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Layne Staley

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Layne Staley
Staley performing with Alice in Chains in 1992
Staley performing with Alice in Chains in 1992
Background information
Birth nameLayne Rutherford Staley
Also known asLayne Elmer
Born(1967-08-22)August 22, 1967
Bellevue, Washington, U.S.
DiedApril 5, 2002(2002-04-05) (aged 34)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
Instrument(s)
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • drums (early)
Years active1984–1998
LabelsColumbia
Formerly of
Websitelayne-staley.com

Layne Thomas Staley (born Layne Rutherford Staley; August 22, 1967 – April 5, 2002)[7][8] was an American musician, songwriter and the original lead singer of the rock band Alice in Chains, which rose to international fame in the early 1990s as part of Seattle's grunge movement. He was known for his distinctive vocal style and tenor voice, as well as his harmonizing with guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell. Staley was also a member of the glam metal bands Sleze and Alice N' Chains, and the supergroups Mad Season and Class of '99.

"Man in the Box", the second single from Alice in Chains' debut album, Facelift (1990), garnered Staley critical recognition for his vocal style.[9] Alice in Chains' EP Jar of Flies (1994), debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, making it Alice in Chains' first record—and the first-ever EP—to top the chart.[10] However, Staley's deteriorating condition due to heroin abuse[11] led him to enter a rehabilitation clinic. He began to work on a side project with several Seattle musicians, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees and John Baker Saunders of The Walkabouts, which came to be Mad Season, while Alice in Chains went into hiatus.[12]

During Alice in Chains' hiatus, reports of Staley's drug addiction began to gain widespread circulation in fan and media communities, in part due to changes in his physical condition brought on by prolonged heroin abuse.[13] On April 10, 1996, the band returned with a performance on MTV Unplugged in New York; it was their first concert in two-and-a-half years.[14] From mid-1996 onwards, Staley was out of the public spotlight, never to perform live again.

Staley struggled with addiction for much of his adult life and later died from a speedball overdose on April 5, 2002, at the age of 34. Staley was ranked at No. 27 on Hit Parader's list of "Heavy Metal's All-Time Top 100 Vocalists" in 2006, and at No. 42 on Complex's magazine list of "The 50 Best Lead Singers of All Time" in 2012. Seattle officially declared August 22, 2019, as "Layne Staley Day". Staley earned six Grammy Award nominations as a member of Alice in Chains.[15]

Discover more about Layne Staley related topics

Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains is an American rock band from Seattle, Washington, formed in 1987 by guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney, who later recruited bassist Mike Starr and lead vocalist Layne Staley. Starr was replaced by Mike Inez in 1993. William DuVall joined the band in 2006 as co-lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, replacing Staley, who had died in 2002. The band took its name from Staley's previous group, the glam metal band Alice N' Chains.

Grunge

Grunge

Grunge is an alternative rock genre and subculture that emerged during the mid-1980s in the American Pacific Northwest state of Washington, particularly in Seattle and nearby towns. Grunge fuses elements of punk rock and heavy metal, but without punk's structure and speed. The genre featured the distorted electric guitar sound used in both genres, although some bands performed with more emphasis on one or the other. Like these genres, grunge typically uses electric guitar, bass guitar, drums and vocals. Grunge also incorporates influences from indie rock bands such as Sonic Youth. Lyrics are typically angst-filled and introspective, often addressing themes such as social alienation, self-doubt, abuse, neglect, betrayal, social and emotional isolation, addiction, psychological trauma and a desire for freedom.

Harmony

Harmony

In music, harmony is the process by which individual sounds are joined together or composed into whole units or compositions. Often, the term harmony refers to simultaneously occurring frequencies, pitches, or chords. However, harmony is generally understood to involve both vertical harmony (chords) and horizontal harmony (melody).

Glam metal

Glam metal

Glam metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that features pop-influenced hooks and guitar riffs, upbeat rock anthems, and slow power ballads. It borrows heavily from the fashion and image of 1970s glam rock.

Alice N' Chains

Alice N' Chains

Alice N' Chains was an American glam metal band from Seattle, Washington, formed in 1986 by former members of Sleze. Toward the end of their run as Sleze, discussions arose about changing their name to Alice in Chains. However, due to concerns over the reference to female bondage, the group ultimately chose to spell it as Alice N' Chains. They performed under this moniker over about a 12-month period and recorded two demos before breaking up on friendly terms in 1987. One of its members, Layne Staley, ultimately took the name that he and his former bandmates had initially flirted with when he joined a different group a few months later that became known as Alice in Chains.

Class of '99

Class of '99

Class of '99 was a short-term American alternative rock supergroup consisting of members from notable rock bands:Layne Staley of Alice in Chains as vocalist, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine as lead guitarist, Stephen Perkins of Jane's Addiction as drummer, Martyn LeNoble of Porno for Pyros as bassist, Matt Serletic producer of Matchbox Twenty and many others as keyboardist.

Facelift (album)

Facelift (album)

Facelift is the debut studio album by the American rock band Alice in Chains, released by Columbia Records on August 21, 1990. The tracks "We Die Young", "Man in the Box", "Sea of Sorrow" and "Bleed the Freak" were released as singles. "Man In The Box" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal in 1992. Facelift became the first album from the grunge movement to be certified gold on September 11, 1991. The album peaked at No. 42 on the Billboard 200 chart, and has been certified triple-platinum by the RIAA for shipments of three million copies in the United States.

Extended play

Extended play

An extended play record, usually referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single but fewer than an album or LP record. Contemporary EPs generally contain four or five tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

Billboard 200

Billboard 200

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–1972), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–1984), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–1985), and Billboard Top Pop Albums (1985–1992).

Barrett Martin

Barrett Martin

Barrett Martin is an American record producer, percussionist, writer, and ethnomusicologist from Washington. As a producer he has won one Latin Grammy and has been nominated in two other categories. As an ethnomusicologist he has produced two albums for the Shipibo Shamans in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, and one album for the Neets'ai Gwich'in in the Alaskan Arctic. He is perhaps best known for his work with the alternative rock bands Screaming Trees and Mad Season. He was also a member of Skin Yard, Tuatara, and Walking Papers, and has performed as a session musician for many artists in a wide variety of genres.

Hit Parader

Hit Parader

Hit Parader was an American music magazine that operated between 1942 and 2008. A monthly publication, it focused on rock and pop music in general until the 1970s, when its focus began turning to hard rock and heavy metal. By the early 1980s, Hit Parader focused exclusively on heavy metal and briefly produced a spinoff television program entitled Hit Parader's Heavy Metal Heroes. The magazine reached its circulation peak in the mid-to-late 1980s selling a half-million copies every month as heavy metal music achieved high levels of popularity and commercial success.

Grammy Awards

Grammy Awards

The Grammy Award, or just Grammy, is an award presented by the Recording Academy to recognize "Outstanding Achievement in the music industry" of the United States. The trophy depicts a gilded gramophone.

Early life

Staley was born at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, Washington, on August 22, 1967.[16] His parents are Phillip Blair "Phil" Staley and Nancy Elizabeth Staley (née Layne). Staley did not like his middle name "Rutherford" and would get angry every time someone called him by this name. He legally changed his middle name to "Thomas" during his teens because he was a fan of Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee.[8][17]

Staley joined a rhythm band in Bellevue when he was two or three years old, and was the youngest in the group.[17] At nine years old, he wrote in his Dr. Seuss book, All About Me, that he wanted to be a singer.[17]

Staley was seven years old when his parents divorced, after which he was raised by his mother and stepfather, Jim Elmer.[18] He took his stepfather's surname while enrolled in Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood, and was known for some time as Layne Elmer.[19]

Staley was raised as a Christian Scientist,[20] but was critical of religion in his adult life,[21] stating in a 1991 interview: "I have a fascination with how brainwashed people get with religion and how they'll give up their money, their time and their whole life for a cause that they're sure is right, but I'm sure is wrong. I think there's a lot of people who are scared of life and living and they want to make sure they get to Heaven or whatever. I try to stay away from it as much as I can. I was raised in the church until I was 16 and I've disagreed with their beliefs as long as I can remember, so when I had the choice I chose not to believe in anything apart from myself."[22] Staley also stated in a 1999 interview that the song "Get Born Again" is about "religious hypocrisy".[23]

He approached music through his parents' collection, listening to Black Sabbath (regarded by him as his first influence) and Deep Purple.[24] Other favorite bands include hard rock and metal bands like The Stooges,[25] Anthrax, Judas Priest, Saxon, Rainbow, Mercyful Fate,[26] Twisted Sister, Van Halen, and industrial/new wave acts such as Ministry,[25] The Lords of the New Church and Skinny Puppy.[24] He also cited Prince and David Bowie as two of his biggest idols.[25]

Staley began playing drums at age 12; he played in several glam bands in his early teens, but by this point, Staley had aspirations of becoming a singer.[11] In 1984, Staley joined a group of Shorewood High students in a band called Sleze,[4] which also featured future members of The Dehumanizers and Second Coming.

