Layne Staley
Layne Staley
Layne Thomas Staley was an American musician who served as the lead singer and co-lyricist of the rock group Alice in Chains, which was formed in Seattle, Washington in 1987 by Staley and guitarist Jerry Cantrell. Alice in Chains rose to international fame as part of the grunge movement of the early 1990s. The band became known for its distinct vocal style, as well as the harmonized vocals of Staley and Cantrell.
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Ozzy, Tipper and Judas Priest: The 1980s Was a Crazy Train, Maybe I Should've Taken the Local
Huffington Post - over 1 year
I'm of the school that states we're each allotted a certain amount of alcoholic drinks in a lifetime. It's an equation mostly based on girth, genetics and one's propensity for destruction. At fifteen I discovered my depression could be lifted by cans of Budweiser. I welcomed the relief. I was free enough to be giddy, to elicit laughter from my friends for original creative thoughts. It was 1981 and we partied to a new sound that blasted its way into the ethos of suburban New Jersey. Metal. It came in a package of light beer, brown weed and the hurling of one's head back and forth to the quick thump of rock. The musicians were Gods to us: rich, talented, drug aficionados who could party all day long and play in stadiums at night. From an education fraught with regulation we were amazed that such superheroes existed. They flipped off reporters, swigged tequila from the sunroof of limos and destroyed hotel rooms. Every effort we made to include ourselves in this energy left us more alive, ...
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Huffington Post article
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
Rolling Stone - over 3 years
They may be terrible paleontologists but on The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here Alice in Chains prove that grunge fossils can still churn out slithery menace It's the band's second LP since the 2002 death of singer Layne Staley and though new vocalist William DuVall doesn't have his predecessor's talent for...
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Rolling Stone article
Robbie Gennet: Underrated Albums of the '90s -- Part 4
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
I started this series to shine a light on some stellar records from the '90s, now that enough time has passed to get some perspective. These are in no order but eventually this will make a great long list. Here are the next five in the series: 16. Los Amigos Invisibles -- The New Sound of the Venezuelan Gozadera (1998) Regardless of your ability to speak or understand Spanish, you can't help but dance and sing along with this deeply funky and charmingly cheeky ode to the disco lifestyle. The production and performances are clean and lean, and the music is full of grooving bass lines, vintage keyboards, chicken scratch guitar and gang vocals that will amp up the party whenever played. The cool grooves and tight rhythms on songs like "Ultra Funk", "Sexy" and "Cachete a Cachete" are balanced by the cool Latin lounge influence on songs like "Aldemaro en su Camaro" and "Mango Cool," making for a superb funky party soundtrack and a hell of a live show. This sophomore album perfe ...
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Huffington Post article
Disgraced mining union chief jailed
Dispatch - almost 5 years
THE former leader of a mining union has been jailed for four years for the “calculated greed” that tempted him to steal almost £150,000 from a charity for sick and injured pitmen. Neil Greatrex (61), pictured, is the ex-president of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM), the rebel organisation formed in Nottinghamshire in opposition to Athur Scargill’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) during the bitter miners’ strike of 1984/85. He was found guilty of 14 counts of theft from the Nottinghamshire Miners’ Home charity and a subsidiary, Phoenix Nursing and Residential Home Ltd. The miners’ home charity ran a care home at the seaside resort of Chapel St Leonards, Lincolnshire. During a trial at Nottingham Crown Court, the jury heard that Greatrex, of Shepherds Lane, Stanley, near Teversal, spent much of the cash on sprucing up his own home and that of former UDM general secretary Mick Stevens. At the sentencing hearing at Birmingham Crown Court, Judge John Wait said: “This was t ...
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Dispatch article
Wash Brain Immediately to Tribute Layne Staley
Framingham Patch - almost 5 years
It has been 10 years since Layne Staley, leader singer of Alice in Chains and Mad Season, passed away. On April 20, Wash Brain Immediately will be hosting a tribute show in his honor at The Tavern in Framingham. Layne has been both an influence on both their music and their lives. His message, to live life to its fullest despite any overbearing negativity, is one that has seen the band through many dark times. WBI has been together for quite some time, most members playing together since they were 16, and now, as they near the age of 30, they look back on the grunge era, on Alice in Chains, and on Layne Staley, as a collective inspiration to start playing music together. Wash Brain Immediately was once an Alice in Chains cover band until they were inspired to write original music, but they still call upon their influences in their time of need. WBI will be playing with fellow local bands Following Trails and Big Bad Wolf. The show will start at 9pm and they encourage any and all to joi ...
