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9 Interesting Facts About Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains

1. Influences of Alice in Chains

Layne was inspired by Motley Crue. Before he focused on his singing he was a drummer, and he played the drum section of "Red Hot." Layne also sang "Looks That Kill." Other musicians Layne liked were Van Halen, W.A.S.P., Ozzy Osbourne, Twisted Sister, Slayer, Anthrax, and Lizzy Borden, among others.

Sean was a member of the KISS army as a child. He loved the band and even started to sing the opening lyrics to the song "Beth," which was sung by KISS' drummer Peter Criss.

For some reason, these four early recordings below by the band have never had a proper release on any CD. To my knowledge, they have rarely, if ever, been performed live by any line-up of the band.

3. Mothra, Fuck, & Diamond Lie

In early 1988, Alice in Chains went by the names Fuck and Mothra. Layne Staley explained the origin of the name Fuck in particular “we weren’t getting any work anyway, so we thought it wouldn’t hurt us.” The band would pass out condoms that had stickers on them that advertised FUCK (THE BAND).

Jerry Cantrell changed the name to Diamond Lie shortly afterward, which was the name of a band he had previously been in. The name Alice in Chains came from Alice N’ Chains, the former band of Layne Staley that originally formed under the name Sleze.

4. The Failed "Sea of Sorrow" Music Video

Back in 1989, Thad Byrd had the idea to create the first Alice in Chains music video for the song “Sea of Sorrow,” hoping he could self-produce it and sell it to the record company who would sign Alice in Chains in the future. Thad had already met Layne Staley before when he gave him a minor role in the movie Father Rock.

The band themselves wanted “Killing Yourself” to be made into a video, but Thad stuck to his original song choice instead. Jerry had an idea of doing a spaghetti western with a brothel of prostitutes and a gunfight in a saloon. Interspersed between this story would be the band performing on a stage. Mike was going to add a touch of comedy to the music video and play the part of comedic relief.

Unfortunately, Thad was convinced by his family that the video would not make him any money, and he quit production. The “Sea of Sorrow” music video that was produced years later had nothing to do with Thad Byrd.

5. Bon Jovi & "Man in the Box"

The song "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi was the inspiration for producer Dave Jerden to tell Jerry Cantrell to use a Voice Box in the song "Man in the Box." After hearing the song on the radio, he told Jerry to buy a Voice Box because he felt it would help make the song a hit.

If you listen to the music video, the Voice Box is the "oooh w"ah ooh" sound" It sounds like a guitar but is actually a device that distorts the human voice.

6. "Man in the Box" & "Tribute"

Ron Holt, the bassist for 40 Years of Hate, wrote the song “Tribute,” which he states has musical elements that were used on the Alice in Chains song “Man in the Box.” This pertains to the central guitar riff of the song and not the lyrics which were written by Layne. Despite this, Ron Holt never felt the need to go public about this infringement of his song. Even when 40 Years of Hate ended and he faded into obscurity, he never sought any money from the profits made by “Man in the Box.”

7. Origin of "Fear the Voices"

Originally this song was supposed to be on Dirt as it was recorded during the recording session for that album. On July 10, 1992, or even possibly the day before, the vocals for “Fear the Voices” were recorded. This song is unique as the only Alice in Chains song exclusively written by bassist Mike Starr.

There was also another unreleased an untitled song written by Mike, but it is unknown what its lyrics were about and if it was ever finished. Annette Cisneros, who worked on the production on Dirt, claims that one of these songs was referred to as “Mike’s dead mouse” by the other three band members. Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney both felt “Fear the Voices” wasn’t right for the album.

Besides Mike, only Layne Staley wanted anything to do with the song. This changed when Layne was told by Mike to redo his vocals causing Layne to get angry and killing any chance that the song would appear on Dirt. It’s possible the turmoil over recording this particular song may have played some part in the decision to fire Mike from the band. Finally, “Fear the Voices” was released in 1999 after Mike Starr was kicked out of the band.

After the song was officially released, Mike enlisted the help of journalist John Brandon to help him create a music video for the song that consisted of home movies Mike had made while still in Alice in Chains. Although it was sent to his former band members for their use, it was never seen by fans and never posted on YouTube or any website.

8. 20–30 Unreleased Instrumental Tracks

Toby Wright, the producer of Alice in Chains’ self-titled album, confirmed that approximately 20–30 songs with no vocals on them were recorded. When Layne Staley couldn’t put lyrics to a track during the recording process, he went to another one—eventually, the ones that weren’t used were forgotten. These instrumental tracks were never used again on any Alice in Chains album or solo album made by Jerry Cantrell.

9. "Again" With Scott Rockwell?

Although Sean Kinney played drums on the studio recording of “Again,” he was told by Jerry Cantrell to copy Scott Rockwell’s drumming. Scott Rockwell was the drummer for Gruntruck and was recording with Jerry for what was supposed to be Jerry’s solo album. When Alice In Chains got back together for their self-titled album, Jerry remembered Scott’s drumming and told Sean to mimic it. It should be noted that Scott and Sean were both good friends.