In 1985, Staley and his band Sleze made a cameo in Father Rock, a low-budget movie from Seattle's Public Access Channel.[27] In 1986, Sleze morphed into Alice N' Chains, a band which Staley said "dressed in drag and played speed metal."[28] The new band performed around the Seattle area playing Slayer and Armored Saint covers.[29]

We were just blown away by him – he had 'star qualities' even then. He was much more timid – he looked down while he sang. But the grain of his voice was there, the soul was there.[30]

Johnny Bacolas describing an 18-year-old Staley

Discover more about Early life related topics

Bellevue, Washington

Bellevue, Washington

Bellevue is a city in the Eastside region of King County, Washington, United States, located across Lake Washington from Seattle. It is the third-largest city in the Seattle metropolitan area and has variously been characterized as a satellite city, a suburb, a boomburb, or an edge city. Its population was 122,363 at the 2010 census and 151,854 in the 2020 census. The city's name is derived from the French term belle vue.

Mötley Crüe

Mötley Crüe

Mötley Crüe is an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles in 1981. The group was founded by bassist Nikki Sixx, drummer Tommy Lee, lead guitarist Mick Mars and lead singer Vince Neil. Mötley Crüe has sold over 100 million albums worldwide. They have also achieved seven platinum or multi-platinum certifications, nine Top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 chart, twenty-two Top 40 mainstream rock hits, and six Top 20 pop singles. The band experienced several short-term lineup changes in the 1990s and 2000s; these included the introduction of vocalist John Corabi and drummers Randy Castillo and Samantha Maloney, both of whom filled in for Lee following his departure from Mötley Crüe in 1999; he returned to the band in 2004. More recently in 2022 guitarist Mick Mars announced his retirement from touring with the band, with former Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 taking his place on live duties.

Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American children's author and cartoonist. He is known for his work writing and illustrating more than 60 books under the pen name Dr. Seuss. His work includes many of the most popular children's books of all time, selling over 600 million copies and being translated into more than 20 languages by the time of his death.

Meadowdale High School (Washington)

Meadowdale High School (Washington)

Meadowdale High School is a high school in the Edmonds School District, located in Lynnwood, Washington, United States. The school has students in grades 9 through 12. Meadowdale competes 3A in the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association after two years as 4A between 2004-2006. The school's mascot is the Maverick, though prior to 2000 it was the "Chiefs". 1997-1998 were the years of the school's last major renovations.

Lynnwood, Washington

Lynnwood, Washington

Lynnwood is a city in Snohomish County, Washington, United States. The city is part of the Seattle metropolitan area and is located 16 miles (26 km) north of Seattle and 13 miles (21 km) south of Everett, near the junction of Interstate 5 and Interstate 405. It is the fourth-largest city in Snohomish County, with a population of 38,568 in the 2020 U.S. census.

Christian Science

Christian Science

Christian Science is a set of beliefs and practices associated with members of the Church of Christ, Scientist. Adherents are commonly known as Christian Scientists or students of Christian Science, and the church is sometimes informally known as the Christian Science church. It was founded in 19th-century New England by Mary Baker Eddy, who wrote the 1875 book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which outlined the theology of Christian Science. The book became Christian Science's central text, along with the Bible, and by 2001 had sold over nine million copies.

Get Born Again

Get Born Again

"Get Born Again" is a song by the American rock band Alice in Chains and, along with "Died", one of the last two songs recorded with vocalist Layne Staley before his death in 2002. The song was released as the lead single from the compilation Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999) on June 1, 1999. It peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and at No. 12 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. "Get Born Again" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2000. The song was also included on the compilation albums Music Bank (1999) and The Essential Alice in Chains (2006).

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath were an English rock band formed in Birmingham in 1968 by guitarist Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, bassist Geezer Butler and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. They are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970) and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes following Osbourne's departure in 1979 and Iommi is the only constant member throughout their history.

Deep Purple

Deep Purple

Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in London in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, but their musical approach has changed over the years. Originally formed as a psychedelic rock and progressive rock band, they shifted to a heavier sound with their 1970 album Deep Purple in Rock. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies". They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" for a 1972 concert at London's Rainbow Theatre and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

Anthrax (American band)

Anthrax (American band)

Anthrax is an American heavy metal band from New York City, formed in 1981 by rhythm guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker. The group is considered one of the leaders of the thrash metal scene from the 1980s and is part of the "Big Four" of the genre, along with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. They were also one of the first thrash metal bands to emerge from the East Coast. The band has released 11 studio albums, several other albums, and 26 singles, including collaborating on a single with American hip hop group Public Enemy. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Anthrax sold 2.5 million records in the United States from 1991 to 2004, with worldwide sales of 10 million. Four of the band's studio albums have also achieved gold certifications by the RIAA, including their third full-length record Among the Living (1987), which cemented Anthrax's reputation as one of the most successful thrash metal bands.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band formed in Birmingham in 1969. They have sold over 50 million albums and are frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time. Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the latter half of the 1970s, the band had struggled with indifferent record production and a lack of major commercial success until 1980, when they rose to commercial success with the album British Steel.

Mercyful Fate

Mercyful Fate

Mercyful Fate is a Danish heavy metal band from Copenhagen, formed in 1981 by vocalist King Diamond and guitarist Hank Shermann. Influenced by progressive rock and hard rock, and with lyrics dealing with Satan and the occult, Mercyful Fate were part of the first wave of black metal in the early to mid-1980s, along with Venom and Bathory. Many of the bands from this movement went on to influence later black metal musicians in the 1990s, particularly in Norway. Mercyful Fate has also been acknowledged as a prominent influence on the subsequent heavy metal scene of 1980s and 1990s, including thrash metal bands like Metallica, Slayer, Testament, Exodus and Kreator, and death metal bands such as Death, Morbid Angel, Obituary and Cannibal Corpse.

Career

Alice in Chains and Mad Season

Staley (front) and Jerry Cantrell performing at The Channel in Boston in 1992
Staley (front) and Jerry Cantrell performing at The Channel in Boston in 1992

Staley met guitarist Jerry Cantrell at a party in Seattle while working at Music Bank rehearsal studios in 1987.[31][32] A few months before that, Cantrell had watched Staley performing with his then-band, Alice N' Chains, in his hometown at the Tacoma Little Theatre, and was impressed by his voice.[33] Cantrell was homeless after being kicked out of his family's house,[21] so Staley invited Cantrell to live with him at the Music Bank.[11] The two fast friends lived as roommates for over a year in the dilapidated rehearsal space they shared.[11][34]

Alice N' Chains soon disbanded and Staley joined a funk band,[35] which at the time also required a guitarist.[35] He asked Cantrell to join as a sideman.[35][36] Cantrell agreed on condition that Staley join his band,[36] which at the time did not have a name and included drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Starr.[35] They started auditioning terrible lead singers in front of Staley to send a hint, which made him angry.[34][36] The final straw for Staley was when they auditioned a male stripper in front of him – he decided to join the band after that.[34] Cantrell said this about Staley's voice: "I knew that voice was the guy I wanted to be playing with. It sounded like it came out of a 350-pound biker rather than skinny little Layne. I considered his voice to be my voice."[11] Eventually the funk project broke up, and in 1987, Staley joined Cantrell's band on a full-time basis.[34] The band had names like "Fuck"[35][34] and "Diamond Lie",[34][37] the latter being the name of Cantrell's previous band.[34]