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Framingham Patch article
Monday Afternoon Roundtable: Lollapalooza
Heave Media - almost 5 years
This week, Heave asked its staff: The Lollapalooza 2012 lineup dropped last week. What act are you most excited to catch? Cory Clifford Since I have a tremendous crush on Hamilton Leithauser’s voice; I’m so incredibly excited to see The Walkmen! Amy Dittmeier He’s at the very bottom of the announcement, but I am excited for Madeon. He’s from France and is an amazingly talented DJ. This mash-up he did called “Pop Culture” is my ringtone, and every time my phone rings I have the urge to dance. Johnny Coconate If the Olympics can get Keith Moon, then there’s no reason that Lolla couldn’t get Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley. William Jones My favorite band at Lollapalooza this year may be The Gaslight Anthem, but it is the announcement of Anamanaguchi I’m most excited about. This chiptune quartet can headline nerdfests like PAX, but at Lolla the band is barely a footnote on the lineup card. Here’s hoping Anamanaguchi catches some people by surprise with 8-and-16-bit tu ...
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Heave Media article
Layne Staley Birthday and Mike Starr Memorial Event Tonight (A Top Story) -
Google News - over 5 years
On Monday Layne Staley Birthday and Mike Starr Memorial Event Tonight was a top story. Here is the recap: Layne Staley website has announced the Layne Staley Birthday Celebration and Mike Starr Memorial event. The site says: Please come and gather to
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Google News article
State's Office Stereo – Summer Sounds - State Magazine
Google News - over 5 years
Plucked from the superb Above, the sole album by Layne Staley's criminally underrated side project Mad Season, 'Long Gone Day' is an exception to the notion Staley's vocals or general demeanour might not exactly be sunny summer listening
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Google News article
How We'd Fix the MTV Video Music Awards - Grantland (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Eddie Vedder plays his ukulele in a touching tribute to Alice in Chains' Layne Staley! Dave Grohl and Courtney Love beat each other to death with royalty checks live on stage!) or '90s hip-hop (the Game recites every Tupac song like Dave Chappelle
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Google News article
ALICE IN CHAINS Ends 10-Month Break From Stage - Aug. 22, 2011 -
Google News - over 5 years
ALICE IN CHAINS went into hibernation in 1996, mostly due to vocalist Layne Staley's long struggle with drug addiction. Staley died in April 2002 and the band appeared to have died with him. But the group returned in 2006 with singer/guitarist William
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Google News article
On This Day ... August 22 -
Google News - over 5 years
... in 1958 … singer Tori Amos was born in 1963 … rapper GZA of Wu-Tang Clan was born in 1966 … musician Layne Staley was born in 1967 … actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (“LOST”) was born in 1967 … actor Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”) was born in 1967
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Rock on the Range roars indoors - Winnipeg Sun
Google News - over 5 years
Back then, drug-addled Layne Staley was on the mic and the equally troubled Mike Starr was on bass. Both have since gone to that great gig in the sky. But even though DuVall can and does fill Staley's shoes handily, I'm not big on replacement singers
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Google News article
Facebook yanks Nirvana's 'Nevermind' cover -
Google News - over 5 years
(Kirk Weddle / Corbis) Share Back to slideshow navigation Layne Staley of Alice in Chains performs at Seattle's Paramount Theater circa 1997. The band, which included Jerry Cantrell on lead guitar, Sean Kinney on drums and Mike Starr and Mike Inez on
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The First Trailer and Exclusive Poster for 'Pearl Jam Twenty' Makes Us Miss ... - Moviefone (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
23, and it features the many members of Pearl Jam (obviously) along with appearances from Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and the late, great Layne Staley from Alice in Chains. We don't know about you, but we're already dusting off our ripped jeans and
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Layne Staley
  • 2002
    Adema opted to pay tribute to Staley with their rendition of Alice in Chain's "Nutshell" on the Insomniac's Dream EP, released late 2002.
