice In Chains is:

Layne Staley - vocals, guitar (b. 8-22-67)

Jerry Cantrell - guitar, vocals (b. 3-18-66)

Mike Inez - bass (b. 5-14-66)

Sean Kinney - drums (b. 5-27-66)



(Selected excerpts from information provided by Columbia Records)

Formed in Seattle in 1987, Alice In Chains represents the missing link between the L.A. glam-metal bands of the eighties and their grungier kin from the northwest. After a bit of soul searching, opening for the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth and Iggy Pop, Alice In Chains' success came with the first wave of Seattle bands to hit it big in 1991. Whereas bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden consciously distanced themselves from pop-metal outfits, Alice In Chains co-opts glam-metal production techniques and harmonic devices, giving the band's recorded work sonic depth missing from much of today's alternative music.

Alice in Chains distinguishes themselves from the Seattle brat pack, featuring structured harmonized vocals from Cantrell and Staley bringing to mind a latter-day Crosby, Stills and Nash with flannel. The band creates brooding but compelling textures focusing on personal pain and suffering. The group's first full-length release on Columbia, Facelift, spawned a top 5 metal hit with "We Die Young." At the time, the album seemed awkward and out of place in the aftermath of the eighties' fashion-conscious glam metal and eurocentric new wave. Later, the group would achieve widespread success with "Man In The Box," recieving considerable play on MTV. The band appeared as themselves in Cameron Crowe's movie Singles and headed out with Lollapalooza in 1993.

The band's follow-up Dirt, rode the crest of the wave of great music from Seattle that would change the shape of music to come. With Nirvana, Soungarden, and Pearl Jam, Alice created rock and roll for the sake of itself, while actively downplaying the traditional trappings that had come to be associated with pop rock stardom.

The group then released two EPs back to back, Jar Of Flies and SAP These releases show the band moving away from the hard edged sound found on Facelift and Dirt, focusing on Layne Staley's guitar and relying more on acoustic instruments to back up complex harmonies. On SAP Layne and Jerry collaborate with Chris Cornell on "Right Turn." Both EPs spawned hits for the band, including "No Excuses."

With the release of Alice In Chains, the group's third full-length release, the group continues to create challenging and intense music. The album represents a new beginning for the band. Alice In Chains put aside personal differences and focused on creating a new record that would dispell the doubts surrounding the band's viability. Before this writing, the band's album has recently ousted Tha Dogg Pound from the top spot on the Billboard album chart, indicating the public's satisfaction with the return of one of Seattle's greatest bands.

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