Two weeks after the band's formation, they were playing a gig at the University of Washington, trying to fill out a 40-minute set with a couple of original songs along with Hanoi Rocks and David Bowie covers.[38] Diamond Lie gained attention in the Seattle area and eventually took the name of Staley's previous band, Alice N' Chains, then renamed Alice in Chains.[34][28][39] Staley got permission from his former bandmates to use the name.[40]

Local promoter Randy Hauser became aware of Alice in Chains 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.[28] The final demo, completed in 1988, was named The Treehouse Tapes and found its way to the music managers Kelly Curtis and Susan Silver, who also managed the Seattle-based band Soundgarden. Curtis and Silver passed the demo on to Columbia Records' A&R representative Nick Terzo, who set up an appointment with label president Don Ienner.[41] Based on The Treehouse Tapes, Terzo signed Alice in Chains to Columbia in 1989.[42][28] The band also recorded another untitled demo over a three-month period in 1989. This recording can be found on the bootleg release Sweet Alice.[43]

Staley performing with Alice in Chains in 1992
Staley performing with Alice in Chains in 1992

Alice in Chains released their debut album Facelift on August 21, 1990, shaping the band's signature style. The second single, "Man in the Box", with lyrics written by Staley, became a huge hit. "Man in the Box" is widely recognized for its distinctive "wordless opening melody, where Staley's peculiar, tensed-throat vocals are matched in unison with an effects-laden guitar" followed by "portentous lines like: 'Jesus Christ/Deny your maker' and 'He who tries/Will be wasted' with Cantrell's drier, and less-urgent voice."[9]

Facelift has since been certified double platinum by the RIAA for sales of two million copies in the United States.[44] The band toured in support of the album for two years before releasing the acoustic EP Sap in early 1992.[45] Alice in Chains made a cameo in Cameron Crowe's 1992 film Singles, performing the songs "It Ain't Like That" and "Would?".[46]

In September 1992, Alice in Chains released Dirt.[45] The critically acclaimed album, also the band's most successful, debuted at number six on the Billboard 200, and was certified quadruple platinum.[47][10] Staley designed the sun logo on the album's inlay.[48] During the Dirt tour in Brazil in 1993, Staley saved Starr's life after he had overdosed.[49][50] Because of Staley's drug addiction, the band did not tour in support of Dirt for very long.[51]

Cantrell wrote almost all of the music and lyrics for Alice in Chains, but as time went on, Staley contributed more lyrics. Eventually, Staley would receive credit for about half the lyrics from the entire Alice in Chains catalog prior to the release of Black Gives Way to Blue in 2009.[52] He also wrote the music and the lyrics to "Hate to Feel", "Angry Chair" and "Head Creeps", and melodies to other songs. Staley's lyrics are largely viewed as having dealt with his personal troubles, such as drug use and depression.[11] Staley also played guitar on "Angry Chair"[53][54] and "Hate to Feel".[55] Cantrell said of "Angry Chair" on the liner notes of the 1999 Music Bank box set:

Such a brilliant song. I'm very proud of Layne for writing it. When I've stepped up vocally in the past he's been so supportive, and here was a fine example of him stepping up with the guitar and writing a masterpiece.[56]

In 1994, Alice in Chains released their third EP, Jar of Flies. It debuted at number one, making it the first Alice in Chains release—and the first-ever EP—to do so.[10] The other members of Alice in Chains, seeing Staley's deteriorating condition, opted not to tour in support of Jar of Flies.[11] Following the album's release, Staley entered a rehabilitation clinic and began to work on a side project with several Seattle musicians, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees and John Baker Saunders of The Walkabouts.[12] The band worked on material for several months and played their first show at the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle under the name "The Gacy Bunch" on October 12, 1994.[57][58] Within a few weeks, the band changed its name to Mad Season.[59] In January 1995, Mad Season performed two songs on Pearl Jam's Self-Pollution satellite radio broadcast, "Lifeless Dead" and "I Don't Know Anything".[60] The band completed an album, titled Above, which was released in March 1995. The first single, "River of Deceit", became a modest success on alternative radio. A live performance filmed at the Moore Theatre in Seattle was released in August 1995 as a home video, Live at the Moore.[61]

During Alice in Chains' hiatus, reports of Staley's addiction began to gain widespread circulation in fan and media communities, in part due to changes in his physical condition brought on by prolonged heroin abuse.[13]

Staley with Mad Season in 1995
Staley with Mad Season in 1995

Alice in Chains regrouped to record Alice in Chains, sometimes referred to as "Tripod", which was released in November 1995. The album debuted at the top of the U.S. charts,[62] and has since been awarded—along with Facelift and Jar of Flies—double platinum status.[47] With the exceptions of "Grind", "Heaven Beside You", and "Over Now", the lyrics were all written by Staley,[63] making this album his greatest lyrical contribution to the band's catalogue. To accompany the album, the band released a home video, The Nona Tapes,[64] but the band lapsed again, failing to complete tours planned in support of the album. When asked about the frustration of not touring to support the record, Cantrell provided some insight into how Staley's addictions led to tensions within the band: "Very frustrating, but we stuck it out. We rode the good times together, and we stuck together through the hard times. We never stabbed each other in the back and spilled our guts and [did] that kind of bullshit that you see happen a lot."[65] "Drugs worked for me for years", Staley told Rolling Stone in February 1996, "and now they're turning against me, now I'm walking through hell and this sucks. 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."[21]

One of Staley's last shows with Alice in Chains was the MTV Unplugged performance in New York on April 10, 1996.[66] The recording of Unplugged came after a long period of inactivity for the band; it was their first concert in two-and-a-half years.[14] Staley made his last performance on July 3, 1996, in Kansas City, Missouri, while Alice in Chains were touring with Kiss.[11]

Discover more about Career related topics

Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains is an American rock band from Seattle, Washington, formed in 1987 by guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney, who later recruited bassist Mike Starr and lead vocalist Layne Staley. Starr was replaced by Mike Inez in 1993. William DuVall joined the band in 2006 as co-lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, replacing Staley, who had died in 2002. The band took its name from Staley's previous group, the glam metal band Alice N' Chains.

Mad Season (band)

Mad Season (band)

Mad Season was an American rock supergroup formed in 1994 as a side project of members of other bands in the Seattle grunge scene. The band's principal members included guitarist Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, lead singer Layne Staley of Alice in Chains, drummer Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees, and bassist John Baker Saunders. Mad Season released only one album, Above, in March 1995. Its first single, "River of Deceit", was a radio success, and Above was certified a gold record by the RIAA in June.

Jerry Cantrell

Jerry Cantrell

Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr. is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is best known as the founder, lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist, and main songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains. The band rose to international fame in the early 1990s during Seattle's grunge movement, and is known for its distinctive vocal style and the harmonized vocals between Cantrell and Layne Staley. Cantrell started to sing lead vocals on Alice in Chains' 1992 EP Sap. After Staley's death in 2002, Cantrell took the role of Alice in Chains' lead singer on most of the songs from the band's post-Staley albums, Black Gives Way to Blue (2009), The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (2013) and Rainier Fog (2018), with DuVall harmonizing with him in the new songs and singing Staley's vocals in the old songs in live concerts.

Boston

Boston

Boston, officially the City of Boston, is the state capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as the cultural and financial center of the New England region of the United States. It is the 24th-most populous city in the country. The city boundaries encompass an area of about 48.4 sq mi (125 km2) and a population of 675,647 as of 2020. It is the seat of Suffolk County. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) home to a census-estimated 4.8 million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest MSA in the country. A broader combined statistical area (CSA), generally corresponding to the commuting area and including Providence, Rhode Island, is home to approximately 8.2 million people, making it the sixth most populous in the United States.

