It would have been Layne’s 51st birthday today
It would have been Layne’s 51st birthday today
An article from Metal Hammer
Alice In Chains: The Gospel According To Jerry Cantrell
The Alice In Chains guitarist and sometime singer on staying alive, Seattle, Elton John as an inspiration and wanting to be Ace Freshley
This article originally appeared in Metal Hammer #250.
IT WAS ELTON JOHN THAT GOT ME INTO MUSIC. I wish I could remember which song it was. He was the first artist I started listening to and he’s one of the greatest of all time. Great song writing, a lot of feeling, amazing lyrics… even before I understood what it was about.
RED CARPETS ARE ALWAYS WEIRD, IT’S ALWAYS UNCOMFORTABLE. It’s cool that your peers or your fans or the industry recognise you. As far as numbers and winning awards, that’s nice, but it ain’t why I do this. We’ve had a lot of success and I guess those achievements speak better than a hunk of plastic or metal that sits on your mantel.
IF YOU’VE FOLLOWED US OVER THE YEARS YOU’LL GET OUR SENSE OF HUMOUR. You’ve probably seen us making asses out of ourselves on Headbanger’s Ball, and I think any band can relate to that. We’re not the cornerstone on having a good time or being smart asses! I guess everybody took the music very seriously, even though we didn’t take ourselves as seriously as we took the music! That certainly came across with all of the bands of our era and it wasn’t just in Seattle, it was all over the world.
I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER THE FIRST GUITAR I BOUGHT. It was maybe a Korean-made Strat from a swap meet. I bought my first real guitar on payments when I was working in a music store in Texas – I was about 18. I still have it. It’s the one most people recognise me playing – a 1984 G&L Rampage.
WE STARTED DOING ACOUSTIC STUFF EARLY IN OUR CAREER WITH SAP AND JAR OF FLIES. That was a side of music we explored early on, and people accepted that. If you take away the amplification and the distortion, there’s some really strong, simple songs. Any band should ask if you take everything away, does it still work? And that tells you whether it’s a good song or not. Take away all the tricks and special effects, is it still a good song with just a voice and a guitar?
I USED TO JAM WITH GUYS WHO WERE FAR BETTER THAN ME. Probably because I was always interested in learning and getting better, so I’d try to learn from them, and it seemed to work out pretty good! They were a couple of years older than me, maybe had a band and had done gigs, and I’d hang out with them until I was on their level or surpassed them, just absorbing as much as I could. Then when I felt it was time to move on, I’d do that, until I met the guys in Alice.
GRUNGE WAS NEVER A POPULAR WORD FOR ANY OF US FROM SEATTLE. Before that word, it was referred to as the ‘Seattle Sound’, and I liked that because, although we were all unique, there was definitely a kind of ethos, a bunch of kids making noise and playing bars and parties. All the Seattle bands shared that, because it was such a small town and we all went to each other’s gigs and hung out with each other.
WHEN I WAS A KID I WANTED TO BE ANGUS YOUNG OR ACE FREHLEY. Kiss get a lot of flak, it’s very fashionable to slag them off, but I think they were a very important band in rock history. They certainly were for me, when I was younger. They had good, basic rock songs, and nobody had that larger than life persona. For a young kid that was an important period. Those old records have some amazing songs.
EVERYBODY’S GOT A LITTLE BIT OF A DRIVE TO BEAT MORTALITY. Whether it’s having kids to live on after you or whatever. I don’t know if our music’ll be around forever, but it’ll probably be around for longer than me! A lot of achievements are based on that primal urge I guess. I’m glad people still dig it, and I’m aware of how rare that is, especially to get second chances. It’s funny to think the thing that you did to avoid having a job became your life’s work… the thing you created with your friends all those years ago took on a life of its own. You continue to give it life by recording and touring, but it’s kind of its own thing. A good example of that is when our band was very inactive when Layne passed. We weren’t around, but the music was still out there.
