I figure today's article will have a lot of people hot and bothered, but a little controversy is good for the first day of May. I have a big statement here: Alice in Chains is not grunge. Nope, they are straight up heavy metal and you can even find some Glam influences if you look hard enough.
Fact: Dirt is one of the best rock albums ever recorded.
Fact: Alice in Chains Unplugged is the best of the entire MTV series.
Fact: Bassist Mike Inez had (has?) his feet on solid Glam ground.
Fact: Alice in Chains STARTED as the Glam band Diamond Lie. Ha!
As a matter of fact, here's a quote from a press kit I found online pimping Diamond Lie:
"Taking center stage for DIAMOND LIE is the energetic and electrifying [vocalist] Layne. Layne's experience with various groups of various styles has given him quite a range of vocal capabilities; from the speed metal group SLEZE, to the punchy glam rock of ALICE 'N CHAINS. Layne's versatility and uninhibited stage performance prove him to be a valuable frontman."
Doesn't that make you giggle just a little?
While Nirvana whined and produced monotone choruses, Alice in Chains were creating stadium rock. While Pearl Jam were trying to take down Ticketmaster, Alice in Chains were performing their hits all over the world.
Sure, AIC have their grunge moments - then again, so do Motley Crue. Remember Generation Swine? While Alice in Chains might not sing about chicks and parties, they do more than enough talking about drugs. Sounds like basic rock to me. Yes, Alice gets too sludgy at times...but there are times when this band owns you. My Glam goodness, the beginning of "Would?" is a bass player's fantasy - and Alice in Chains has some damn great guitar solos peppered throughout all their albums.
Do I think Alice in Chains are close to Poison? In a word, no. I do, however, think they share some things in common with Use Your Illusion era Guns n' Roses. Of course, Axl and company apparently hate Glam and want nothing to do with the genre. I'm sure Layne Staley would also say he hates Glam...except, you know, he's dead. Still, Alice in Chains live on and their catalog of work is damn impressive.
Let's talk about "Would?" a little more. Yeah, the song is dark. It's also hauntingly beautiful and deliciously heavy. Moreover, it's an anthem-like song you'd expect to hear at every AIC concert much like you know Aerosmith will play "Janie's Got a Gun." Just a few lines ago I mentioned guitar solos: "Would?" has a great guitar part -- sounds Glam to me!
Now, to Mike Inez. He played with Ozzy! He was also a member of Slash's Snakepit. Gee - isn't it ironic that I mentioned AIC were a lot like GnR? Interesting...incidentally, I remember reading about all of this in Metal Edge. That was before the record labels drew a line in the sand and decided fans had to choose which form of Metal they preferred. I still maintain that if the labels had just kept supporting both Glam and Grunge, the music industry today would be a lot different...but that's another article entirely.
I didn't know this, but apparently Inez formed a band with Chris DeGarmo. Yes, that DeGarmo, formally of Queensryche. Me thinks Mike Inez loves the bands we talk about here every day on Bring Back Glam!
Here's the video for "Would?" Guitarist Jerry Cantrell is wearing a grunge cap...but again I remind you that Trixter dressed the same way in their video for "Give it to Me Good." Comment me, people!