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Alice In Chains Biography

Home > Music > A > Alice In Chains > Biography

Birth Place: Seattle, Washington, USA
Years Active: 1987–2002, 2005–present
Genres: Alternative Metal, Alternative Rock, Grunge, Heavy Metal

Alice in Chains was formed in 1987 by singer Layne Staley and guitarist Jerry Cantrell, who then recruited bassist Mike Starr and drummer Sean Kinney. The band signed to Columbia Records in 1989, and released its first EP, “We Die Young,” in July 1990.

Later that year, the band released its debut studio album, “Facelift.” The single "Man in the Box", which reached number 18 on the mainstream rock charts, helped “Facelift” achieve double Platinum status.

The band toured in support of the album for two years before releasing the acoustic EP “Sap” in early 1992. In September 1992, Alice in Chains released “Dirt.” The critically-acclaimed album, also the band's most successful, debuted at number six on the Billboard 200, and was certified quadruple Platinum.

The band did not tour in support of Dirt for very long, due to Staley's drug addiction. While touring, Starr left the band due to personal reasons and was replaced by Mike Inez.

1994 saw the release of Alice in Chains' second acoustic EP, “Jar of Flies.” It debuted at number one, making it the first Alice in Chains release—and the first-ever EP—to do so. The single “No Excuses" peaked at number 48 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart, making it the only Alice in Chains top 50 song. Although Alice in Chains fared well on mainstream rock radio, "No Excuses" was their only song to hit number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart until "Check My Brain" in 2009. "No Excuses" peaked at number three on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

In 1995, the band released a self–titled album, which debuted at the top of the U.S. charts, and has since been awarded — along with “Facelift” and “Jar of Flies” — double Platinum status. Alice in Chains entered a hiatus after not touring since the release of “Dirt.”

From 1996 to 2002, the band was mostly inactive, releasing two live albums, including the successful “Unplugged,” and three compilations. On April 20, 2002, Staley was found dead in his home after overdosing on heroin and cocaine, causing Alice in Chains to break up.

In 2005, the band reunited with new vocalist William DuVall. On April 25, 2009, it was announced that Alice in Chains had signed to Virgin/EMI making it the band's first label change in their 20-plus year career.

“Black Gives Way to Blue,” the group's first album with DuVall, was released on September 29, 2009. Alice in Chains has discussed the possibility of making a fifth studio album in the future.

Alice in Chains has received eight Grammy nominations. The band's first Grammy nomination occurred when "Man in the Box" was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1992. Alice in Chains has also received Grammy nominations for Best Hard Rock Performance for the band's 1992 album, Dirt, "I Stay Away" from 1994's Jar of Flies, "Grind" and "Again" from the band's 1995 self-titled album, and the 1999 track "Get Born Again".