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Alice in Chains: Real Thing

Updated on June 4, 2014
Dec 2007
Dec 2007

When it all started for me

My music tastes have changed a lot in the past ten or so years of my life. When I was in elementary school I listened to pop mainly. I grew up on the Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys. I wasn't old enough to listen to really be aware of any other genre. I listened to what my friends listened to, with little exposure of music from my family. I listened to pop for years. However, there was one memory I've always had that I had forgotten, yet hadn't at the same time.

It was late at night, for a nine year old, in 2002. I was watching Full House reruns in my parents bedroom. The show ended and my parents were telling me it was time for bed. I flipped the channel a few more times and happened to stop on CNN. I saw the words "Found Dead" as I heard what I thought was my name, Alison. What I really heard though was Alice in Chains(Alice in and Alison sound the same), the rock band. In the background of this news report was one of their songs "Grind," which I later found when I looked them up on a computer, which I'm sure involved a dial-up modem. I liked the song, went to bed, and forgot about them for a while.

Later on, much later on, I heard Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana on the radio and was instantly reminded of some of the bands I heard from the 90's. At this point, in my teens, the Internet grew immensely since the early 2000's so I did more research. And so it began...

Explosion of the psycho-fan

It only took one night for me to read and listen to everything about Alice in Chains, pulled an all-nighter. The next day, I went out and bought all their studio albums and their unplugged DVD. Layne Staley's voice shook me, and still does. When I heard that Alice in Chains were coming together again for a new album and tour, I was beyond psyched. I pre-ordered and everything.

A few months later I heard they were coming to my hometown of Wilkes Barre, PA. I couldn't believe it, and still can't. (Nobody comes to Wilkes Barre and when they do it's usually music I don't like.) The day they came was Record Store Day and they were at a local music store, doing an autograph signing. Although there was miscommunication that day over how to get a wristband to actually meet them, I knew that that night would be EPIC, and it was.

It was so amazing; it felt like I was on drugs. I had been a little weary of William Duvall singing, I'll admit. While I knew he had a great voice, he didn't really show it off on Black Gives Way to Blue. I really had no reason to worry. He was incredible and I can't imagine a better addition to Alice in Chains.

Their Music

Out of their albums, I would say Facelift is my favorite. It has a more uplifting tone and I love watching live shows from those tours, just because Layne was in really good shape and relatively healthy. I can go through Facelift without skipping a song.

Dirt is a classic. It tells us as fans how all the members of Alice in Chains really started to go to a dark place. Dirt haunts me every time I listen to it. The bass line from Would? is a classic. The music video for Rooster pulls my guts out and stomps on them.

For many, I've noticed, Tripod is not a favorite. I think it's their most important piece. From beginning to end you could tell how they were as a band. You don't need to know about Layne's final days. Tripod and the MTV Unplugged DVD will tell you what's going on. It's so mucky and dark it makes me emotional just thinking about the hardships they had. Just getting that album together and released was a struggle. They weren't getting along as well and Layne was hard into drugs and depression. They didn't break up, but at the time it was hard to understand what was going on. It's funny that I'm writing the most for this album. It's not my favorite but it's the most important work that gives us answers about the years that the band hasn't given straight answers for. Tripod does that for them.

I had a different perspective on Black Gives Way to Blue. I was actually old enough to buy this one on my own. I love how it still sounds like Alice in Chains When I heard Your Decision on the radio for the first time, without knowing it was them, I already knew. Jerry Cantrell will always be a driving force for the band. Mike and Sean will always be important assets to their percussive element. Not many bands have a signature sound like that.

Whatever they release in the future will just get better. I love that after all these years and all the hard times they've experienced, they still surprise us. I can't wait to see what they have in store for "The Devil Put the Dinosaurs Here." The recent release of "Stone" has gotten me thrilled to see them on their upcoming tour.

This video really accelerated my obsession.

What's your favorite Alice in Chains album?

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