The history of AIC began with Jerry Cantrell, who started off in many small bands got to know AIC's original bassist Mike Starr. Starr, introduced him to Sean Kinney, who at the time was dating Starr's sister. In summer 1987 Cantrell meets Layne Staley on a party in Seattle, Washington (at that time Staley had his own band called "Sleze" who were dressed in drag and made "glam rock".
Cantrell didn't have a place to live, so Staley took him to a rehearsel studio where both would live for the next year. When Cantrell heard Staley singing, he was amazed and convicted that he wanted to play with Staley. A new band was born.
Their band name was first Diamond Lie, but then turned to Alice 'n Chains and at the end to Alice In Chains.
The band won a major recording contract despite some record executives being scared off by Staley's aggressive performance at an early showcase.
In June, 1990, they released their first album (EP) We Die Young. The song "We Die Young" became popular, becoming a top 5 metal track. Two months later, the band released their first full length album Facelift. On Sept. 15th, AIC kicked off thier first US Tour in Westminister, CA. In November, 1990, AIC tours with Iggy Pop. They introduce songs "Dirt" and "Rooster" to audiences who don't give a flying f**k. On Dec. 22nd, the band sold out the Moore Theater in Seattle. The concert was filmed by director John Taft and released as the video "Live Facelift". In January 1991, the band released their first single, "Man In the Box", which received heavy Mtv and radio airplay, making a 26 week climb into MTV's Top 20. They later released the single "Sea of Sorrow". Later that month, AIC were nominated for an American Music Award for "Favorite Heavy Metal Artist". They lose.
In January of 1991, AIC starred in their movie debut, Cameron Crowe's "Singles", as a sleazy bar band performing the songs "Would" and "It Ain't Like That".
One month later the band tours Europe with Megadeth. During the tour, AIC were nominated for a Grammy for "Best Heavy Metal Performance", they lose again. Later that year in May, after a one month rest, The band performed in a two-month tour with Slayer and other bands in the "Clash of the Titans" tour. After about nine months after its release, "The Combo-Pack" Facelift and "Live Facelift" finally appeared on the Billboard charts for the first time.
After the "Clash of the Titans" tour, AIC decided to tour with Van Halen from Aug. 91 through Jan. 92. Eddie thinks AIC need new wardrobe tips and buys them all Doc Martins and plaid shirts. Right before the tour, AIC made thier first national network tv debut, performing on ABC's "In Concert". While on the road with Van Halen, Jerry "blows his chance for rock immortality" and skydives with Megadeth's Dave Mustaine. His parachute opens. In Sept. 91, Facelift is certified gold. While taking a one month break form the tour, AIC records their second EP SAP. The name comes from a dream Sean had, in which at a press conference, he announces the new album is called SAP. The band decides not to mess with fate and names it SAP. SAP contained the hit "Got Me Wrong" which also appeared on the "Clerks" soundtrack. In Dec. 1991, Jerry, while hunting in the woods with his brother, believes November has 31 days and misses Dec. 1st concert with Van Halen. Columbia ends up buying him a calender for Christmas. At the same time, Alice were voted "Best New Band" in readers poll's in RIP magazine and Guitar for the Practicing Musician.
While on the road, Layne encounters some personal problems with his addiction to heroin. Layne got over it and tells us about his battle in the (at the time) upcoming album Dirt.
In March of 92, Alice appears on Entertainment Tonight, giving a visual tour of the "Seattle Scene" - rock halls, clubs, etc. Mary Hart, Liza Gibbons, and John Tesh will never be the same.
In April of 92, the band starts recording their second full-length album, titled Dirt in LA with Dave Jerden and the band co-producing. The album was released in September and went on to sell more the 3 million copies. AIC's first single off the album was "Would", which also appeared on the "Singles" soundtrack. The song becomes an instant hit and wins "Best song from a movie" in the Mtv Music/Movie Awards. The band later released singles for "Angry Chair", "Them Bones", "Down In a Hole", and "Rooster" (which was snubbed by Mtv, b/c of realistic Vietnam scenes), in which his father, Jerry Sr., appeared. Dirt went on to win SPIN's "Album of the Year". While recording, Sean decides to redecorate his apartment by throwing his coffee table out the window! In Sept. 92, Layne manages to run himself over with his 4-wheel ATW, breaking his foot, but not his spirit. The almighty Layne finished the Ozzy tour in a wheelchair and on crutches, never missing a date.
In January of 93, AIC played at the Hollywood Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This was Mike Starr's last concert. Mike becomes tired or touring and leaves the band. He later joins the band Sun Red Sun. Mike Inez, who had played for Ozzy, finished their European club tour with them and later became a permanent member of the band, earning the name "the new guy".
AIC returns to the states to record two songs, "A Little Bitter" and "What the Hell Have I?", for the movie "Last Action Hero". The band predicts this will be the biggest movie of all time....at least the write good music! Arnold Shwartzenager refers to AIC as "those punks from Seattle".
In the summer of 93, Alice headlines Lollapalooza. the band performs with other bands such as Primus, Fishbone, TOOL, Arrested Development, Rage Against the Machine, and more. The everchanging Layne shaves his head to a buzz, and decides to wear tailored suits during the tour.
When Lolla was over, AIC returned back home, only to be evicted from thier residence. Layne thought Jerry would pay the rent, Jerry thought Sean would, Sean thought Mike would, etc. Instead they move into London Bridge Studio, bored and depressed, they decide to record the EP Jar of Flies in a 7 day period. Inspired by SAP, they decide to make it a double CD with the SAP (which went gold). The band rushes to release the album after rumors of STP coming out with an acoustic EP themselves. The band names the EP after a science project Jerry performed when he was in high school.
