Layne Staley (August 22, 1967 – ca. April 5, 2002) was the singer of the bands Alice In Chains and Mad Season.
Staley’s parents divorced when he was just 8 years old, an event that shaped whole life. Layne started to play drums when he was 12 and eventually decided to become a singer. In 1987, together with Jerry Cantrell (guitar), he formed Alice in Chains. Other members were Sean Kinney (drums) and Mike Starr (bass) who was later replaced by Mike Inez. The group released their first EP We Die Young in 1990, followed by their debut album Facelift the same year. Facelift became a huge success and allowed the band to open for Val Halen and Iggy Pop.
But it was their second album Dirt (1993) that launched them to superstardom. It also worsened Staley’s drug addiction, and in 1994 after releasing the EP Jar of Flies, he went to another rehab. In 1995, he formed the short-lived group Mad Season along with Mike McCready (guitar) from Pearl Jam, Barrett Martin(drums) from Screaming Trees, and John Baker Saunders (bass). They recorded Above, released in 1995. That year Staley also recorded what would be his last studio album with Alice in Chain, and he played MTV Unplugged with the band the following year.
In 1996, after the death of his ex-girlfriend Demri Lara Parrott, Layne abandoned any attempts to fight his addiction. He recorded a few new Alice in Chains songs in preparation for the Music Bank box set in 1999, and he played Pink Floyd covers in supergroup Class of ’99 for the soundtrack to The Faculty. In his last interview Staley said, “I know I made a big mistake when I started using this shit. The pain is more than you can handle. It’s the worst pain in the world. Dope sick hurts the entire body.”
Staley was found dead in his apartment on April 19, 2002. According to the police report, he died c. Apr 5 due to a drug overdose.
Layne’s body was cremated.
In 2003 the Layne Staley Fund was founded as a non-profit organization that raises money for drug treatment and works with the Seattle music community. For more information, please visit http://www.laynestaleyfund.com.
If you want to light the candle for him, you can do it here.