Funk

Funk

Funk is a music genre that originated in African American communities in the mid-1960s when musicians created a rhythmic, danceable new form of music through a mixture of various music genres that were popular among African Americans in the mid-20th century. It de-emphasizes melody and chord progressions and focuses on a strong rhythmic groove of a bassline played by an electric bassist and a drum part played by a percussionist, often at slower tempos than other popular music. Funk typically consists of a complex percussive groove with rhythm instruments playing interlocking grooves that create a "hypnotic" and "danceable" feel. Funk uses the same richly colored extended chords found in bebop jazz, such as minor chords with added sevenths and elevenths, or dominant seventh chords with altered ninths and thirteenths.

Mike Starr (musician)

Mike Starr (musician)

Michael Christopher Starr was an American musician best known as the original bassist for the rock band Alice in Chains, with which he played from the band's formation in 1987 until January 1993. He was also a member of Sato, Gypsy Rose, and Sun Red Sun. In 2011, Starr died of a prescription drug overdose at the age of 44.

Hanoi Rocks

Hanoi Rocks

Hanoi Rocks was a Finnish rock band formed in 1979. They were the first Finnish band to chart in the UK and they were also popular in Japan. The band broke up in June 1985 after drummer Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley died in a drunk driving accident with Vince Neil behind the wheel during their first US tour in December 1984. After their initial break-up, Michael Monroe was the first Finnish artist to chart on the American Billboard 200 in 1989. Original vocalist Michael Monroe and guitarist Andy McCoy reunited in 2001 with a new lineup that lasted until 2009. Although musically closer to traditional rock n' roll and punk, the band have been cited as a major influence in the glam metal genre for bands such as Guns N' Roses, Skid Row and Poison.

Columbia Records

Columbia Records

Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded on January 15, 1889, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1991, its recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.

Don Ienner

Don Ienner

Don Ienner is an American music executive. He served as president of Columbia Records from 1989 to 2003, and as Chairman from 1994 to 2003. In April 2003 he became president of Columbia's umbrella company, Sony Music U.S., overseeing its music labels, and was named Chief Executive Officer of Sony Music Label Group, U.S. in 2004. He resigned from that position on June 1, 2006.

Facelift (album)

Facelift (album)

Facelift is the debut studio album by the American rock band Alice in Chains, released by Columbia Records on August 21, 1990. The tracks "We Die Young", "Man in the Box", "Sea of Sorrow" and "Bleed the Freak" were released as singles. "Man In The Box" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal in 1992. Facelift became the first album from the grunge movement to be certified gold on September 11, 1991. The album peaked at No. 42 on the Billboard 200 chart, and has been certified triple-platinum by the RIAA for shipments of three million copies in the United States.

Man in the Box

Man in the Box

"Man in the Box" is a song by the American rock band Alice in Chains. It was released as a single in January 1991 after being featured on the group's debut studio album, Facelift (1990). It peaked at No. 18 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1992. The song was included on the compilation albums Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999), Music Bank (1999), Greatest Hits (2001), and The Essential Alice in Chains (2006). "Man in the Box" was the second most-played song of the decade on mainstream rock radio between 2010 and 2019.

Extended play

Extended play

An extended play record, usually referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single but fewer than an album or LP record. Contemporary EPs generally contain four or five tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

Other projects

Staley shared lead vocals with Ann Wilson for a cover of Bob Dylan's "Ring Them Bells", featured on Heart's 1993 album Desire Walks On.[67]

The song "It's Coming After" from Second Coming's 1994 debut album L.O.V.Evil features Staley on lead vocals.[68][69] Second Coming features Staley's bandmates from Alice N' Chains, his former band.[70]

One of the last songs that Staley recorded was a cover of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" with the supergroup Class of '99, featuring guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, bassist Martyn LeNoble, drummer Stephen Perkins, both from Jane's Addiction and Porno for Pyros, and keyboardist Matt Serletic.[71][72] In November 1998, the group recorded the song for the soundtrack to Robert Rodriguez's 1998 horror/sci-fi film The Faculty.[71] A music video was also released.[73] While the other members of the band were filmed specifically for the video, Staley's appearance consisted of footage pulled from Mad Season's 1995 Live at the Moore video.[74]

A song titled "Things You Do" featuring Staley on vocals was part of the soundtrack to the 2012 film Grassroots.[70] In the film, the song was credited to "The Bondage Boys featuring Layne Staley",[75] but the song had been credited to "Layne Staley and The Aftervibes" and "Layne Staley and Second Coming" when it leaked on the internet years before.[70]

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Ann Wilson

Ann Wilson

Ann Dustin Wilson is an American singer best known as the lead singer of the rock band Heart.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter. Often regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in popular culture during a career spanning more than 60 years. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963) and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (1964) became anthems for the civil rights and antiwar movements. His lyrics during this period incorporated a range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences, defying pop music conventions and appealing to the burgeoning counterculture.

Heart (band)

Heart (band)

Heart is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Seattle, Washington, as The Army. Two years later they changed their name to Hocus Pocus. The year following they changed their name to White Heart, and eventually changed the name a final time to Heart, in 1973. By the mid-1970s, original members Roger Fisher (guitar) and Steve Fossen had been joined by sisters Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson, Michael Derosier (drums), and Howard Leese to form the lineup for the band's initial mid- to late-1970s success period. These core members were included in the band's 2013 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Desire Walks On

Desire Walks On

Desire Walks On is the eleventh studio album by American rock band Heart, released on November 16, 1993, by Capitol Records. The majority of the album was co-written by lead members Ann and Nancy Wilson. It is Heart's final studio album to feature longtime member Howard Leese, who, aside from the Wilson sisters, is the band's longest-serving member. Layne Staley, lead vocalist of the Seattle grunge band Alice in Chains, sings with the Wilson sisters on the cover of Bob Dylan's "Ring Them Bells".

L.O.V.Evil

L.O.V.Evil

L.O.V.Evil is the debut studio album by the Seattle-based Second Coming.

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd are an English rock band formed in London in 1965. Gaining an early following as one of the first British psychedelic groups, they were distinguished by their extended compositions, sonic experimentation, philosophical lyrics and elaborate live shows. They became a leading band of the progressive rock genre, cited by some as the greatest progressive rock band of all time.

Another Brick in the Wall

Another Brick in the Wall

"Another Brick in the Wall" is a three-part composition on Pink Floyd's 1979 rock opera The Wall, written by bassist Roger Waters. "Part 2", a protest song against corporal punishment, and rigid and abusive schooling, features a children's choir. At the suggestion of producer Bob Ezrin, Pink Floyd added elements of disco.

Martyn LeNoble

Martyn LeNoble

Martyn LeNoble is a Dutch bassist and a founding member of the alternative rock band Porno for Pyros.

Jane's Addiction

Jane's Addiction

Jane's Addiction is an American rock band from Los Angeles, formed in 1985. The band consists of vocalist Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, drummer Stephen Perkins and bassist Eric Avery. Jane's Addiction was one of the first bands from the early 1990s alternative rock movement to gain both mainstream media attention and commercial success in the United States.

Matt Serletic

Matt Serletic

Matthew Michael Serletic II is an American record producer, songwriter, and music executive.

Horror film

Horror film

Horror is a film genre that seeks to elicit fear or disgust in its audience for entertainment purposes.

Grassroots (film)

Grassroots (film)

Grassroots is a 2012 American political dark comedy film directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal, based on the book Zioncheck for President by Phil Campbell.

