"Who the fuck is Alice?"

1991 - Alice in Chains' Dark Magic


Source: Alice in Chains\' Dark Magic . Seattle Sound [online]. 2005 [cit. 2008-08-31]. Dostupný z WWW:


"As you can see, I don't draw very well," Layne Staley says in Atlanta. On board Alice In Chains' tour bus an hour before the band's first gig with Van Halen, the singer is bent over a sketchbook, painstakingly working on a design for his nxt tattoo.

It's not your run-of-the-mill skull or portrait of Axl Rose, though. Staley's design is tribal. It's abstract and primitive - the kind of circular glyph of protection. Of magic and luck.

For Staley, guitarist Jerry Cantrell, bassist Mike Starr, and drummer Sean Kinney, the magic's already working. Sure, many bands have emjoyed far greater success much faster. Alice in Chains' debut album, Facelift, has only just gone gold a year after its release.

But the Seattle-based band's underground following is growing. The press has gone overboard with acclaim. Fronted by Staley's chillingly majestic voice, Alice in Chains' sound has nothing to do wuth cliche Sunset Strip riffs or nauseating power ballads, and everything to do with aggression and dark emotion. When the music starts, the party stops. The band wouldn't have it any other way.

"The way we write is therapeutic," Staley reveals. "It gets the dark things out, the frustration."

The band's dark ode to confinement, "Man In The Box," has been scoring the biggest reaction at gigs. Staley senses, however, that "Love, Hate, Love" and "Confusion" strike the strongest emotional chord. "They're about relationships," he says. "But people have their own ideas. "Love, Hate, Love" was written about a pattern of treating the girl I was with very badly, and not knowing how to stop."

Caught in a loop that keeps repeating...repeating...repeating...

"Exactly. So I wrote a song about how I was being an ashole. It helped. It stopped the pattern."

"I still feel the same emotions, but the original things were taken care of. Now there are new mountains to jump over." He glances up from his sketchbook and smiles. "But I'm not a depressed person."

Not that there's much to be despressed about. As Staley notes, the band's slow, three year climb has given the four a more realistic view of rock life. "When we were living in a one bedroom apartment," he says, "we were gung-ho, 'Yeah let's go get 'em. Let's take the world by storm.' But from getting the record deal, to making the album, to the first shows and things like the Clash of the Titans tour...the glamour's gone. It's down to, 'This is what we do. We do the best we can.'"

Drummer Sean Kinney agrees. "We were more out of hand on our first tour, whooping it up," he says. "It got old by the second tour - though when I'm home, I still don't know what to do. I go stir crazy. On tour, there's stuff to do. At home, it's like...nothing."

For some musicians, idle time triggers self-destructive habits. Even Staley admits that, until a year ago, "I was a total screw-up. The drug scene, the girls and sleeping around...I loved it. But those things don't look so glamorous now. It got to where I hated it, so I found other things to do with my time, I didn't have to get wasted."

That's not to imply that Alice In Chains has joined the priesthood. But the band has been devoting almost every offstage moment to working on new material for Facelift's follow-up, as Staley continues to channel his moods into his writing. "Lyrics, thoughts, poems," he says. "Since I've stopped sedating myself, reality has hit like a sledgehammer. I have thoughts I wish I didn't have, that disturb me, and that's what I write down. It freaks me out, but I get it out."

Whether Alice In Chains breaks through during '92 is down to luck. And magic. But as Layne Staley says, "Right now is exactly where I've dreamed of being/ When I was younger, I thought 'Rich and famous...tons of cars...a boat...' We don't have that. But two years ago, we were trying to scrounge up a buck for a 7-Eleven hot dog. Now we pay our bills and get a certain amount of recognition."

© 2008 Všechna práva vyhrazena.

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