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
— T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland, section 1, lines 1-4
Kurt Cobain (February 20, 1967 – c. April 5, 1994)
Layne Staley (August 22, 1967 – ca. April 5, 2002)
Today I decided to post some pictures of Layne and Demri. For those of you who don’t know, Layne Staley, the singer of Alice in Chains, was in the long time relationship with Demri Lara Parrot who sadly died in 1996 from drug overdose. It is believed that her death has overwhelmed Layne so much that he returned to addiction. You can read more about her on her FB tribute page.
Below you will find an article from Alternative Nation about their wedding that eventually did not happen.
The 20th anniversary of the death of late Alice In Chains frontman Layne Staley’s girlfriend Demri Parrott was over the weekend. Alice In Chains: The Untold Story author David de Sola shared some information with Alternative Nation about the wedding that never came to be between Staley and Parrott, and how the planned site of the wedding eventually was where a much sadder event took place.
“People who knew both of them well generally agree (and told me) that Layne never got over Demri’s death. He was already pretty reclusive in 1996, but after her death, there were only three recordings that I know of (Despiseley Brothers, 2 AIC songs, and a Pink Floyd cover for a movie soundtrack). He was supposed to record guest vocals for a song by Taproot, but his body was found shortly before a recording session was set to take place.
The last time Kathleen Austin – Demri’s mother – saw Layne was in 1997. He wanted a teddy bear that Demri had had with her in hospital. Austin got that bear back after it was found in Layne’s things after his death. She also has Demri’s engagement ring that Layne gave her. The engagement was called off, but she did pick out a dress. They had chosen Kiana Lodge on Bainbridge Island as the wedding venue, that’s why the private invitation-only memorial service for Layne’s family and close friends was held there in 2002.
Mike Starr said he was going to be best man at Layne and Demri’s wedding. Neither Demri’s mother nor Layne’s stepfather have been able to confirm that. Thinking about both of them yesterday and today, and what might have been. RIP Layne and Demri.”
Demri Parrott died on October 29, 1996. Layne Staley died on April 5, 2002.
So apparently it IS true. Chris Cornell really died. After a couple of days I am starting to slowly accept this fact but I don’t think I will ever come to terms with what happened. It’s extremely painful to know that the one who kept you from committing suicide long time ago, has now done it himself.
I have created this page to commemorate the musicians who have influenced me, particularly Layne, Andy and Kurt. However, since that moment others have joined them on the other side: Mike Starr, Scott Weiland and now Chris Cornell. Last week, I was on the verge of deleting this blog because I got scared of how many more alleys I would have to add to this little graveyard. However, in the end I decided to keep calm and carry on.
The answer to the question ‘why?’ is in the poem of an ancient Roman author Horace.
I have completed a monument
More lasting than bronze and far higher
Than that royal pile of Pyramids (…)
My end won’t be complete, and a great
Part of me will evade the death god
This is the quintessence of any art. By creating, you leave a piece of yourself in your work. Thanks to the book you write, the picture you paint or the song you sing, you never die completely. In the past, people believed that the person only wholly dies when the last person who knew him/her dies as well because as long as the memory lives, this person lives, too. Now, in the era of media and the Internet this is truer than ever before.
So in the end I decided that I will keep blogging here and I will create an alley for Chris in this graveyard. I will do it because I will always perceive him as a living person. He is very alive for me and always will be.
And as for the news about the funeral, see this link.
I just want to say that I have refurbished the blog a bit so hopefully the layout is clearer and easier to read now.
I also want to remind you that you can subscribe to the blog and receive all the new posts straight to your email box.
You can also follow it on the blog platforms
Or you can follow me on my social media where they appear regularly
And now that I’m done with announcements I can post Layne and Shannon 😉
WordPress has sent me a notification about increased traffic yesterday and the key word for coming to this page was ‘layne staley’ so I want to say thank you by posting his photo.
Here he is, enjoy your Sunday!