Personal life

In the early 1990s, Staley enrolled in several rehab programs, but he failed to stay clean for long. At one point, the other members of Alice in Chains flew to Los Angeles for weekly therapy at Staley's rehab.[11] During the Dirt tour, Alice in Chains' manager, Susan Silver, hired bodyguards to keep Staley away from people who might try to pass him drugs,[76] but he ended up relapsing on alcohol and drugs during the tour.[77] Screaming Trees' Mark Lanegan recalled partying with Staley on tour and said that, "off stage, it was an insane, dark, drug and alcohol-fuelled frat party from start to finish, with Layne [Staley] and I raising hell, behaving like teenagers, staying up for days on end. We partook of whatever drugs came our way. Heroin, cocaine, painkillers, anything."[78] Kurt Cobain's death in April 1994 scared Staley into temporary sobriety, but soon he was back into his addiction. Alice in Chains' managers turned down lucrative touring possibilities and kept the band off the road, hoping that would help Staley.[11] Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready also tried to help Staley by inviting him to his side project, Mad Season.[79][80] McCready had hoped that playing with sober musicians would encourage Staley.[11] On October 29, 1996, Staley's former fiancée, Demri Lara Parrott, died of a drug overdose.[81][82] Staley was placed on a 24-hour suicide watch,[11] according to NME, which quoted a friend saying Staley was taking Parrott's death "extremely badly" and had fallen into a deep depression.[83] Lanegan told Rolling Stone in 2002, "He never recovered from Demri's death. After that, I don't think he wanted to go on."[11]

Final years: 1997–2002

On February 26, 1997, Staley and the other members of Alice in Chains attended the Grammy Awards after the song "Again" was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance.[84] In April of that same year, Staley purchased a 1,500 sq ft (140 m2), three-bedroom condominium in Seattle's University District via a trust. Toby Wright, the producer of Alice in Chains' third album, set up a home recording system for him there.[85]

In 1998, amid rumors that Staley rarely left his apartment, had contracted gangrene, and had lost the ability to ingest food and was living on a diet of Ensure, Jerry Cantrell told Kerrang! that the members of Alice in Chains regularly hung out at Staley's house.[11] On June 22, 1998, Staley made a phone call to radio program Rockline and gave a rare interview while Cantrell was promoting his first solo album, Boggy Depot. Staley called the show to talk to Cantrell and stated that he had loved the album.[86]

In October 1998, Staley re-emerged to record two tracks with Alice in Chains, "Get Born Again" and "Died", which were released on the Music Bank box set in 1999.[45][87] Additional reports of Staley's deteriorating condition persisted in the midst of the sessions. Dirt producer Dave Jerden—originally chosen by the band for the production—said, "Staley weighed 80 pounds…and was white as a ghost." Studio engineer Elan Trujillo commented that Layne "definitely didn't look like how he used to look" and noticed Staley had, in addition to no teeth, atrophy in his legs.[88] Cantrell refused to comment on the singer's appearance, and band manager Susan Silver said she had not seen him since "last year".[87]

Staley made his final public appearance on October 31, 1998, when he attended a Jerry Cantrell solo concert in Seattle. He declined Cantrell's request to sing with him on stage. A photo taken of Staley backstage at this show is the most recent photo of him that has been publicly released.[89]

Thereafter, Staley was thought to have left behind his "self-imposed rock & roll exile", when in November 1998 he laid down additional vocal tracks as part of a supergroup called Class of '99, featuring members of Rage Against the Machine, Jane's Addiction, and Porno for Pyros.[71]

On July 19, 1999, the radio program Rockline was hosting Cantrell, Inez, and Kinney for a discussion on the release of Nothing Safe: Best of the Box, when, unexpectedly, Staley called in to participate. This was Staley's last interview.[90]

From 1999 to 2002, Staley became more reclusive and depressed,[91] rarely leaving his Seattle condo; little is known about the details of his life during this period. Staley was rumored to spend most of his days creating art, playing video games, or nodding off on drugs.[11] Staley's one time roommate and friend Morgen Gallagher later said that around 2001 Staley was going to audition for Audioslave; this claim was later debunked by Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello.[92][93]

Staley's mother, Nancy McCallum, told The Seattle Times in 2007 that despite his isolation, he was never far from the love of his family and friends, who filled his answering machine and mailbox with messages and letters. "Just because he was isolated doesn't mean we didn't have sweet moments with him." McCallum has also claimed that she saw Staley on Thanksgiving of 2001, and again just around Valentine's Day of 2002, when he visited his sister's baby. This was the last time that McCallum saw her son.[19] Sean Kinney has commented on Staley's final years and isolation period:

It got to a point where he'd kept himself so locked up, both physically and emotionally. I kept trying to make contact...Three times a week, like clockwork, I'd call him, but he'd never answer. Every time I was in the area, I was up in front of his place yelling for him ... Even if you could get in his building, he wasn't going to open the door. You'd phone and he wouldn't answer. You couldn't just kick the door in and grab him, though there were so many times I thought about doing that. But if someone won't help themselves, what, really, can anyone else do?[11]

Staley's physical appearance had become even worse than before: he had lost several teeth, his skin was sickly pale, and he was severely emaciated. Close friends such as Matt Fox said, "If no one heard from him for weeks, it wasn't unusual". Staley grew increasingly disconnected from his friends and bandmates who repeatedly tried to get him into rehab, but Staley refused.[94] Staley's close friend Mark Lanegan said, "He didn't speak to anybody as of late… It's been a few months since I talked to him. But for us to not talk for a few months is par for the course."[95]

Discover more about Personal life related topics

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Donald Cobain was an American musician, best known as the lead vocalist, guitarist and primary songwriter of the rock band Nirvana. Through his angst-fueled songwriting and anti-establishment persona, Cobain's compositions widened the thematic conventions of mainstream rock. He was heralded as a spokesman of Generation X and is considered one of the most influential musicians in the history of alternative rock.

Again (Alice in Chains song)

Again (Alice in Chains song)

"Again" is a song by American rock band Alice in Chains and the third single and sixth track from their self-titled 1995 album. It peaked at No. 8 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1997. The song was included on the compilation albums Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999), Greatest Hits (2001), and The Essential Alice in Chains (2006). A remixed version of the song was included on the box set Music Bank (1999).

Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance

Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance

The Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance was an award presented to recording artists at the Grammy Awards until 2011.

Ensure

Ensure

Ensure is an American brand of nutritional supplements and meal replacements manufactured by Abbott Laboratories.

Kerrang!

Kerrang!

Kerrang! is a British weekly magazine devoted to rock, punk and heavy metal music, currently published by Wasted Talent. It was first published on 6 June 1981 as a one-off supplement in the Sounds newspaper. Named after the onomatopoeic word that derives from the sound made when playing a power chord on a distorted electric guitar, Kerrang! was initially devoted to the new wave of British heavy metal and the rise of hard rock acts. In the early 2000s, it became the best-selling British music weekly.

Boggy Depot

Boggy Depot

Boggy Depot is the debut solo album by Alice in Chains guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell. The vinyl edition was released on March 31, 1998, and the CD was released on April 7, 1998 through Columbia Records. The album was named after the ghost town of the same name in Oklahoma, where Cantrell's father grew up. In addition to singing, Cantrell also played guitar, piano, clavinet, organ, and steel drums on Boggy Depot. Cantrell produced the album along with Toby Wright. Cantrell's Alice in Chains bandmates, Sean Kinney and Mike Inez are featured on the album, as well as Les Claypool, Pantera's Rex Brown, and Fishbone's Angelo Moore and John Norwood Fisher. Boggy Depot debuted at No. 28 on the Billboard 200 and spent 14 weeks on the chart. The tracks "Cut You In", "My Song" and "Dickeye" were released as singles to promote the album. "Cut You In" peaked at No. 5. on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks, "My Song" reached No. 6 and "Dickeye" peaked at No. 36. "Cut You In" was nominated for two Billboard Music Video Awards: Best Hard Rock/Metal Clip and Best New Hard Rock/Metal Artist Clip. Boggy Depot was reissued on colored vinyl on December 13, 2019.

Get Born Again

Get Born Again

"Get Born Again" is a song by the American rock band Alice in Chains and, along with "Died", one of the last two songs recorded with vocalist Layne Staley before his death in 2002. The song was released as the lead single from the compilation Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999) on June 1, 1999. It peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and at No. 12 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. "Get Born Again" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2000. The song was also included on the compilation albums Music Bank (1999) and The Essential Alice in Chains (2006).

Dave Jerden

Dave Jerden

Dave Jerden is an American record producer, engineer, and mixer who has worked with artists in various genres including alternative rock, punk rock and metal. However, Jerden has stated that he dislikes the term "producer", preferring to refer to himself primarily as an engineer.

Atrophy

Atrophy

Atrophy is the partial or complete wasting away of a part of the body. Causes of atrophy include mutations, poor nourishment, poor circulation, loss of hormonal support, loss of nerve supply to the target organ, excessive amount of apoptosis of cells, and disuse or lack of exercise or disease intrinsic to the tissue itself. In medical practice, hormonal and nerve inputs that maintain an organ or body part are said to have trophic effects. A diminished muscular trophic condition is designated as atrophy. Atrophy is reduction in size of cell, organ or tissue, after attaining its normal mature growth. In contrast, hypoplasia is the reduction in the cellular numbers of an organ, or tissue that has not attained normal maturity.