    More Details Hide Details Zakk Wylde also wrote a song about Staley called "Layne" on Black Label Society's 2004 album, Hangover Music Vol. VI. A further tribute entitled "Layne to Rest" was recorded by former Babes in Toyland frontwoman Kat Bjelland with her band Katastrophy Wife for the 2004 album All Kneel. Tyler Connolly of Theory of a Deadman stated that their song "Shadow" (an outtake from the 2008 album, Scars & Souvenirs) was written about Staley. Staley's influence has likewise been felt in other media. Two books have been written about him, both authored by Adriana Rubio—Layne Staley: Angry Chair and the more recent, Layne Staley: Get Born Again, which was described as "a 'brand new book' that has been revised and updated with the inclusion of two new chapters: 'Hate to Feel' and 'Get Born Again' as a revival of the acclaimed Angry Chair book." On September 28, 2006, reported on a movie project related to Rubio's most recent book on Staley: "According to a press release from ARTS Publications, Argentinean journalist/author Adriana Rubio has been contacted by writer/director Eric Moyer from Philadelphia about turning her biography of Staley, titled Layne Staley: Get Born Again, into a movie." Music Historian Maxim W. Furek released the comprehensive The Death Proclamation of Generation X: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Goth, Grunge and Heroin, i-Universe. ISBN 978-0-595-46319-0, that revisited the deaths of numerous grunge artists. The content of Rubio's book, including what she described as Layne's final interview was called into question in David De Sola's 2015 book Alice in Chains:The Untold Story.
    Cantrell dedicated his 2002 solo album, Degradation Trip, released two months after Staley's death, to his memory.
    More Details Hide Details Following Staley's death, Alice in Chains officially disbanded. For the next several years, the band refused to perform together out of respect for Staley. In 2005, the remaining members reunited for a benefit concert for victims of the December 26, 2004 tsunami, with several vocalists filling in for Staley, including Patrick Lachman from Damageplan, Phil Anselmo of Pantera and Down fame, Wes Scantlin from Puddle of Mudd, Maynard James Keenan from Tool (a friend of Staley's), and Ann Wilson from Heart, who had previously worked with Alice in Chains when she sang on the Sap EP (performing backing vocals on the songs "Brother" and "Am I Inside"). Following positive response, the band decided to reunite formally in 2006. In an interview with MTV News, Kinney noted that the band would use the reunion concerts to pay tribute to the songs and to Staley. William DuVall, a member of Cantrell's solo touring band (who often sang Staley's parts on the Alice in Chains songs that Cantrell performed), was announced to sing Staley's part for the reunion shows. In the same interview, Kinney noted the reunion didn't necessarily foretell a future for Alice in Chains:
    On April 19, 2002, Staley's accountants contacted Staley's former manager Susan Silver and informed her that no money had been withdrawn from the singer's bank account in two weeks.
    More Details Hide Details Silver then contacted Staley's mother Nancy McCallum, who placed a call with 911 to say she hadn't heard from him "in about two weeks." The police went with McCallum and her ex-husband to Staley's home; "When police kicked in the door to Layne Staley's University District apartment on April 19, there, laying on a couch, lit by a flickering TV, next to several spray-paint cans on the floor, not far from a small stash of cocaine, near two crack pipes on the coffee table reposed the remains of the rock musician." It was reported that the Staley weighed only when his body was discovered. In an interview on VH1's Celebrity Rehab with McCallum, former Alice in Chains bass player Mike Starr said that he spent time with Staley the day before he died as Starr's birthday was April 4. Starr claimed that Staley was very sick but would not call 911. The two ex-bandmates briefly argued, which ended with Starr storming out. Starr stated that Staley called after him as he left: "Not like this, don't leave like this". Since Staley is believed to have died a day later, on April 5, Starr expressed regret that he did not call 911 to save his friend's life; Starr reported that Staley had threatened to sever their friendship if he did. Starr was the last known person to see Staley alive. The interview ended with Starr apologizing to McCallum for not calling 911, but McCallum was insistent that neither she nor anyone in her family blamed Starr for Staley's death.
    Staley's mother owns the last known photo of Staley, taken on February 14, 2002, which features him holding his newborn nephew, Oscar, although the photo has never been published.
    More Details Hide Details Other than this rare incident, Staley was not seen often by family or friends. Kinney has commented on Staley's final years and isolation period: Staley's physical appearance had become even worse than before: he had lost several teeth, his skin was sickly pale, and he was severely emaciated. As far as published reports are concerned, such as Blenders "We Left Him Alone", close friends such as Matt Fox have said, "If no one heard from him for weeks, it wasn't unusual." Further in the article, reporter Pat Kearney provides a glimpse into Staley's daily life and public routine: Staley's close friend Mark Lanegan had much of the same to say with respect to Staley's isolation: "He didn't speak to anybody as of late… It's been a few months since I talked to him. But for us to not talk for a few months is par for the course."
