23 Years Ago: Alice In Chains Records Its Final Album with Layne Staley

November 7, 2018

On November 7th, 1995, Alice In Chains released their self-titled album that, unbeknownst to them, would also be their final record with vocalist Layne Staley before his death in 2002.

With hit singles like "Heaven Beside You", "Grind", "Again" and "Over Now", Alice In Chains sold more than 3 million copies and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart.

Utilizing their classic, tuned-down guitars and Layne Staley's drowning vocals with dark lyrics based on isolation, death and depression, Alice In Chains took the tools that made Dirt such a huge success by including more acoustic elements like in their EP Jar of Flies, and an endless supply of mega-heavy Jerry Cantrell guitar riffs.

In 1994, Alice In Chains put themselves on hiatus due to Layne Staley's heroin addiction taking its toll on the band. During this time, Staley formed the one-time grunge supergroup Mad Season with Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, John Baker Saunders and Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees with a single album Above on March 14th, 1995. 

During the recording process, Staley's addiction had become such an obstacle that Jerry Cantrell assumed more of the songwriting and vocal duties for songs like "Heaven Beside You", "Grind" and "Over Now."

Though the band never set up a full tour behind Alice In Chains, they did showcase some of their songs in an episode of MTV Unplugged in Apil 1996 and opened for KISS four times before Staley went through a heroin overdose. Even though he was able to recover, Staley's addiction forced the band to take another hiatus. Sadly, this break had extended into 2002 when Staley passed away of another heroin overdose on April 5th, 2002.

Alice In Chains would not return for another 14 years until 2009 when they released their album Black Gives Way To Blue with new lead vocalist William DuVall.