Nothing Safe: Best of the Box

Nothing Safe: Best of the Box

Nothing Safe: Best of the Box is the first greatest hits album by the American rock band Alice in Chains. It was released on June 29, 1999 on Columbia Records. The previously unreleased track "Get Born Again" was released as a single to promote the album and peaked at No. 4 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and at No. 12 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. "Get Born Again" was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2000.

Condominium

Condominium

A condominium is an ownership structure whereby a building is divided into several units that are each separately owned, surrounded by common areas that are jointly owned. The term can be applied to the building or complex itself as well as each individual unit within.

Audioslave

Audioslave

Audioslave was an American rock supergroup formed in Glendale, California, in 2001. The four-piece band consisted of Soundgarden's lead singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell with Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk (drums). Critics first described Audioslave as a combination of Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine, but by the band's second album, Out of Exile, it was noted that they had established a separate identity. Their unique sound was created by blending 1970s hard rock and 1990s alternative rock, with musical influences that included 1960s funk, soul and R&B. As with Rage Against the Machine, the band prided themselves on the fact that all sounds on their albums were produced using only guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, with emphasis on Cornell's wide vocal range and Morello's unconventional guitar solos.

Death

On April 19, 2002, Staley's accountants contacted his former manager, Susan Silver, and informed her that no money had been withdrawn from the singer's bank account in two weeks. Silver then contacted Staley's mother, Nancy McCallum, who placed a call with 911 to say she had not heard from him "in about two weeks".[96] The police went with McCallum and her ex-husband, Jim Elmer,[18] to Staley's home.[20] It was reported that the 6-foot (1.8 m) Staley weighed only 86 pounds (39 kg) when his body was discovered.[97] Staley's body was partially decomposed when he was found. Medical examiners had to identify the body by comparing dental records.[98] Years later, McCallum revealed that two days before Staley's body was found, she went to his apartment to let him know about the death of Demri Parrott's brother, but there was no answer. When she got the phone call to check on her son two days later, she was not surprised that Staley had not responded. There was some mail by his door. Staley owned a cat named Sadie at the time, who was usually quiet; upon hearing Sadie meow, McCallum became worried it was a call of distress. Still not receiving an answer from Staley, McCallum called 911.[20]

The autopsy and toxicology report on Staley's body revealed that he died from a mixture of heroin and cocaine, known as a speedball.[99] The autopsy concluded that Staley died two weeks before his body was found, on April 5—the same day fellow grunge musician Kurt Cobain died eight years prior.[100] Staley's death was classified as "accidental".[100] Staley's Alice in Chains bandmates issued the following statement:

It's good to be with friends and family as we struggle to deal with this immense loss … and try to celebrate this immense life. We are looking for all the usual things: comfort, purpose, answers, something to hold on to, a way to let him go in peace. Mostly, we are feeling heartbroken over the death of our beautiful friend. He was a sweet man with a keen sense of humor and a deep sense of humanity. He was an amazing musician, an inspiration, and a comfort to so many. He made great music and gifted it to the world. We are proud to have known him, to be his friend, and to create music with him. For the past decade, Layne struggled greatly—we can only hope that he has at last found some peace. We love you, Layne. Dearly. And we will miss you … endlessly.[101]

In 2010, in an interview on VH1's Celebrity Rehab with Staley's mother, Nancy McCallum,[102] former Alice in Chains bass player Mike Starr said that he was the last person to see Staley alive and had spent time with him the day before his death, on Starr's birthday, April 4. Starr claimed that Staley was very sick but would not call 911. They briefly argued, which ended with Starr storming out. Starr stated that Staley called after him as he left and said: "Not like this, don't leave like this."[103] Staley died the following day, April 5. Starr expressed regret for not calling 911 to save his life, and said that Staley had threatened to sever their friendship if he did. Starr regreted being high on benzodiazepines that night and having walked out of the door.[104][105] The interview ended with Starr apologizing to McCallum for not calling 911, but she was insistent that neither she nor anyone in her family blamed Starr for Staley's death. She also told Starr: "Layne would forgive you. He'd say, 'Hey, I did this. Not you.'" Starr still blamed himself for the death of Staley.[103] Starr kept this story a secret until his appearance on Celebrity Rehab in February 2010.[106] During this same interview, McCallum also said that Staley had attempted rehab 13 times, although it is not clear whether any of these attempts were during his reclusive years.[103] Starr was found dead on March 8, 2011, as a result of prescription drug overdose.[105]

Aftermath

An informal memorial was held for Staley on the night of April 20, 2002, at the Seattle Center, which was attended by at least 100 fans and friends, including Alice in Chains bandmates Cantrell, Starr, Inez and Kinney, and Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell.[107][108] Staley's body was cremated and a private memorial service was held for him on April 28, 2002, on Bainbridge Island in Washington's Puget Sound. During her appearance on Celebrity Rehab in 2010, Staley's mother said she has her son's ashes in a box.[103] Staley's private memorial was attended by his family and friends, along with his Alice in Chains bandmates, the band's manager Susan Silver and her then-husband Chris Cornell, as well as other music personalities. Chris Cornell, joined by Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson, sang a rendition of The Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" at the funeral.[109] They also performed The Lovemongers' song "Sand".[110]

Jerry Cantrell dedicated his solo album, Degradation Trip, released two months after Staley's death, to his memory.[111] Cantrell also took in Staley's cat, Sadie, and he and the family cared for the pet for eight years until Sadie died in 2010 at the age of 18.[112]

Shortly after Staley's death, his parents Nancy McCallum and Phil Staley started receiving donations from fans all over the world. Nancy and Phil worked with Seattle's Therapeutic Health Services clinic to create the Layne Staley Memorial Fund to help other heroin addicts and their families in the Seattle music community.[113][114]

Alice in Chains remained inactive following Staley's death. For the next several years, the band refused to perform together out of respect for him.[65][115] In 2005, Cantrell, Kinney, and Inez reunited for a benefit concert for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, with several vocalists filling in for Staley.[115] Following positive response, the band decided to reunite formally in 2006. Comes with the Fall vocalist William DuVall, a member of Cantrell's solo touring band who often sang Staley's parts on the Alice in Chains songs that Cantrell performed, was announced to sing Staley's part for the reunion shows.[116] In an interview with MTV News, Kinney noted that the band would use the reunion concerts to pay tribute to the songs and to Staley.[116] The band used to have an intermission to include a five-minute filmed tribute to Staley in between sets.[117] DuVall has since become Staley's full-time replacement in the band, contributing to three full-length releases.

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9-1-1

9-1-1

9-1-1, usually written 911, is an emergency telephone number for the United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Palau, Argentina, Philippines, Jordan, as well as the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), one of eight N11 codes. Like other emergency numbers around the world, this number is intended for use in emergency circumstances only. Using it for any other purpose is a crime in most jurisdictions.

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Donald Cobain was an American musician, best known as the lead vocalist, guitarist and primary songwriter of the rock band Nirvana. Through his angst-fueled songwriting and anti-establishment persona, Cobain's compositions widened the thematic conventions of mainstream rock. He was heralded as a spokesman of Generation X and is considered one of the most influential musicians in the history of alternative rock.

Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew

Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew

Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, later called simply Rehab with Dr. Drew, is a reality television show that aired on the cable network VH1 in which many of the episodes chronicle a group of well-known people as they are treated for alcohol and drug addiction by Dr. Drew Pinsky and his staff at the Pasadena Recovery Center in Pasadena, California. The first five seasons of the series, on which Pinsky also serves as executive producer, cast celebrities struggling with addiction, with the first season premiering on January 10, 2008, and the fifth airing in 2011.

Mike Starr (musician)

Mike Starr (musician)

Michael Christopher Starr was an American musician best known as the original bassist for the rock band Alice in Chains, with which he played from the band's formation in 1987 until January 1993. He was also a member of Sato, Gypsy Rose, and Sun Red Sun. In 2011, Starr died of a prescription drug overdose at the age of 44.

