biography
Timeline:
ALICE IN CHAINS
Layne Staley -- vocals
Jerry Cantrell -- guitar
Mike Inez -- bass
Sean Kinney -- drums
EARLY 1987
Alice in Chains forms in Seattle.
 
APRIL 1989
After being pursued by several record companies, Alice signs with Columbia, after learning Mitch Miller was no longer head of A&R.
 
JUNE 1990
Columbia releases the band's first EP, We Die Young.
 
AUGUST 1990
Alice in Chains' debut album, Facelift, is released. "We Die Young" becomes Top 5 metal track.
 
SEPTEMBER 1990
First U.S. tour date at Marquee Club in Westminster, CA. An overflow crowd of 20 elbows its way in.
 
OCTOBER 1990
Band sells out New York's Cat Club for Halloween.
 
NOVEMBER 1990
Alice tours with Iggy Pop, introduces songs "Dirt" and "Rooster" to audiences, who don't give a flying f**k.
 
DECEMBER 1990
Band sells out Moore Theater in Seattle. Concert filmed by acclaimed director Josh Taft, and later becomes Live Facelift, the band's home video release.
 
JANUARY 1991
Band nominated for American Music Award for Favorite Heavy Metal Artist. They lose.
Alice films movie debut, playing part of sleazy bar band in Cameron Crowe's film, Singles. They perform the song "Would?" Oscar buzz begins on the set.
"Man In The Box" is released, and makes an interminable 26- week climb into the Top 20. Video plays on MTV for 16 weeks.
 
FEBRUARY 1991
Band tours Europe with Megadeth. They're nominated for a Grammy for Best Heavy Metal Performance. They lose again.
 
MAY 1991
"Clash Of The Titans" Tour with Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth commences. Band debuts the song "Would?" at Starplex in Dallas -- the crowd responds by tearing up the Grassy Knoll.
The famed "Combo-pack," pairing the Facelift album with the Live Facelift home video, is released. The album charts for the first time, nine months after its release.
 
AUGUST 1991 through JANUARY 1992
Band tours with Van Halen. Eddie thinks the band needs some wardrobe tips and buys everyone new Doc Martens and plaid shirts (including some for himself).
 
AUGUST 1991
Alice makes national network television debut on ABC-TV's "In Concert" Show. They rock.
 
SEPTEMBER 1991
Jerry Cantrell blows his chance for rock immortality when, while skydiving with Megadeth's Dave Mustaine, his parachute opens, and he lands safely.
Facelift certified gold.
 
NOVEMBER 1991
Alice in Chains records SAP, their second EP. Album title comes from a dream Sean Kinney has in which, at a press conference, he announces the band's new album is titled "Sap." Band decides not to mess with fate.
 
DECEMBER 1991
Hunting in the woods with his brother, Jerry Cantrell believes November has 31 days - he misses December 1st concert with Van Halen. Columbia buys him a pocket calculator for Christmas.
Alice in Chains voted Best New Band in readers' polls in RIP Magazine and Guitar For the Practicing Musician.
 
MARCH 1992
Alice plays congenial hosts to the nation as they take "Entertainment Tonight" on a visual tour of the Seattle music scene - pool halls, rock clubs, and other revered dens of decadence.
 
APRIL 1992
Recording begins on the new album Dirt, with Dave Jerden and the band co-producing. They record through June.
 
JUNE 1992
Sean Kinney redecorates his apartment by throwing his coffee table out the window.
 
AUGUST 1992
"Would?" becomes Alice In Chains' biggest AOR hit to-date, setting the stage for Dirt.
 
SEPTEMBER 1992
Dirt is released. Written entirely by the band, Dirt paves a grim descent into a fine and private hell. Clearly, Alice in Chains is on a collision course with some dark destiny.
Layne runs over himself while popping a wheelie with his 4-wheel ATV - breaks his foot but not his spirit. Undaunted, he completes Ozzy Osbourne tour in wheelchair and on crutches, never missing a date.
 
JANUARY 1993
Band performs at two massive festivals in South America. Mike Starr reaches the top of the mountain, then retires.
Bassist Mike Inez joins, causing music world to engage in "Bewitched"-style debate: who was the better Darren?
 
FEBRUARY 1993
European headline club tour gets underway. Several European countries dissolve into civil war.
 
APRIL 1993
Alice returns to U.S. to record songs "A Little Bitter" and "What The Hell Have I" for soundtrack to Last Action Hero. Band predicts film will be top box office champ of all time.
 
