One of America’s greatest rock bands, Alice In Chains first rose to prominence alongside Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden as one of the legendary four Seattle bands who came to define the grunge scene of the early ‘90s.
Alongside their huge critical acclaim, they are also one of the most successful bands of their generation, having sold well over 25 million albums.
Originally formed in 1987 and featuring Layne Staley (vocals), Jerry Cantrell (vocals and guitars), Sean Kinney (drums) and Mike Starr (bass), Alice In Chains released their debut album ‘Facelift’ in 1990. A slow-burning success, it featured early classics such as ‘We Die Young’ and ‘Man In The Box’, and has come to be viewed as one of the seminal albums in US rock history. An acoustic EP, ‘Sap’, followed before 1992’s album ‘Dirt’ thrust Alice In Chains into the global spotlight.
Multi-platinum and garlanded with praise, ‘Dirt’ established the dark, and at times harrowing, sound of Alice In Chains as one of the most potent voices in music. Dealing with addiction it laid bare the band’s demons and spawned five massive hit singles in the form of ‘Would?’, ‘Rooster’, ‘Them Bones’, ‘Angry Chair’ and ‘Down In A Hole’.
The success of ‘Dirt’ ensured that its follow-up, the acoustic EP ‘Jar Of Flies’, entered the Billboard Top 200 at Number One, the first time an EP had ever achieved that feat, and in 1995 their third studio album, the eponymous ‘Alice In Chains’, now featuring current bassist Mike Inez who replaced Starr in ‘93, also hit the number one spot in the USA.
Sadly this was the last studio album Alice In Chains were to release for fourteen years as vocalist Layne Staley descended into the grips of a drug addiction that would ultimately lead to his death in 2002.
In 2006 Cantrell, Kinney and Inez regrouped for a series of performances with various vocalists out of which was born a new line-up of Alice In Chains, with ex-Comes With The Fall vocalist and guitarist William DuVall as the band’s new frontman. In 2008 they entered the studio to begin work on a brand new album, which was released a year later.
2009’s ‘Black Gives Way To Blue’ was a critical and commercial triumph, entering the Billboard chart at No. 5 and selling millions of copies worldwide. Featuring hits such as ‘Check My Brain’, ‘Your Decision’ and ‘A Looking In View’, it re-established Alice In Chains as one of the most important American rock bands of the last thirty years, and saw them tour the world to universal acclaim.
The band’s fifth studio album, ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’ was released in 2013 and featured major hits in the form of ‘Hollow’, ‘Voices’ and ‘Stone’. The band toured extensively in support of the album including their biggest ever UK tour, which featured a sold-out show at London’s Alexandra Palace. They returned to the UK in 2014 to perform at Sonisphere festival.
2018 saw the band release their most recent record ‘Rainier Fog’, which hit No. 1 across Billboard’s Rock, Alternative and Hard Music Charts, No. 1 on the iTunes Rock Album Chart and earned them a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album. The album was accompanied by a film project entitled ‘Black Antenna’ - a stunning 90-minute sci-fi film comprised of ten episodic segments/videos, with each episode set to a different song from the album.
In 2020, The Museum of Pop Culture presented the band with its 14th Annual Founders Award, an honour given to artists who have made outstanding contributions to popular music. Celebrated by a star-studded line-up of adoring peers paying homage to the greats, the presentation cemented Alice In Chains as one of the most important and influential rock bands of our time.