Scott Ian Recalls Discovering Alice In Chains, ‘I Was Blown Away’

Scott Ian of Anthrax recently joined a conversation with Louder Sound and praised the members of Alice In Chains for their musical talent and playing style.

Alice In Chains made a noticeable entrance into the music world in 1987 and contributed to the popularization of grunge. It’s impossible not to feel metal’s influence in their sound, which goes hand in hand with the lyrical themes often explored in grunge. Perhaps, AIC’s ability to highlight both metal’s effect on their sound and grunge’s emphasis on their lyrics is one of the most important features that distinguish AIC from their contemporaries.

In a recent interview with Louder Sound, Scott Ian recalled the moment he first heard AIC, and it seems like he was very impressed by their distinctive and characteristic sound. As it turns out, he first heard about AIC while on the road for the Clash Of The Titans tour, which was held in the early ’90s and is still considered one of the most unforgettable events in heavy metal history. Ian initially thought that AIC was an ordinary band, but he quickly realized he was wrong.

Describing the first moment he heard AIC’s sound as ‘mind-blowing,’ Ian explained that he was very impressed by the band’s flawless combination of pop arrangement and metal sound. Stating that the band’s riffs, hooks, and vocals are already good, the musician said that he was influenced by this range of motion and their sound, which was ‘as metal as Black Sabbath.’ Stating that he also liked the dark and brutal tone in the band’s songs, the guitarist recalled how impressed he was by their live performances on the Clash of The Titans tour which had the same dark and aggressive vibe.

Scott Ian praised AIC as follows:

“We were putting together the Clash Of The Titans tour with Anthrax and Slayer and Megadeth, we had a meeting to talk about support bands. And Dave Mustaine said, ‘Hey, check this out,’ and handed me a CD of Alice In Chains’ first record. I hadn’t even heard of them, and I thought it was some hair band. And I put it on in the car on the way home and I was blown away.

I could not believe how f*cking good it was. It was not thrash, and it was not ’80s hard rock. They had the riffs, the hooks, the vocals, but there was this pop thing to it – I mean, ‘Man In The Box’ is a straight-up pop song in terms of arrangement, but it’s so fucking heavy. Like, Black Sabbath heavy.

That was the thing about them. They had this darkness and brutality, but there was a beauty to it. There were so many dichotomies to what they did, and to them as people as well. I remember the first show they played on the Clash Of The Titans tour, and I expected them to just be up there shoegazing, but they were jumping around, headbanging, Layne was in the crowd’s faces. He’d jump in the crowd and fight people.”

Despite never officially breaking up, Alice In Chains went nearly a decade without making any new music after the late ’90s, following Layne Staley’s passing. They were resurrected in 2006 with a few line-up changes. Their most recent record was released in 2018, and they recently hit the road once again.