Prescription drug

Prescription drug

A prescription drug is a pharmaceutical drug that legally requires a medical prescription to be dispensed. In contrast, over-the-counter drugs can be obtained without a prescription. The reason for this difference in substance control is the potential scope of misuse, from drug abuse to practicing medicine without a license and without sufficient education. Different jurisdictions have different definitions of what constitutes a prescription drug.

Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell

Christopher John Cornell was an American singer and musician best known as the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and primary lyricist and songwriter for the rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. He also had a solo career and contributed to soundtracks. Cornell was also the founder and frontman of Temple of the Dog, a one-off tribute band dedicated to his late friend Andrew Wood.

Puget Sound

Puget Sound

Puget Sound is a sound of the Pacific Northwest, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, and part of the Salish Sea. It is located along the northwestern coast of the U.S. state of Washington. It is a complex estuarine system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, with one major and two minor connections to the open Pacific Ocean via the Strait of Juan de Fuca—Admiralty Inlet being the major connection and Deception Pass and Swinomish Channel being the minor.

Ann Wilson

Ann Wilson

Ann Dustin Wilson is an American singer best known as the lead singer of the rock band Heart.

Nancy Wilson (rock musician)

Nancy Wilson (rock musician)

Nancy Lamoureux Wilson is an American musician. She rose to fame alongside her older sister Ann as a guitarist, backing and occasional lead vocalist in the rock band Heart.

Degradation Trip

Degradation Trip

Degradation Trip is the second solo album by Alice in Chains guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell, released on June 18, 2002. It marks his difficult transition from Columbia Records to Roadrunner, and was dedicated to Alice in Chains lead singer Layne Staley, who died two months before the album's release. The title was taken from the song "Solitude", the fifth track from the album. Degradation Trip featured two singles and was well received by critics, faring better than Cantrell's solo debut and bearing stronger resemblance to his work in Alice in Chains. The tracks "Anger Rising" and "Angel Eyes" were released as singles. "Anger Rising" reached No. 10 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks and stayed on the chart for 18 weeks. The album has sold 100,000 copies in the U.S. as of December 2002. In April 2019, it was ranked No. 21 on Rolling Stone's "50 Greatest Grunge Albums" list. Degradation Trip was released on vinyl for the first time on January 20, 2017, with a limited edition of 1,500 copies on transparent green vinyl.

Benefit concert

Benefit concert

A benefit concert or charity concert is a type of musical benefit performance featuring musicians, comedians, or other performers that is held for a charitable purpose, often directed at a specific and immediate humanitarian crisis.

2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami

2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami

An earthquake and a tsunami, known as the Boxing Day Tsunami and, by the scientific community, the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake, occurred at 07:58:53 local time (UTC+7) on 26 December 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. It was an undersea megathrust earthquake that registered a magnitude of 9.1–9.3 Mw, reaching a Mercalli intensity up to IX in certain areas. The earthquake was caused by a rupture along the fault between the Burma Plate and the Indian Plate.

Tributes and influence

Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins stated that Staley "had an amazing voice that had such a beautiful, sad, haunting quality about it. He was different because his heaviness was in that voice."[101] The song "Bleeding The Orchid" from The Smashing Pumpkins' 2007 album Zeitgeist was indirectly inspired by the death of Staley.[118]

Cold's song "The Day Seattle Died" from their 2003 album Year of the Spider was an ode to Staley, as well as fellow grunge figurehead Kurt Cobain.[119] That same year Staind featured a song called "Layne" in memory to the singer on their album 14 Shades of Grey.[119] In their 2004 album Hangover Music Vol. VI, Black Label Society also included a tribute to Staley, titled "Layne".[120]

Eddie Vedder, lead singer of Pearl Jam, wrote a song eulogizing Staley, titled "4/20/02" (the day Vedder heard the news).[121] The song featured only Vedder singing and playing the guitar in a ukulele-inspired tuning, and was released as a hidden track on Pearl Jam's 2003 B-sides and rarities album, Lost Dogs, roughly four minutes and twenty seconds after the conclusion of the final listed song, "Bee Girl".[121] Vedder also paid tribute to Staley during a Pearl Jam concert in Chicago on August 22, 2016, which would have been Staley's 49th birthday, and dedicated the song "Man of the Hour" to his late friend.[122]

Jerry Cantrell said Staley gave him the self-assurance to sing.[56][33] "Layne was really responsible for giving me the confidence to become more of a singer. He'd say, 'You wrote this song, this means something to you, sing it.' He kicked my ass out of the nest. Over the years I continued to grow, and Layne started to play guitar, and we inspired each other".[123]

Since 2002, Seattle has hosted an annual tribute concert for Staley on his birthday. Venues such as the Moore Theatre,[124] The Showbox[125] The Fenix,[126] and The Crocodile[127] have hosted the event. The show proceeds benefit the Layne Staley Memorial Fund.[128]

Staley ranked at No. 27 on Hit Parader magazine's list of "Heavy Metal's All-Time Top 100 Vocalists" published in the November 2006 issue,[129] and at No. 42 on Complex's magazine list of "The 50 Best Lead Singers of All Time" in 2012.[130]

Staley was an inspiration for the title of Metallica's 2008 album, Death Magnetic.[119] The band recorded a song in tribute to him, titled "Rebel of Babylon".[131]

In 2009, Alice in Chains released their first studio album in 14 years, Black Gives Way to Blue, with Cantrell and then-new vocalist and rhythm guitarist William DuVall sharing lead vocals.[132] The title track is a tribute to Staley.[133] Cantrell invited Elton John to join Alice in Chains and pay tribute to Staley playing the piano in "Black Gives Way to Blue",[134] the closing song in the album.[135] The song was written and sung by Cantrell, who described it as the band's goodbye to Staley.[136] The first concert that Staley attended was Elton John's and he was blown away by it.[135] According to Cantrell, the album's cover art featuring a heart surrounded by a black background was inspired by the fact that the members of the band had their hearts broken by losing Staley.[137] Staley's former bandmates also thanked him in the album's liner notes.[138]

On September 6, 2011, Hank Williams III released his Attention Deficit Domination album and dedicated it to Staley.[139]

Staley's Alice in Chains bandmates have stated that one of the saddest aspects of his legacy is to hear him remembered primarily for his drug use rather than the other aspects of his personality.[140][123] Kinney and Cantrell have also expressed their frustration over the Grammys ignoring Staley during their annual tribute to the musicians who have died in the past year.[141]

In 2013, Alice in Chains' drummer, Sean Kinney, added the initials "LSMS" on his drum kit, a tribute to Staley and the band's former bassist, Mike Starr, who died in 2011.[142][143] The music video for Alice in Chains' 2013 single, "Voices", features a picture of Staley next to a photo of Nirvana's frontman, Kurt Cobain, at the 2:20 mark.[144]

Since Alice in Chains reunited, Jerry Cantrell started paying tribute to Staley before performing the song "Nutshell".[145] Since 2011, Cantrell pays tribute to both Staley and Mike Starr before performing the song at concerts.[146]

In April 2017, Nancy Wilson revealed that she started writing the song "The Dragon" for Staley in the '90s. The song was recorded in 2016 and is part of the EP of Wilson's new band, Roadcase Royale, released in 2017.[147][148]

On Staley's 50th birthday, August 22, 2017, Alice in Chains released a video paying tribute to him, featuring Jerry Cantrell, Ann Wilson, Mike McCready and Barrett Martin.[149]

William DuVall revealed that he was thinking about Staley, his grandmother and the late Soundgarden lead vocalist Chris Cornell while writing the Alice in Chains' song "Never Fade", from their 2018 album, Rainier Fog.[150] The album's title track, written by Cantrell, is partly a tribute to Staley and Mike Starr.[151]

Layne Staley Day in Seattle

On August 22, 2019, which would have been Staley's 52nd birthday, Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan officially proclaimed that day as "Layne Staley Day" in the city in honor of Staley's contributions to the world of music. The day was also a call to attention to the Layne Staley Memorial Fund, established by his parents in 2002.[152]

