Jar of Flies
Alice in Chains
1993: Columbia CK 57628
Alice in Chains were one of the only grunge groups I could ever take seriously, and in fact I find its hard to be flip about them.
When (after finally buying a copy) I got around to listening to the reasons I got this albumI Stay Away and No ExcusesI was even more convinced than before that I shouldve bought it with the same uneasy reactive feeling that I have to The Doors.
I resisted (for many years) adding any Doors stuff to my collection because although it is elemental as an influence its a little too evocative for general listening. I hear Doors tracks and my life slides into a pit of nihilist passivity. Its good stuff for listening to and reinforcing a sense that all is futile, that theres nothing worth living for. To me. So Id avoided having any on hand until the mid-2000s.
And that was also my take on Alice in Chains. Unlike ALL other Seattle bands of the grunge phase, this is one from which Ive heard true musical/lyrical brilliance, albeit in unexpected ways. Not a bad thing. And years ago I worked with someone (a delightfully unassuming subsuburban lady, nothing at all like what youd associate with AIC) who knew the band and helped me in turn to have a decent perspective on them and their work. As with Perry Farrell and Janes Addiction, frankly I dont care if drugs were a necessary element to Layne Staleys sound as long as he could produce it.
Layne died shortly after I bought this album, and I thought that was kind of sad and yet kind of surprising, as Perry Farrell was still alive. Then again, I heard Pearl Jams Jeremy the other day at a smoky diner here in Seattle and thought two things: 1. Yeah now thats how this song sounds best, and 2. I had totally forgotten this song existed after Alice In Chains got rooted in my audial consciousness and booted it out.
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.