Why Billy Corgan Didn’t Appreciate Alice In Chains’ Music Until Layne Staley’s Passing

Alice in Chains is one of the biggest names in the grunge music scene after they emerged in 1987 in Seattle. They were among the other well-known Seattle grunge bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. Their infusion of heavy metal elements with grunge and Layne Staley‘s harmony with the lead guitarist Jerry Cantrell became a distinctive vocal show that many fans still appreciate.

Smashing Pumpkins were also one of the bands that emerged around the same time in 1988, and they rose to prominence in the alternative rock genre. Even though they were formed in Chicago and not in Seattle, they followed the upcoming contemporary bands. During the ’90s, the prominence of grunge increased, and Smashing Pumpkins were there to witness it.

What Did Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan Think Of Alice In Chains?

The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan criticized Alice in Chains for merging metal sound with grunge. During the time, Smashing Pumpkins didn’t appreciate the music Alice in Chains was doing because of the competitive scene, as told by Corgan in a 2007 interview. However, Corgan started to see and appreciate the band after Layne Staley’s death.

As reported by Songfacts, Corgan said:

“Alice In Chains was a band that I didn’t fully appreciate in the early ’90s because we were all sort of competitors, and they were kind of more metal, and I wasn’t man enough to appreciate them.

After Staley died, Corgan was significantly affected by the band’s songs. Even though he didn’t collaborate with Staley or Alice in Chains, he was inspired and influenced. In 2002, the singer was among the people who paid tribute to Staley and expressed his appreciation for the band. He stated that the singer will always be remembered and admired for his talents. Smashing Pumpkins released the song ‘Bleeding The Orchid’ in their 2007 album, ‘Zeitgeist,’ inspired by Alice in Chains’ music.

Corgan stated about being inspired by Alice in Chains:

“I realized listening to ‘Orchid’ that it’s a distant commentary on what happened to the bands of the ’90s. The song even has a bit of an homage to Alice in Chains in the harmonies. Alice in Chains is one band that I appreciate so much more now than when we were all in the same competitive streak.”

Here is what Corgan said in his tribute to Staley:

“Layne had an amazing voice that had such a beautiful, sad, haunting quality about it. He was different because his heaviness was in that voice. I saw Alice in Chains at one of their final performances, opening for KISS at Tiger Stadium. They played outside in the sunshine, and they were awesome. I think that’s a good way to remember someone who has and will be missed.”

When Alice in Chains was at its peak around 1994, the band went into a hiatus due to the increasing substance addiction of Layne Staley. However, Staley worked with other names on the side while he was on break with this band. In 1996, Staley stopped performing live, and he was heavily depressed. On April 5, 2002, he tragically died on the same day Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain died eight years prior. His death was determined as an accidental overdose.