Alice In Chains

I found something interesting and sort of amusing in my e-mail this weekend. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but at the bottom of the page, there’s a little counter. Each week, I get a report telling me how many visitors I get. Imagine my surprise when I saw that last Monday (the 12th) I had more people checking in than at any other time since I started this blog. What did I post to draw this attention? How about Christina Aguilera’s tribute to James Brown. Apparently I’m not the only person who guiltily enjoys Christina....

Moving on.

Siruis Satellite Radio recently updated their channels, adding a “90’s Alternative” station. The new channel is called “Lithium,” and features a lot of grunge-type stuff. I’ve listened to it a lot this week, and as sometimes happens, hearing things on the radio makes me dig out a CD I haven’t heard in awhile. Such was the case this week with Alice In Chains.

AiC was one of my favorite bands from one of my favorite eras of music. I liked that they combined the elements of grunge with a heavier, darker sound. Although the band was enormously successful, they sound like a band with a cult following. That is to say I don’t feel like they compromised anything in achieving their success.

I think everyone is pretty familiar with Alice In Chains. They formed in Seattle in 1987 and released their debut album, the We Die Young EP, in 1990. The group was dogged almost from the beginning by rumors of singer Layne Staley’s heroin abuse, especially with songs such as "Junkhead" and "God Smack.” By 1996, AiC had essentially stopped touring, performing only a few shows opening for Kiss. Ironically, they were filling in for Stone Temple Pilots, who had to leave the tour due to Scott Weiland's drug problems.

Alice In Chains never officially disbanded. Staley became more deeply mired in drug use, isolating himself, and eventually succumbing to an apparent lethal combination of heroin and cocaine. The coroner approximated Staley's date of death as April 5, which, coincidentally, was the same approximate date as Kurt Cobain's death eight years earlier.

To share my interest, I decided to post a couple of songs from Live, AiC’s only official live album (other than Unplugged). The band released Live in December 2000, pulling performances from various stages of their career, including two songs from the last concert Alice in Chains gave with Staley as lead singer.
“Queen of the Rodeo” comes from a 1990 show in Dallas, TX. It was unreleased until this album came out. “Again” is from the July 2, 1996, show in St. Louis, MO; the band’s second-to-last show with Staley.

Queen of the Rodeo.mp3


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