How Layne Staley Made Alice In Chains’ Recording Sessions ‘Painful’

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After their formation in 1987, Alice in Chains became a representative of harmony’s beauty in music. The band’s vocalist Layne Staley and lead guitarist Jerry Cantrell were known to have top-notch harmonizing skills, which later allowed Cantrell to take on Staley’s vocal duties after he tragically passed away. Unfortunately, it’s not the most uncommon thing to see rock stars addicted to substances and try to go on with their lives with drugs as part of it.

It almost seems inevitable to avoid getting into drugs once you enter the industry. Some people even find using substances cool, yet their thoughts don’t prevent a possible death or ruin lives due to these substances. Hence, a star faded away due to these substances back in 2002, and his condition affected everyone around him, including his friends and family.

The Story Of Layne Staley’s Tragic Death

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Staley had isolated himself as he got closer to his death. In his final year, he grew more and more apart from those he loved and those who loved and cared for him. Even though his mother tried her best to bring Staley into everyday life by searching for treatment programs, the rocker wasn’t responding positively. The more he isolated himself, the more people thought he was trying to get better, but on the contrary, he was getting worse.

On April 19, 2002, no one had heard from Staley in two weeks, and he hadn’t drawn money from his bank account or contacted his mother, Nancy. She called 911, and when the police went to his house, they found Staley’s body, which had weighed around 88 lb. He had been dead for almost two weeks, and due to his isolation habits, his body was found late.

What Else Did Layne Staley’s Isolation Habits Affect?

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Aside from his tragic death, his isolation was a big deal for Alice in Chains as a band. During the recording of their 1995 self-titled album, Layne was absent or late most of the time, which messed with the recording schedule.

Sometimes, Staley would look fine mentally, laugh, make jokes, and be energetic. Still, most of the time, he looked drenched physically, worrying everyone around him. The musician made the recording process painful for those involved. It seems like he had more problems to figure out during his last years, and music was not his top priority.

Here is what the band’s manager had told about Staley’s condition:

It was a really painful session because it took so long. It was horrifying to see Layne in that condition. Yet, when he was cognizant, he was the sweetest, bright-eyed guy you’d ever want to meet. To be in a meeting with him and have him fall asleep in front of you was gut-wrenching.”

Regardless, the band recorded and released the album, and it became their first full-length album. Considering the effort given by Staley, the album gained more recognition than expected, but sadly it became the last album to feature Staley. Later, Jerry Cantrell took over his vocalist duties.

You can listen to the album below.