Alice In Chains Biography
Vocalist Layne Staley and guitarist Jerry Cantrell formed Alice In Chains
in early 1987, in Seattle, Washington USA, along with associates Mike Starr
on bass and Sean Kinney on drums.
The Hard-Rock Grunge band soon attracted attention for their energetic live shows and were picked up by Columbia Records in 1989.
The quartet released their first EP, "We Die Young", in June 1990. It was followed a couple of months later by their debut album, "Facelift"; the disc broke into the The Billboard Top 200 chart spawning two Mainstream Rock top 30 hits: "Man In The Box" and "Sea Of Sorrow". The band spent over a year on the road playing with Megadeth in Europe and with Van Halen, Anthrax and Iggy Pop in the United States.
Alice In Chains' second full-length disc, "Dirt", was issued in fall 1992, it peaked at #6 on the U.S. Top 200 Albums chart selling 3 million copies; however, soon after finishing the record, Starr left the group and was replaced by ex-Ozzy Osbourne bass player Mike Inez. The first single off the LP was the Active Rock top 20 hit "Would?", the follow-up single, "Rooster", rose to #7 on The Mainstream Rock Tracks and "Down In A Hole" hit the #10 position on the same chart; "Dirt" also included two Modern Rock top 30 hits, "Hate To Feel" and "Them Bones", plus one more Rock radio-single track, "Angry Chair".
They charted again at #19 on The Mainstream Rock Tracks in 1993 with "What The Hell Have I", a single taken from "Last Action Hero" movie soundtrack.
The group's next release was the EP "Jar Of Flies", the 7-track
set hit #4 on the British Albums chart. The EP featured three excellent
singles: "Don't Follow" entered the top 30 of the Active Rock
chart, "I Stay Away" reached the top 10 and "No Excuses"
topped that chart and also peaked at #3 on The Modern Rock Tracks.
Before 1994 was out another single, "Got Me Wrong", released off of the soundtrack from the motion picture "Clerks", peaked at #7 on The Mainstream Rock chart.
Alice In Chains, regrouped in 1995 and in November churned out its third full album, an eponymous affair which further cemented their place among the Alternative-Rock elite in Europe and shot to #1 on the American Billboard Top 200; it included no less than four Active Rock charting singles, including the top 10 hits "Grind", "Again" and "Over Now" and the top 3 smash "Heaven Beside You" which also racked up a #6 position on The Modern Rock Tracks.
In April 1996, the foursome, taped a performance at the Brooklyn Acadamy of Arts for "MTV Unplugged", the set reached the #3 spot in U.S. and ascended into the top 20 in Great Britain; it contained their best singles plus a great new song: "The Killer Is Me".
Cantrell released his first solo album in the spring of 1998 and the
following year was released the collection "Nothing Safe: Best Of
The Box", which debuted at #20 in U.S. spawning a new hit single:
"Get Born Again", this previously unreleased track soared to
#4 on The Mainstream Rock chart.
The three-CD box-set "Music Bank" was released just three months later and peaked at #123 on The Billboard 200; the collection included demos, live tracks, alternate mixes and 3 previously unreleased songs, one of which, "Fear The Voices", reached the #11 slot on the U.S. Active Rock radio chart.
After various solo and side-projects a tragedy struck when Layne Staley was found dead in his Seattle apartment on April 19, 2002, at the age of 34, due to a lethal mix of cocaine and heroin; laboratory results determined the singer died April 5, his body had been laying in his flat for nearly two weeks.
In 2005, Cantrell reunited with the surviving Alice In Chains members
to perform at a benefit concert for the tsunami relief aid.
Alice In Chains officially regrouped in early 2006 after a 10-year absence with singer William DuVall stepping in for late frontman Layne Staley.
In September 2009 the group delivered "Black Gives Way To Blue" a full 14 years after the Alice In Chains' last album, it soon exploded onto the American charts with "A Looking In View", the first taste, which entered the top 40 of the Rock airplay charts and two Active Rock #1s "Check My Brain" and "Your Decision".