  • 2001
    In an interview with Consequence of Sound, Staley's one time roommate and friend Morgen Gallagher revealed that Staley had nearly joined Audioslave around 2001.
    More Details Hide Details The audition with Staley ultimately never materialized and the job went to Chris Cornell instead. Gallagher recalled:
    In late 2001, shortly before his death, he would describe the experience of witnessing his parents' divorce: "My world became a nightmare, there were just shadows around me.
    More Details Hide Details I got a call saying that my dad had died, but my family always knew he was around doing all kinds of drugs. Since that call I always was wondering, 'Where is my dad?' I felt so sad for him and I missed him. He dropped out of my life for 15 years." In that same interview he hinted that his parents' break-up and his father's drug use were at least partially responsible for his own drug problems, and also said that he was convinced that if he became a celebrity his dad would return. Staley approached music through his parents' collection, listening to Black Sabbath (regarded by him as his first influence) and Deep Purple. Other favorite bands include hard rock and metal bands like Anthrax, Judas Priest, Saxon, Rainbow, Mercyful Fate, Twisted Sister, Van Halen, and industrial/new wave acts such as Ministry, the Lords of the New Church and Skinny Puppy. He began playing drums at age 12; he played in several glam bands in his early teens, but by this point, Staley had aspirations of becoming a singer.
  • 1999
    From 1999 to 2002, Staley became more reclusive, rarely leaving his Seattle condo; little is known about the details of his life during this period.
    More Details Hide Details It was rumored that Staley would spend most of his days creating art, playing video games, or nodding off on drugs.
  • 1998
    Thereafter, Staley was thought to have left behind his "self-imposed rock & roll exile" when in November 1998 he laid down additional vocal tracks as part of a supergroup called Class of '99, featuring members of Rage Against the Machine, Jane's Addiction, and Porno for Pyros.
    More Details Hide Details The group recorded parts one and two of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" for the soundtrack to Robert Rodriguez's 1998 horror/sci-fi film, The Faculty, with a music video filmed for part two. While the other members of the band were filmed specifically for the video, Staley's appearance consisted of footage pulled from Mad Season's 1995 Live at the Moore video. On July 19, 1999, syndicated radio program Rockline was hosting Cantrell, Inez, and (via telephone) Kinney for a discussion on the release of Nothing Safe: Best of the Box, when, unexpectedly, Staley called in to participate in the discussion. Charles R. Cross would later say that they had Staley's obituary on stand-by at The Rocket in the late 1990s. Upon the retirement of Alice in Chains' manager, Susan Silver, in 1998, The Rocket published an article asking the question "But who's to wipe and change Alice in Chains now?", supposedly a jab at the rumors of Staley's addiction. Joe Ehrbar, the editor of The Rocket at that time, said, "A few days later, we received a package containing a jar of piss and a bag of shit, with a note attached saying, 'Wipe and change this, motherfuckers!' It had to be from Layne. What a classic response.'"
    Staley made his final public appearance on October 31, 1998, when he attended a Jerry Cantrell solo show.
    More Details Hide Details However, he declined Cantrell's request to sing with him on stage. A photo taken of Staley backstage at this show is the most recent photo of Staley that has been publicly released.
    In September 1998, Staley re-emerged to help record two tracks ("Get Born Again" and "Died") with Alice in Chains, which were released on the Music Bank box set in 1999.
    More Details Hide Details Additional reports of Staley's deteriorating condition persisted in the midst of the sessions. Dirt producer Dave Jerden—who was originally chosen by the band for the production—said, "Staley weighed 80 pounds…and was white as a ghost." Cantrell refused to comment on the singer's appearance, simply replying "I'd rather not comment on that…", and band manager Susan Silver said she hadn't seen the singer since "last year".
  • 1997
    On February 26, 1997, Staley and the other members of Alice in Chains attended the Grammy Awards after "Again" (from the self-titled album) was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly after the Grammy Awards, in April of that same year, Staley purchased a 1,500 square foot, three bedroom condominium in Seattle's University District under the guise of "The Larusta Trust". Larusta was a reference to 'John Larusta', which, according to Layne's step-brother Ken Elmer, was an alias that Layne was using during this period. Elmer also stated that this moniker was used so that Staley's name was kept off of official public records on the transaction of the condo. Toby Wright, the producer of Alice in Chains' third self-titled album, had set up a home recording system for him at his new home. Wright recalled that, "I think he had some Digital Audio Tapes up there, a small console. I set up guitar paths, I set up a couple of vocal paths, and I think I had a keyboard path as well, and some multiple things where he could just go in, hit a button and record… He had a little drum machine and that kind of thing, he used to do demos."
