ALICE IN CHAINS Drummer: 'We Just Kind Of Operate On What Feels Right For Us'

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ALICE IN CHAINS drummer Sean Kinney spoke to “KNKX Morning Edition” producer Ariel Van Cleave about the band’s decision to reform in 2006 following the death of singer Layne Staley. “It just kind of stemmed from a tsunami benefit that I wanted to try to raise some money for, and everybody showed up for, and there was no intention of getting the band together,” he said. “And we played, and a bunch of friends came up and sang, and it was the first time we played together in public since Layne‘s passing. From that, people started asking, ‘Hey, would you guys play? Would you play? Would you play?

“But we just kind of operate on what feels right for us,” he continued. “And we need to do what’s right for us and also to honor this thing that has become so many other people’s… part of people’s lives.

“Everybody experiences it in life — we all lose who we love — and it’ll happen to everybody,” Sean added. “It’s just, in our case, because of what we do, it happens in public. And people mean well, and it touched their lives, and they care, and so you become like a walking headstone for your friends. So when people see you and wanna pay respect, that’s great and it’s beautiful and everything. But personally, it’s real to us — like with friends and family — so that never goes away. And then there’s moments where you’re just having a great day and strangers remind you of the crappiest times of your life.”

ALICE IN CHAINS released three albums with Staley, who died of a drug overdose, before the surviving members — guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell, bassist Mike Inez and Kinney — brought guitarist William DuVall onboard in 2006. After that, they issued a pair of well-received albums: the 2009 Grammy-nominated “Black Gives Way Too Blue” and 2013’s “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here”. The group’s latest effort, “Rainier Fog”, arrived last Friday.


Inez told LA Weekly that ALICE IN CHAINS has grown massively alongside DuVall thanks to the huge amount of gigs the band has played around the globe.

“We’ve played hundreds and hundreds of shows with William at this point, worldwide, every country you can think of,” Inez said. “We’re still hitting new countries. We’re still hitting places we never played before. Between the old band and the new band, obviously it’s a different singer, different human being completely. I hate to compare Layne to William because they’re two different guys. As far as William growing from the time that we started jamming with him in 2006, it’s been 12 years of just touring, being in rehearsal places and recording studios, arguing over parts, and you either grow together in that kind of environment or you grow apart really quickly. I’m happy to report that after 12 years, we still love William and it’s a team sport for sure. We move like a basketball team — every person plays their part.”

“Rainier Fog” marks a few firsts for ALICE IN CHAINS: in addition to being their first album in five years, it’s their first album for BMG and their first time recording in their hometown of Seattle in more than 20 years (worth noting that the album title is a tribute to Seattle). The “Rainier Fog” recording process also saw the band spend time at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles and at the Nashville studio of producer Nick Raskulinecz. “Rainier Fog” is the third straight ALICE IN CHAINS album recorded with Raskulinecz and engineer Paul Figueroa. The album was mixed by Joe Barresi (QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, TOOL).

Photo credit: Pamela Littky