After this, the band begins a six-week tour called "Down In Your Hole". The video "Down In a Hole" was shot. After that "Them Bones" was released in September. On January 18th, 1994, Jar of Flies is released, becoming the first EP *ever* to debut at #1 on the Billboard chart. The first single released was "No Excuses" in February. The video got a good amount of Mtv airplay and heavy radio airplay. They later released the imaginable video for "I Stay Away". Jar of Flies goes on to sell more than 2 million copies, becoming double platinum.
AIC were then asked by Metallica to tour with them. But b/c of personal problems within the band, and Layne's heroin addiction coming back to haunt him, they cancel. They also fail to play at Woodstock and the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. Rumors start floating around about the future of AIC.
During the period of time between Jar of Flies and Alice In Chains, the band members kept themselves busy. Mike joined Slash's Snakepit and recorded the album "It's 5 O'clock Somewhere" in March. Layne kept himself busy by performing with his buddys Mike Mcready (Pearl Jam), Barret Martin (Screaming Trees), and John Baker Saunders. Earlier known as "The Gacy Bunch", they played a couple clubs including the "Crocodile Cafè" in Seattle. Later they changed their name to Mad Season, and later that year recorded the album Above which was released in March 1995. Above gave us songs like "River of Deceit" and "I Don't Know Anything" from the "Seattle Supergroup". In the same month, AIC were nominated for another Grammy for "I Stay Away", but, guess what, they lost.
In April 1995, AIC entered the studio to record their third full-length album. The album was originally called "Tripod" after a 3-legged dog that used to chase Sean as a child and 3rd full length album. AIC knows better than to listen to Sean, and self-titles it Alice In Chains. This album took 4 months to make. Finally, it was released Nov. 25th, 1995 and debuted at #1 on the Billboard chart. The album went on to sell 2 million copies, becoming double platinum. The first single was for "Grind". The eerie video made it to #3 on the Top 20 Countdown. Sean and Jerry went down under (Australia), to promote the new release. Soon enough, AIC were nominated for a Grammy for the song "Grind". Continuing their award losing tradition, AIC lose, to Pearl Jam's "Spin the Black Circle". Mike Mcready on stage accepting the award notes them as "The Mighty Alice In Chains". Bored from not being on the road, Mike Inez toured with Ozzy.
AIC were seen very little live. So if you saw em' your lucky. In April, AIC performed "God Am" on Saturday Night Special. They appeared on Letterman performing "Again" and "We Die Young". Later that month, AIC went on to play on Mtv's Unplugged. The show aired May 22nd. When news got out that STP will not open for KISS, AIC jumped at the chance to play with their childhood idols. They opened for 4 shows in Kansas City, Detroit, Louisville, and St. Louis. On July 28th, AIC released the album Unplugged. The album debuted at #3 and in its first month went platinum. It is now certified double platinum on its way to triple.
Rumors circulated that AIC would finally tour. But those rumors ended up to be false. During that time, Jerry and Sean recorded the song "Leave Me Alone" for the "Cable Guy" soundtrack. The soundtrack was released in Sept.
In 1998 they produced "Fear the voices" and "Get born again", and Cantrell released his Solo- album "Boggy Depot".
In 1999 the band released two CD collections - "Nothing Safe - best of the Box" and a 4-CD boxed set "Music Bank", followed by a VHS containing all the band videos - "Video Bank".
"Live" (2000), which contained the best live- performances and "Greatest Hits" (2001), filled with all AIC- hits, were their last realesed albums, but without new songs. And these both would be their last CD's together:
During the whole time of the band it was known that Staley had to fight against his heroin addiction. But he finally lost the fight on friday 5. April, 2002.
Two weeks later, on April 19., 2002, Staley was found in his seattle- condo by the police and his family. His corps laid on the couch surroundet by intravenous drug paraphernalia. An autopsy showed that the cause of death was an accidental overdose of a drug mixture called speedball. The autopsy also showed that Staley died 2 weeks before he was found, on April 5, the same date as Nirvana- vocalist Kurt Cobain - eight years later.
In 2005, Jerry Cantrell, Mike Inez, and Sean Kinney reunited to perform a benefit concert in Seattle for victims of the tsunami disaster that struck south Asia. The band featured Damageplan vocalist Pat Lachman, with other special guests including Wes Scantlin of Puddle of Mudd, Maynard James Keenan of Tool, and Ann Wilson of Heart. On March 6, 2006, the surviving members performed at VH1's Decades Rock Live concert, honoring fellow Seattle musicians Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. They played "Would?" with Pantera and Down vocalist Phil Anselmo, and "Rooster" with William DuVall and Ann Wilson. The band followed the concert with a short United States club tour, several festival dates in Europe, and a brief tour in Japan. To coincide with the band's reunion, Sony Musicreleased the long delayed third Alice in Chains compilation, The Essential Alice in Chains, a double album that includes 28 songs.
Comes With the Fall vocalist William DuVall joined Alice in Chains as lead singer during the band's reunion concerts. Velvet Revolver and ex-Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan also joined the band for the reunion tour, playing rhythm guitar on selected songs. Before the tour, Kinney mentioned in an interview that he would be interested in writing new material, but not as Alice in Chains. However, AliceinChains.com reported that the band has begun writing new material, with DuVall on lead vocals. Blabbermouth.net reported in September 2008 that Alice in Chains will enter the studio that October to begin recording a new album for a 2009 release.
Source: Most of this text is taken from www.members.aol.com/amass97.aic , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_in_chains