Layne Staley Was Great At Everything Except Being A Rock Star, Alice In Chains Drummer Explains

Contrary to popular belief, the former Alice In Chains lead vocalist Layne Staley had a fun and sarcastic side, but unfortunately, his drug addiction overshadowed that. However, AIC drummer Sean Kinney shared with Variety why he considered Staley an upbeat person who wasn’t in agony and explained why he was often misunderstood.

“‘Dirt’ was never a drug concept album, and Layne wasn’t a d*ck,” said Kinney while reflecting on how his drug addiction affected Layne’s image. “He wasn’t tormented; instead, he was witty, funny, and generous. And he and Ann Wilson were the two loudest projecting singers I’ve worked with in my life. Layne was great at everything except for being a rock star.”

He continued, “Doom and gloom may be a stigma affecting perceptions of ‘Dirt,’ but in reality, part of that album talks about how cool it all is, then five songs later tell you how drugs suck. Most of our music is about persevering and overcoming.”

Staley tragically passed away from a mixture of heroin and cocaine, known as a speedball overdose, in 2002. The drummer admitted, “All of us had similar situations to Layne. That’s why re-releasing these records; now, having to go through them, it’s bittersweet. There are great memories, too, but celebrating these anniversaries is very bittersweet. I don’t get to talk to Starr and Layne about how f*cking weird it all is years later to have ‘Dirt’ re-chart.”

The band released a remastered edition of their landmark sophomore album ‘Dirt’ for its 30th anniversary this past September since it established the band as the frontrunner of the alt-rock era of rock music. The album has lyrics that are really personal for the remaining members, and thus, the memories featuring their late frontman have added a layer of emotions to the release that hit the charts once again.