Books

Two biographies have been written about Staley, both authored by Adriana Rubio—Layne Staley: Angry Chair released in 2003, which contains an alleged final interview of Staley that Rubio claimed to have conducted less than three months before his death,[81] and Layne Staley: Get Born Again, released in 2009, a revised and updated version of her earlier book.[153]

Staley's family has disputed Rubio's work, stating they do not believe she interviewed him in 2002.[154] Staley's last interview was for the radio Rockline on July 19, 1999, promoting the release of the compilation album Nothing Safe: Best of the Box with the other members of Alice in Chains.[155] The content of Rubio's book, including what she referred to as Staley's final interview, was called into question in journalist David De Sola's 2015 book Alice in Chains: The Untold Story.[81] De Sola questions not only the content of the interview, which portrays Staley as using his lyrics in casual conversation, it also indicates that Rubio never spoke to him, citing her refusal to release the tape with the interview and the fact that not even her publisher had access to the tape.[81] One of Staley's sisters, Liz Coats, likewise doubted the veracity of the book.[154]

Staley was featured on the books Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music (2009) by Greg Prato,[156] and Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge (2011) by Mark Yarm. Both books explored the history of grunge in detail and touch upon Alice in Chains and Staley's life and death via interviews with Staley's mother, friends and bandmates, including Cantrell, Kinney, Starr and Inez.[157][158]

In August 2015, journalist David de Sola released the biography Alice in Chains: The Untold Story,[159] which is mainly focused on Staley and features interviews with his friends and relatives; the surviving members of Alice in Chains did not partake in interviews for this book.[160]

Discover more about Tributes and influence related topics

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Cold (band)

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14 Shades of Grey

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14 Shades of Grey is the fourth studio album by American rock band Staind, released on May 20, 2003. The album continues to develop a post-grunge sound seen on the band's previous album Break the Cycle, though the songs on 14 Shades of Grey have fewer pop hooks, focusing more on frontman Aaron Lewis's emotions. It is the band's last album to be released from Elektra Records.

Hangover Music Vol. VI

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Black Label Society

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Eddie Vedder

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Eulogy

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A eulogy is a speech or writing in praise of a person or persons, especially one who recently died or retired, or as a term of endearment.

Lost Dogs (album)

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Man of the Hour

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"Man of the Hour" is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam. Written by vocalist Eddie Vedder, "Man of the Hour" accompanies the closing credits of the 2003 film Big Fish, and is the first track on the film's soundtrack album. It was released as a single on November 26, 2003. The song was included on Pearl Jam's 2004 greatest hits album, rearviewmirror .

Jerry Cantrell

Jerry Cantrell

Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr. is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is best known as the founder, lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist, and main songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains. The band rose to international fame in the early 1990s during Seattle's grunge movement, and is known for its distinctive vocal style and the harmonized vocals between Cantrell and Layne Staley. Cantrell started to sing lead vocals on Alice in Chains' 1992 EP Sap. After Staley's death in 2002, Cantrell took the role of Alice in Chains' lead singer on most of the songs from the band's post-Staley albums, Black Gives Way to Blue (2009), The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (2013) and Rainier Fog (2018), with DuVall harmonizing with him in the new songs and singing Staley's vocals in the old songs in live concerts.

Moore Theatre

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Hit Parader

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Discography

Alice in Chains

Staley appeared on all Alice in Chains releases from We Die Young up to the song "Died", later taking part in reissues and compilations containing material from his time in the band.

Other appearances

Other appearances by Layne Staley
Title Album details Band Notes
Desire Walks On
  • Released: November 16, 1993
  • Label: Capitol
Heart Guest vocals on the song "Ring Them Bells".
Above
  • Released: March 14, 1995
  • Label: Columbia
Mad Season US No. 24;[161] RIAA: Gold[162]
Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon Vocals on "I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier".
L.O.V.Evil
  • Released: December 15, 1995
  • Label: Red Rocket
Second Coming Guest vocals on the song "It's Coming After".
The Faculty: Music from the Dimension Motion Picture
  • Released: December 8, 1998
  • Label: Sony
Class of '99 Vocals on "Another Brick in the Wall Part 1, Part 2"

Discover more about Discography related topics

Alice in Chains discography

Alice in Chains discography

The discography of Alice in Chains, a Seattle-based rock band, consists of six studio albums, three extended plays (EP), three live albums, five compilations, two DVDs, 44 music videos, and 32 singles.

Died (song)

Died (song)

"Died" is a song by Alice in Chains and the final one recorded with vocalist Layne Staley before his death in 2002. The song was included on the compilation albums Music Bank (1999) and The Essential Alice in Chains (2006).

Desire Walks On

Desire Walks On

Desire Walks On is the eleventh studio album by American rock band Heart, released on November 16, 1993, by Capitol Records. The majority of the album was co-written by lead members Ann and Nancy Wilson. It is Heart's final studio album to feature longtime member Howard Leese, who, aside from the Wilson sisters, is the band's longest-serving member. Layne Staley, lead vocalist of the Seattle grunge band Alice in Chains, sings with the Wilson sisters on the cover of Bob Dylan's "Ring Them Bells".

Capitol Records

Capitol Records

Capitol Records, LLC is an American record label distributed by Universal Music Group through its Capitol Music Group imprint. It was founded as the first West Coast-based record label of note in the United States in 1942 by Johnny Mercer, Buddy DeSylva, and Glenn E. Wallichs. Capitol was acquired by British music conglomerate EMI as its North American subsidiary in 1955. EMI was acquired by Universal Music Group in 2012, and was merged with the company a year later, making Capitol and the Capitol Music Group both distributed by UMG. The label's circular headquarters building is a recognized landmark of Hollywood, California. Capitol is well known as the U.S. record label of the Beatles, especially during the years of Beatlemania in America from 1964 to 1967.

Heart (band)

Heart (band)

Heart is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Seattle, Washington, as The Army. Two years later they changed their name to Hocus Pocus. The year following they changed their name to White Heart, and eventually changed the name a final time to Heart, in 1973. By the mid-1970s, original members Roger Fisher (guitar) and Steve Fossen had been joined by sisters Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson, Michael Derosier (drums), and Howard Leese to form the lineup for the band's initial mid- to late-1970s success period. These core members were included in the band's 2013 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Above (Mad Season album)

Above (Mad Season album)

Above is the only studio album by the American rock band Mad Season, released on March 14, 1995, through Columbia Records. Above peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album has been certified gold by the RIAA in the United States. Layne Staley created the artwork on the album cover and inside the inlay.

Columbia Records

Columbia Records

Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded on January 15, 1889, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1991, its recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.

Mad Season (band)

Mad Season (band)

Mad Season was an American rock supergroup formed in 1994 as a side project of members of other bands in the Seattle grunge scene. The band's principal members included guitarist Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, lead singer Layne Staley of Alice in Chains, drummer Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees, and bassist John Baker Saunders. Mad Season released only one album, Above, in March 1995. Its first single, "River of Deceit", was a radio success, and Above was certified a gold record by the RIAA in June.

Hollywood Records

Hollywood Records

Hollywood Records is an American record label of the Disney Music Group. The label focuses in pop, rock, alternative, hip hop, and country genres, as well as specializing in mature recordings not suitable for the flagship Walt Disney Records label.

L.O.V.Evil

L.O.V.Evil

L.O.V.Evil is the debut studio album by the Seattle-based Second Coming.

Class of '99

Class of '99

Class of '99 was a short-term American alternative rock supergroup consisting of members from notable rock bands:Layne Staley of Alice in Chains as vocalist, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine as lead guitarist, Stephen Perkins of Jane's Addiction as drummer, Martyn LeNoble of Porno for Pyros as bassist, Matt Serletic producer of Matchbox Twenty and many others as keyboardist.

Another Brick in the Wall

Another Brick in the Wall

"Another Brick in the Wall" is a three-part composition on Pink Floyd's 1979 rock opera The Wall, written by bassist Roger Waters. "Part 2", a protest song against corporal punishment, and rigid and abusive schooling, features a children's choir. At the suggestion of producer Bob Ezrin, Pink Floyd added elements of disco.

Source: "Layne Staley", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Layne_Staley.

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