Grunged: Junkie Rock

This will not be a happy blog post. Talking about Kurt Cobain is depressing for sure, but that’s a happy tea party compared to the pathetic final years of Layne Staley’s wasted life and the general apathy that has followed.

If you really want to know the details about Layne’s final years you can do the research yourself, I’ll give you the downer-highlights.

From 1997 to Layne’s death in 2002 he was rarely seen in public and never performed, instead spending most time in his condo shooting up heroin and avoiding everyone around him. His last recording session with Alice In Chains produced the great “Get Born Again” and “Died” which served as a memoriam to his girlfriend who died from an overdose some time before then. Layne estimated date of death was April 5th, 2002, but he wasn’t found until the 20th, when the police came by his house since no one had seen or heard from him in weeks. He was found surrounded by cocaine and heroin, I believe the fucking needle was still in his arm.

The same week Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes died in a plane crash, and the media attention was all on her. Layne was forgotten quickly, according to an MTV news story only 200 people showed up for a vigil after his death. Everyone knew it was going to happen and no one cared when it finally did I suppose. Now no one talks about him, even though Alice In Chains remain one of the biggest acts on alternative radio, with songs like “Man In The Box” and “Rooster” undeniable classics.

But what is Alice In Chains’ legacy? Well, they left us three amazing albums and two great EPs as well as the best Unplugged in MTV’s history. But in their wake came an entire subgenre of shit musicians who continue to rip-off their sound in the most obvious of ways. Being influenced by a band is one thing, but Godsmack, Stand, Seether, and the countless other AiC-copycats aren’t adding anything new, they’re copycats pure and simple (Godsmack even named themselves after a fucking Alice In Chains’ song) and they fucking suck. They lack the emotion, power and dark energy that Alice In Chains had, and they’re never going to get it. I thought necrophilia was illegal, then why are these pricks getting away with raping Staley’s corpse on a daily basis? It’s a fucking shame.

Alice In Chains
What The Hell Have I
A Little Bitter
Suffragette City
Again (Club Mix)
Again (Trip Hop Mix)
Another Brick in The Wall (Part 2)
This is an odd collection of rarities. Alice In Chains doesn’t have a lot of hard-to-find material thanks in part to their scant recording history and the amazingly-comprehensive Music Bank box set. This was all I could gather up from my collection. Those first two tracks are from the soundtrack to Last Action Hero, which was a great CD by the way, and are not the remixed versions that appeared on Music Bank. The cover of “Suffragette Ciy” is from an old demo tape, and I have no idea where the remixes of Again are from. I found them online. Finally, there’s the cover of “Another Brick In The Wall”, which isn’t an Alice In Chains song at all, but a one-off recoding by The Class of ’99, which featured Layne on vocals with Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine), Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction) and Martyn LeNoble (Porno For Pyros). It was recorded for the soundtrack to The Faculty. That movie sucked and so did the soundtrack, but this track is worth hearing.

Tomorrow were on to slightly less depressing pastures with Soundgarden. No suicide there, just creative bankruptcy.

4 Responses to “Grunged: Junkie Rock”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the Suffragette City song – I LOVE Alice and hadn’t heard that version before.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The remixes of again are from the single of again and a promo single. You can find them here:
    and here:

    thanks for the great post!

  3. JT says:

    love AIC…they were pretty good back in the day.

  4. Andrew says:

    I dig ’em too…good band. Sad history about them. Don’t get too cranky about Godsmack, et. al. You’re too young to be a curmudgeon! 😉 Thanks for the great sharing you do. It’s much appreciated in this corner.

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