Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Audible inspiration: Alice in Chains

Although a great many authors influence me, music also plays a key element in what I write and how I write it. Alice in Chains was always a band I loved and still love to this day, and as a child of the 90’s I was saddened if not relieved by Layne Staley’s passing in 2002. It was just such a long struggle with addiction and he basically disintegrated one fix at a time. Still, the legacy lives on and Alice in Chains’s last album definitely shows the band still rocks very hard.

Throughout my tenure as a fan, I’ve loved the hard rock they’ve made although resonate much more with their acoustic material. Now that’s not to say I don’t listen to ‘Them Bones’ and don’t want to bust a big air, it just means that songs like ‘Brother’, ‘Nutshell’, ‘Rotten Apple’, ‘I Stay Away’ and ‘no Excuses’ resonate with me at a much deeper level.

To be honest, I think anyone who has a drug problem should listen and really read into the lyrics of Layne Staley and maybe watch Requiem for a Dream to think twice before continuing down that path. Layne knew he was going to die... he knew what he was doing was stupid... he hated himself for it... still, he couldn’t stop.

That sense of pain makes some of their work truly some of the most memorable music because Layne was a singer that sang like he sang... he didn’t seem to be imitating anyone, he wasn’t channeling any singer from the 70’s, he wasn’t showing his influences. He was on his own path and although short lived, it created some memorable songs that will be with me forever. And it’s another reason why Alice is such a big influence in the sequel to Only Human.

To Jerry Cantrell, Mike Inez, Sean Kinney and William Duvall, I salute them for also following their own path and showing us that even if the Devil Put Dinosaurs here, rocking hard is often the only choice to cope.

Peace, love and maki rolls.


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