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Alice In Chains: Dirt

Updated on June 14, 2012
Alice in Chains
Alice in Chains

On September 29th, 1992 Alice in Chains released their second studio album "Dirt" under Columbia Records.

Jerry Cantrell   -  Lead Guitar/ Vocals
Jerry Cantrell - Lead Guitar/ Vocals

The contents in the album "Dirt" were deeper and darker than most of those that appeared on any other Alice in Chains albums. Allot of heavy topics and strong imagery can embraced in these songs. These topics touched base with mortality, uncomfortable environments, war, escaping hardships, being trapped, drug use and embracing death. The heaviness of "Dirt" collides with the intense, deep and honest lyrics creating Alice in Chains best selling album.

Alice wins the Gold Metal

Dirt has gone on to sell over 5 million albums worldwide along with the distribution of the five singles that branched off from the album: Down in a hole, Them bones, Would?, Rooster and Angry chair. The RIAA has now certified "Dirt" as platinum record a total of 4 times. Their Commercial success landed them at number 6 on the billboard 200. The critics considered "Dirt" to be a great success and one of the greatest rock and roll/ hard rock albums of the 1990s. The music video for the single "would?" went on to receive an MTV Music Award in 1993 for best video from a film.

What is your favorite Alice in Chains album?

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Dirt Track List

1. "Them Bones" (2:30)

2. "Dam That River" (3:09)

3. "Rain when i die" (6:01)

4. "Down in a hole" (5:38)

5. "Sickman" (5:30)

6. "Rooster" (6:15)

7. "Junkhead" (5:09)

8. "Dirt" (5:16)

9. "God Smack" (3:50)

10. "Intro (dream sequence)" (0:43)

11. "Hate to feel" (5:16)

12. "Angry Chair" (4:47)

13. "Would?" (3:28)

Total album length (57:35)

Layne Staley - Lead Vocals
Layne Staley - Lead Vocals | Source

"Dirt" the tital track

Track 8 shares the name of the album. It takes all of the feelings and vibes from all of the songs on the album and and cram packs them into a dark and disturbing song from the heart. The track was written by Layne Staley and has been interpreted in different ways. Some say that this song is about Lane talking to his drug addiction face to face, confronting it of the pain its cause him. Others believe this is ballad of the war inside Layne's head, trying to fight off suicidal thoughts, and riding himself of his discomfort in the life that he was living. Ive also have someone explain to me that they analyzed the song as a song of vengeance, where Layne wanted to bring another person down to the low and dark place that they put him in. In any way that you interpret it, the deep and sold emotions are clear from the start.

Would? in regards to Andrew Wood

The last track on the album titled "Would?" originally appeared on the soundtrack to the movie "Singles". The lyrics for the song were written by guitar/vocalist Jerry Cantrell. Jerry had wrote the song concerning Andrew Wood, the late singer of the Seattle rock band Mother Love Bone, who had died of a heroin overdose in 1990. Jerry felt that Andrew was misunderstood and was put down for things that others didn't understand. The main theme of the song is about the ignorance of people passing judgment.

Long Live Layne

Layne Thomas Staley was born on August 22, 1967. He was the lead vocalist and lyricist on the "Dirt" album along with the rest of the Alice in Chains albums. Layne was found dead on April 5, 2002. He was said to have died of a drug related suicide. Layne's legacy lives on to inspire artists such as Zakk Wylde from Black Label Society, Kirk Hammett of Metallica and Tyler Connolly of Theory of a Deadman, all witch have released songs in tribute to the late Layne Staley. The integrity in Layne's work is not well matched in modern music. He will be forever remembered for his honesty through his suffering, his deep inspiring words and by the lessons that left us to learn from.


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    • aparkhurst7 profile image


      8 years ago from Wilkes Barre, PA West Hartford, CT

      I like Facelift a LITTLE more but Hate to Feel, Rooster, Would, and Angry Chair are still amazing.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Really loved this Hub! I am a huge AIC fan and just wish that I had been able to see them in concert with Layne! They were one fantastic band.

    • SkySlave profile imageAUTHOR

      Skyler DeCristoforo 

      8 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Your very fortunate rcrumple. I saw Alice preform about 2 years ago with William Duvall fronting the band. While William did a fantastic job, nothing would compare to seeing Layne perform. Thanks for stopping by!

    • rcrumple profile image


      8 years ago from Kentucky

      Was a big Alice In Chains fan. Saw them in Pensacola, Fl. (either '92 or '93...can't remember) with Sepultara as opener and I think Ozzy as headliner (concerts run together over the years). Dirt is my favorite, but Unplugged runs a close behind. Dirt presents the power of electronics, but Unplugged allow for one to concentrate more on the hopelessness and honesty in Layne's vocals. Great job!

    • SkySlave profile imageAUTHOR

      Skyler DeCristoforo 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your comment Steve. In fact Alice in Chains toured with thrash bands Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth in the original Clash of the Titans tour in the early 1990s. Because of their different sound, they were pelted with bottles and trash each night as they took the stage. They Stood their ground and played through every set anyway, earning respect from the thrashers they were touring with. You also might be interested to know that Metallica's album name "Death Magnetic" was inspired by layne staley.

    • Steve Orion profile image

      Steve Orion 

      9 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      While I am more into fater, trashier metal, I do recognize the talent these guys had. One of the things that put me off from listening and delving deeper into their discography was some of the songs I heard that were too soft or generic. A good Hub on a good album!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      9 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Sooooooo damned interesting. Great write.

      Layne Staley, what a damned shame. Mike Starr broke my heart too.

      I had to vote for their debut album Facelift. I fell in love with "Man In The Box" and can still remember where I was when I first heard it.

      Great hub.

    • SkySlave profile imageAUTHOR

      Skyler DeCristoforo 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree cryptid. There are some other bands that i like from the time period, but Alice were my favorite. Jerry Cantrell is amazing. Paired perfectly together with Layne, they have amazing harmonies and melodies, and Jerry uses such a unique guitar distortion for his time, Awesome!

    • cryptid profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      Loved AIC, by far the best band to come out of an otherwise woeful period in music history. Jerry Cantrell is awesome.

    • SkySlave profile imageAUTHOR

      Skyler DeCristoforo 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Dustin. I love all of the Alice in chains albums. I think their music speaks for itself. You ether get it or you don't. Im glad your with me on this one. Their music will always have a special place in my heart.

    • dustinweishaar profile image


      9 years ago from Loveland, CO

      Alice In Chains is one of my biggest influences on when it comes to writing and music. Good hub! My personal favorite album of theirs though is the self-titled(a.k.a tripod). Both albums are so honest and dark and honest. It's great listening to music and being able to hear the influence that these guys have had on bands of today.


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