  • 1996
    He was reported to have been placed on a 24-hour suicide watch according to NME, which quoted, "a friend saying Layne was taking Demri Parrott's death 'extremely badly' and had fallen into a deep depression". "Drugs worked for me for years," Staley told Rolling Stone in 1996, "and now they're turning against me, now I'm walking through hell."
    More Details Hide Details
    He made his last performance on July 3, 1996, in Kansas City, Missouri, while Alice in Chains were touring with Kiss after their Unplugged appearance.
    More Details Hide Details In October, Staley's former fiancée, Demri Lara Parrott, died from secondary complications caused by drug use (bacterial endocarditis).
    One of Staley's last shows with the band was their 1996 MTV Unplugged performance.
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  • 1994
    Referencing Staley's guest-singing appearance with Tool on the song "Opiate", the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported, "At KISW-FM's 'Rockstock' concert at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds in Bremerton in May 1994—just a month after the death of Kurt Cobain—Staley made a surprise appearance.
    More Details Hide Details He looked sickly and wore a wool ski mask to hide his face." Some of the more persistent and unsubstantiated rumors, ranging from gangrene to missing fingers, surfaced during this period. Mark Arm of Mudhoney is quoted as saying: "I remember seeing him in '95… he turned up and was totally green, and my stomach turned at that point—watching somebody on a track that they couldn't get off." Alice in Chains regrouped to record Alice in Chains, sometimes referred to as "Tripod", which was released late in 1995. The self–titled album debuted at the top of the U.S. charts, and has since been awarded—along with Facelift and Jar of Flies—double platinum status. With the exceptions of "Grind", "Heaven Beside You", and "Over Now", the lyrics are all written by Staley, making this album his greatest lyrical contribution to the band's catalogue. To accompany the album, the band released a home video, The Nona Tapes, in which they poked fun at the rumors of Staley's addiction, but the band lapsed again, failing to complete tours planned in support of the album. When asked about the frustration of not touring to support the record, Cantrell provided some insight into how Staley's addictions led to repercussive tensions within the band: "Very frustrating, but we stuck it out. We rode the good times together, and we stuck together through the hard times.
  • 1987
    Eventually the funk project broke up and in 1987 Staley joined Cantrell on a full-time basis. The band eventually took the name of Alice in Chains. Alice in Chains released their debut album Facelift on August 21, 1990, shaping the band's signature style.
    More Details Hide Details The second single, "Man in the Box", with lyrics written by Staley, became a huge hit. "Man in the Box" is widely recognized for its distinctive "wordless opening melody, where Layne Staley's peculiar, tensed-throat vocals are matched in unison with an effects-laden guitar" followed by "portentous lines like: 'Jesus Christ/Deny your maker' and 'He who tries/Will be wasted' with Cantrell's drier, and less-urgent voice." Facelift has since been certified double platinum by the RIAA for sales of two million copies in the United States. The band toured in support of the album for two years before releasing the acoustic EP Sap in early 1992. In September 1992, Alice in Chains released Dirt. The critically acclaimed album, also the band's most successful, debuted at number six on the Billboard 200, and was certified quadruple platinum. During the Dirt tour (in 1992), Layne saved Mike's life after he had overdosed. The band did not tour in support of Dirt for very long, because of Staley's drug addiction. While touring, Starr left the band for personal reasons and was replaced by Mike Inez.
  • 1986
    In 1986, Sleze morphed into Alice N' Chains, a band which Staley said "dressed in drag and played speed metal."
    More Details Hide Details The new band performed around the Seattle area playing Slayer and Armored Saint covers. Staley met guitarist Jerry Cantrell while working at Music Bank rehearsal studios, and the two fast friends lived as roommates for over a year in the dilapidated rehearsal space they shared. Alice N' Chains soon disbanded and Staley joined a funk band who at the time also required a guitarist. He asked Cantrell to join as a sideman. Cantrell agreed on condition that Staley join Cantrell's band, which at the time included drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Starr.
  • 1984
    In 1984, Staley joined a group of Shorewood High students in a band called Sleze, which also featured future members of The Dehumanizers and Second Coming.
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  • 1967
    Born on August 22, 1967.
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