JUNE through AUGUST 1993
Alice heads out on "Lollapalooza '93," the tour of the year. Joining them are Fishbone, Primus, Tool, Rage Against the Machine, Dinosaur Jr., Arrested Development, and Babes in Toyland. Reportedly, Winger was squeezed out of the line-up.
 
SEPTEMBER 1993
At the end of Lollapalooza, band members evicted from residence. Layne thought Jerry was gonna pay the rent. Jerry thought Sean would. Sean thought Mike would... Band moves to London Bridge Studio in Seattle - lonely, depressed, bored.
While in studio, over a seven-day period Alice writes, produces and records new 7-song EP inspired by previous effort, SAP. Songs include "Rotten Apple," "Nutshell," "I Stay Away," "No Excuses," "Whale and Wasp," "Don't Follow," and "Swing On This."
Band rushes to release EP before Stone Temple Pilots can get their own rumored acoustic EP out.
Band names EP Jar Of Flies, after Jerry's famous high school science lab experiment: two jars of flies, one with food, the other without. The flies without food ate each other (Jerry's lifelong career indecision between music and entomology is settled on the spot).
 
DECEMBER 1993
Power fails at Jerry's house. He is trapped in home for two days because automatic garage door fails to open. Guitarist nearly starves to death because electric can opener also not working. He writes 20 more songs. Cantrell later rescued by ski patrol.
Dirt certified double-platinum.
 
JANUARY 1994
SAP certified gold. Jar Of Flies unscrewed.
 
FEBRUARY 1994
Jar Of Flies debuts at #1 on Billboard album chart, the first and only EP ever to reach #1.
 
MARCH 1994
The E.P.'s first single, "No Excuses," reaches #1 on all key album radio airplay charts, setting the record for most spins in one week.
 
APRIL 1994
The second single, "I Stay Away," is released. The video of the song features not Alice In Chains but an amazing Claymation simulation.
 
OCTOBER 1994
Mike Inez plays on Slash's Snake Pit 5:00 A.M. Somewhere. Finds pace with Slash too slow; returns to warm bosom of Alice in Chains.
 
NOVEMBER 1994
Layne Staley begins work with Mike McCready, Barrett Martin, and Mysterious Baker on a band initially known as Gacy Gang, but soon becomes Mad Season. Album released in March of 1995. Single "River of Deceit" becomes a Top 5 Alternative hit. Album certified gold in May 1995.
 
MARCH 1995
Jerry Cantrell records "I¹ve Seen All This World I Care To See" for the Willie Nelson tribute album Twisted Willie.
 
APRIL 1995
Layne, Jerry, Mike and Sean descend into Bad Animals studio to begin sessions for what will become ALICE IN CHAINS. Toby Wright (Corrosion of Conformity, Slayer) produces.
 
JULY 1995
Sean Kinney plays with Johnny Cash on "Time of the Preacher" for the Willie Nelson album. For some reason, Cash keeps calling Sean "Sue."
 
OCTOBER 1995
"Grind," the first track from ALICE IN CHAINS, leaks to radio prematurely, causing feeding frenzy of radio programmers nationwide.
 
OCTOBER 6, 1995
"Grind" delivered to radio via satellite uplink to stem excessive spread of taped copies of song.
 
OCTOBER 31, 1995
To celebrate Halloween properly, the band releases ALICE IN CHAINS in vinyl edition.
 
NOVEMBER 7, 1995
ALICE IN CHAINS is released on CD and cassette. A new era of hard pleasures begins.
 
NOVEMBER 25, 1995
ALICE IN CHAINS debuts at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.
 
JANUARY 2, 1996
ALICE IN CHAINS certified gold and platinum by the RIAA.
 
APRIL 10, 1996
Alice In Chains tape a performance for "MTV Unplugged" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Majestic Theater. During the group's first live appearance since January 7, 1994, Alice In Chains debuts a new song, "Killer Is Me."
 
JUNE 28, 1996
Alice In Chains warms up the KISS army in Detroit's Tiger Stadium on opening night of the KISS reunion tour. Alice goes on to play three more shows on the KISS tour (Louisville, June 30; St. Louis, July 2; Kansas City, July 3).
 
JULY 30, 1996
Unplugged is released. It turns RIAA platinum a month later.
 
SEPTEMBER 4, 1996
Alice In Chains is nominated for Best Hard Rock Video at the MTV Music Video Awards. They lose.
 
MARCH 31, 1997
Jerry Cantrell releases his debut album Boggy Depot. It features Sean Kinney on drums, as well as Mike Inez and Les Claypool on bass.
 
OCTOBER 1998
Alice In Chains record "Died" and "Get Born Again."
 
JUNE 29, 1999
Alice In Chains releases "Nothing Safe - Best Of The Box"