Okay, I’m a little bit… no scratch that – I’m really torn here. A couple years ago when I heard Alice in Chains was touring again I did a double take.

Wait, I guess I it will help if I take a minute to say that that Layne Staley’s death has been the only ‘rock star’ death in my lifetime that has affected me.*

Okay, now where was I?

So I heard Cantrell and the boys were touring. Confused I thought about it and figured hell, Mr. Cantrell did a lot of the singing anyway, so maybe he was taking it on full time.

Not the case.

Enter William Duvall, the ‘new’ singer for the band. Now this, this I had to think about for a while. I have serious issues with Layne being replaced. Then again, the more I thought about it I realized that Cantrell had kind of gotten the short end of the stick. AIC is his career and he didn’t have any say in Layne being who he was and eventually dying from it, so isn’t he allowed to continue to make a living? Sure he could release solo albums, but he tried that once and although Boogie Depot is a great record it sold fuck all, mostly because people are fickle creatures and attached to the names of their bands as logos or name brands, so much so that when the lead songwriter of a multi-platinum band like Alice in Chains strikes out on a new venture they don’t care.**

Wait, soapbox intervention.

Anyway, so basically I reached a kind of peace with AIC touring with the new guy. I love and respect Mr. Cantrell and I can allow in my own head room for him to carry on without Layne, even if just as a warped kind of fanboy’s payback for the years of great imagery their music has created inside my head.

Then I heard Alice in Chains are releasing a new album in September of this year.

So here’s where I’m torn. First of all, I completely get the ‘well who the fuck are you to tell me what to do with my band or my life’ angle that the current members of Alice would probably regard all of this with. But I also know that they’ve been around long enough to know that diehard fans take on a kind of ownership, right or wrong, of the music they love and as such are entitled to their opinions about it. I don’t mean to send any bad juju towards Mr. Cantrell, or Mr. Duvall for that matter. But really, an album might be too far.

But then I also think maybe it will be a killer album. As I mentioned earlier Cantrell wrote most of the music and a good number of lyrics, so maybe this will be almost like a new band with him in it. Maybe I can look at it that way.

Or maybe they just should have made it a new band and changed the name. Even though of course a new name wouldn’t carry with it the sales and interest that a new Alice in Chains album undoubtedly will.

When it comes down to it will I give it a listen? Or will I chicken out just like I did with S. Darko recently and say my memories and the music by Alice in
Chains that I love are best left unscathed and completely ignore its release?

A quandary indeed.


* Considering I was only four when John Bonham died Sept. 25th 1980. His death affected me later, when Zeppelin taught me how to listen to music and then I found the post-Zeppelin … stuff the others were doing…

** Soapbox Warning – Of course to some degree the record label can be blamed for
promotions (or the lack thereof) but really the climate of rock music
has, increasingly since the days of the aforementioned rock giants Led Zeppelin, gotten very
short-sighted – labels and fans are less and less interested in bands’
having longevity cultured over multi-album deals; instead it’s become a
singles industry again and as such the labels seem more keen on moving
a never-ending parade of one-hit wonders before the masses. Which is funny when, to digress even more for a moment, you think about the hit pop music from the last couple years – Amy Winehouse (whose music I like, for what it’s worth) and umm, what’s her nuts… Duffy sound like music pop music did the last time the biz was a singles industry.