Rock N Roll Research Essay Alice in Chains

3 March 2018

Alice in Chains for years produced many multi-platinum albums. They also became major influences to new music as well as old music, as the drug phase came upon them, they are still seen as inspirations to many as Laymen Staley, the lead singer, is known to have had one the longest suicides In rock and roll history due to the abuse of drugs. Alice in Chains was one of the biggest bands to emerge from the grunge scene; Rolling Stone magazine acclaimed them as one of the four horseman of grunge (Rolling). The other three were Nirvana, Soundboards, and Pearl Jam.Alice in Chains went multi-platinum off every studio album hey had produced, they also hold the record for having the first PEP to hit number one on the billboards (Rolling). However, billboard spots were just the tip of the iceberg, they had numerous Grammar nominations; individually every studio album produced with new Alice in Chains tracks have reached platinum at least once.

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There top selling album, entitled Dirt, has sold over 4 million copies. The album ironically made its success due to the power of Alice in Chains’ hardships and struggles with drugs, as most of the album tracks were heroin related.The album was often described as a ‘concept album about heroin’ (Edge). After the success of ‘Dirt,’ the band was at its prime soon after releasing their number one billboard PEP, Jar of Flies. Furthermore, in 1995, Alice in Chains would release their last studio album to date, entitled ‘Alice in Chains’. Despite the lack of touring, and support throughout the small portions of it, the album had still reached a multi platinum status as it sold over two million copies (Wick). With such a drastic climbing fan base, they had inspired the grunge scene in Seattle greatly.

Alice in Chains was influenced by a lot of music. They cited there major influences from Led Zeppelin to Black Sabbath, and of course Metallic (Alice). Ironically, after Alice in Chains had unofficially disbanded, Metallic cited Alice in Chains as a major influence for their album SST. Anger (Metallic). Metallic loved the sound of Alice in Chains, and had planned to tour with them in the summer of 1994 along side with Suicidal tendencies. However, due to the re-occurring drug addiction of Laymen Staley (Lead Singer/Creator) they had to cancel their tour.Additionally, Alice in Chains had their own strict sound; they were often described as grunge, hard rock, and alternative.

However, Jerry Central, the lead guitarist, described the bands primary sound as heavy metal with a mixture of blues, rock and roll, and a touch of punk. This sound was a huge influence to many newer bands; some of the major ones who have listed Alice in Chains as a musical influence are bands such as Godsends, Knickknack, Puddle of Mud, Creed, and Stains. Sully Erne, lead singer of Godsends, has cited Laymen Staley as his primary influence for music.Stains covered some of their songs live and also created song called “Laymen” as a dedication to his memory (Wisped). Unfortunately, Alice in Chains had a rumor following them that there was major drug abuse within the band, mainly Laymen Staley. Although the band did deny these accusations, the rumors were of course true (Edge). As Alice in Chains was based out of Seattle, at the time, the drug of choice, heroin, was all the rage.

Even though Laymen was committing major drug abuse, he was not the only one within the band who had substance abuse problems.As Alice in Chains became more and more famous, there drug diction was being fed as well. As the band was reaching an overwhelming fan base and media attention with the album ‘Dirt’, the band was reaching Its peak as drug abuse became a major issue among the band members. With an unlimited amount of money, obtaining drugs for the band was as common as daily chores. Furthermore, the band members did have the right intentions of coming clean, but Laymen just could not kick the habit.Rumor has it that Laymen once took 14 stints at rehab just to try to go on tour clean (Hoodwinker). On tour, Mike Starr, the bass player, would bring his heroin addicted father with him So they could shoot up together and chase Women.

Laymen, now having a proper touring bus, still choose to bring his old beat up Volkswagen on tour, so he and his girlfriend could shoot up together off- stage. Sure enough being around drugs so much, Laymen eventually pressured Mike one day into trying heroin and that was the start of his addiction as well.As Lane’s drug addiction got worse and worse, the band was unable to function without him and they unofficially disbanded. Lane’s girlfriend died from bacterial indoctrination, a common death among heroin addicts, in 1996 Alice in Chains). Laymen was more depressed then ever and he shunned himself from society. As drugs certainly did kill Alice in Chains; with being known for having the only PEP ever to hit #1 on the billboards (Rolling), and then suddenly deciding to not go on tour or release anything but greatest hit albums, the band had nothing left.Regrettably, Laymen Staley had decided to block himself off from society, and on April 19th of 2002, his accountants had noticed that his account activity had stopped.

Police were called and had found Laymen dead on his ouch, he had been there for days, they don’t know exactly when he died but they believe it to be on April 5th, which ironically just so happens to be the same day Kurt Cabin killed himself only 8 years later (Rolling).Lane’s addiction is known to be one of the longest suicides in rock and roll, and as everyone could see the potential of this band, everyone certainly did their best to try to keep the band members clean, but sadly their addictions led to succession in their music which ultimately allowed for them to have an unrestrained addiction. Once Laymen was dead, that was the end of Alice in Chains for good, however you can only wonder how far this band could have really gone?

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