Saturday, August 22, 2009

Alice In Chains- looking forward in reverse, the 'Dirt' era in print.

Just finished reading the Blind Melon book, see below. Right from there jumped into a really deep and surprisingly ultra heavy book on Chris Farley and for the past few months I've also been trying to process the return of (the motherfucking mighty) Alice In Chains.

When I read a book on a band or an artist, I cannot help but immerse myself in their work. There's something about the process that enhances both the book and their recorded work and I can never ever see that changing. I've always been like that, always. Actually that was one of the harder aspects of doing Midwest Metal, I'd be reading something and ignoring all the shit that was coming in because I couldn't stop obsessing about__________!

So while reading the Farley book I couldn't really do this. I suppose I could go and watch 'Tommy Boy' for the hundredth time or so, but this was the first "actor" book I think I've ever read, so the drop whatever it is you're listening to deal was not going to work.
Instead I dove into Alice In Chains.

It all started with hanging out by my good friends Frank and Adriana's house. About a month ago we were there and Frank asked if I'd heard one of the new songs off the upcoming 'Black Gives Way To Blue' and up until that day I was able to stay away from any sneak preview. Call me whatever, but I really wanted to avoid any temptation and be able to sit down with the new record when it comes out on September 29th and listen with 100% fresh ears.

So after a few drinks I decided to get with the 90's and give the song a listen. WOW! Just fucking WOW! It was everything Alice is supposed to be and maybe a little more? Hard to say, I listened twice there and once more a day or so later to see if it the chemicals talking or did I really hear something that good. But I did.

I heard that sound. The sound that I thought had been laid to rest many, many years ago and a thankfully wrong assumption as I thought it was never be heard again. Now I know there's been some negative chatter about AIC going on without Layne and all that and believe me, you just never know. I'm not sure of how many of these people talking shit were even around back then, for the original run, but I was. More importantly, if I felt the band was fucking with the legacy or doing something just wrong, I'd be shouting from the rooftops.

Here's the thing. I've followed Jerry Cantrell with his solo work and I believe 'Degradation Trip' is one of the best albums of this decade, yes it's chock full of Alice-isms, but fuck, Iommi solo songs could easily have been Sabbath tracks. People cannot change their DNA, I didn't expect Cantrell to do so either.
But the point of this is, a lot of the 'Degradation Trip' material was definitely in Alice's neighborhood, no denying that...but it wasn't Alice.

It was missing something and most, myself included assumed the missing spice to the soup was Layne. The times I'd seen Cantrell solo, those were great, I mean GREAT shows and they featured new AIC vocalist William DuVall. His delivery and respect to the Layne era AIC was beyond spot on, I knew all those years ago the guy was more than perfect.
So within thirty seconds of hearing this new AIC song, it sounded like Alice, it felt like Alice, it is Alice In Chains.

I couldn't be happier. Bring on September 29th! So in celebration the archives have provided us with two 'Dirt' era cover stories. One is from the US upon 'Dirt's' release in RIP and the other marks the start of the Mike Inez era and the European headlining tour in 1993 in RAW from the UK..enjoy!

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)
What's a post without a little personal info?? Back in September 1991, Alice In Chains were announced as the support band for Van Halen on their 'For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge' tour. Mismatch from hell, yeah, totally! Anyway, a friend of mine had gotten some comp tickets and we were in some decent seats. So Alice plays and they were fucking great! This was my third or fourth time seeing them and it was maybe one of the best, yet. So all I remember was just banging away, loving every second of it, singing every I said, loving it!

As soon as their set ended some guys in suits walked up to us, started talking about the gig, about the band and what we thought about them, etc. I remember saying what I had to say, enjoyed our conversation..I always love talking "shop", still do! So long story short, they say...

"why don't you go and tell the band what you thought of them" and hand us these...
They were Sony Music guys and hooked us up. It was very cool, went back and shot the shit with the guys. Wish I was "dorky enough" to have had a camera.

But we are an elite race of our own, the Stoners, Junkies and Freaks...