This is number 4 in my “Rockin’ Clients” series. I am finding it really interesting to learn about the artists that we work with. Most of the time, my focus is on the custom stage curtains and other soft goods that we make for the clients, but I may know very little about the background of the artists. I hope that blog readers are enjoying learning about them as much as I am!
Alice in Chains began in the late 1980s / early 90s as part of the grunge movement in Seattle. Formed by lead guitarist Jerry Cantrell and the late Layne Staley (lead vocalist), the band incorporates elements of grunge, heavy metal and acoustic into the band’s sound. After recording several demos, the band was signed by Columbia Records in 1989.
The band’s first album, Facelift, was released in August 1990. While it had limited success initially, MTV airplay of the video “Man in the Box” boosted album sales, and the album went gold by the end of the year. The success of Facelift propelled the band, and their second album, Dirt, went platinum and remained on the charts for close to a year. They also released several EPs, including Jar of Flies, which debuted at number 1 on Billboard (the first and only EP to do so).
By 1994, Alice in Chains was experiencing difficulties, primarily due to the drug problems of founder/lead vocalist Layle Staley. Though they did release the self-titled Alice in Chains in 1996 and play live concerts sporadically, Staley’s drug issues made it increasingly difficult for the band, and little original music was produced or released over the next six years.
Following Staley’s death in 2002, the remaining members of Alice in Chains remained on hiatus from the band, pursuing solo work and other pursuits. In 2005, the band reunited to perform a benefit concert and other live and televised events, including reunion tours, adding William DuVall on vocals in 2006. Black Gives Way to Blue, the band’s fourth studio album, was released in 2009.
The band has toured steadily in the late 2000s, reporting on its website in December 2010 that it had played “150 live shows in the past 16 months.”
We made some really interesting custom stage curtains in 2010 for Alice in Chains, including several silver kabukis and some metal mesh pieces. There are some great photos and videos on this blog, if you want to check them out.