Interview with Alice In Chains: The Return

“Some Karaoke Guy”

Long standing open door policies aside, the surviving members of Alice In Chains know that in order to be a working, touring band, they would need a solid lineup-and that means a singer. Much of the attention/speculation has been centered around William Duvall (Comes With The Fall), who has done stints on Cantrell’s solo tours, but the guys are quick to point out that nothing’s nailed down just yet.

“We haven’t made any decision on William Duvall, but William’s a really talented guy and somebody we’ve had a lot of fun playing with without a doubt,” Cantrell reveals. “He can definitely bring it, but we’ve played with quite a few people, and it may be something where it’s a revolving type of thing and it may be something that we have a single guy to do, but I would assume that you’ll probably see we have an open invitation to certain guys that we respect and maybe are of our class, of our era, that we respect and Layne loved and respected as well, that we’d like to be a part of it.”

“We don’t want some karaoke guy,” Kinney adds. “There’s been a lot of people that kind of emulated whole Seattle thing, and I don’t want ‘The Canadian Chris Cornell’ or the ‘Economy-Sized Eddie Vedder.’ I don’t want any of those guys who are trying to do what’s already been done, I just want somebody that’s going to do the songs justice and puts their shit into it.

“We’ve got a couple guys in the works that pretty much could carry the weight of the show and do most of it, but I think it would be nice to have other people show up and have our peers pop in to sing tunes.”

Of course, the open vocalist position has led to much speculation from fans. While among the candidates, he’s about the least likely, Maynard James Keenan seems to be at the top of the popular wishlist.

“Maynard’s one of our old brothers,” laughs Inez. “We like just hanging out with him.”

“We’re completely open to having our peers be a part of this,” Cantrell explains. “At times, we’ll probably see that happening. Most of those guys have their own shit going on. They’re not going to put their own shit down to come fucking tour with us, but from time to time I’m sure you’ll see stuff like that and we love Maynard.

“Layne loved him. We all did, but Layne had a real strong affinity for Maynard as I remember. Always had a deep love and respect for him as I remember. Those are the kind of cats we’d like to have be a part of this, and there’s plenty of them from the ’90s, bands of the era we came out in, that are amazing people and amazing performers. We’ll see what happens. We’re just throwing it out there and we’ll see what happens from here.”

“One Last Time”

“They have never lost touch with each other and they are just as intense as ever,” Wilson laughs about Alice In Chains. “Maybe more because they’re lonely for each other. Still got that same uber-darkness thing going on-very, very, very dark. Black. No one plays like Jerry. I’m just so happy he’s going to get to get on stage with his brothers again and do this thing. I can’t wait.”

To date, Alice In Chains have confirmed appearances at several European festivals for summer 2006, among them Austria’s Nova Rock and Italy’s Gods Of Metal. Already the message boards are full of musings on what a new record might sound like, but Kinney is quick to point out the finality of this reunion:

“I have no interest in reforming Alice In Chains,” he states flatly. “Layne was the singer and that was that band and that’s over. I’ve done a record with Jerry and I’m totally down with playing with Mike and Jerry. There’s no one else that I’d rather jam with than those guys, so if we found some dude and wanted to move on, I’d be all about starting a new band that way, but I don’t have any interest in replacing Layne and calling it Alice In Chains.

“I’d rather just play in a new band and leave that what it is, because you replace it and it’s not that. Layne was the main voice of that. We were all an integral part of the thing, and if the three of us went on and found somebody else we wanted to jam with, if we found a new band name and we could take it in whatever direction and go from there-I’m all for that if it pans out, but personally, I’m not into replacing the guy and calling it Alice.”

Cantrell and Inez underscore their drummer’s sentiment. “What we planned on doing was doing some shows this year and having fun,” Cantrell relates. “Where that goes and how far that reaches, that’ll be determined by how we feel we’re doing, how we feel it’s received and how we feel about actually doing it. The first part is that I think we all feel it can be represented strongly and we can have a good time doing it, without putting too much pressure on what’s going to happen in the future. If in fact this would be the one and only time we get together to do this, and it very well may be, that’s still too far down the road to see.”

“Beyond that, one thing we know is we will always be best friends,” Inez adds. “We will grow old together. That’s going to be always there, besides the music and the music business. I’m very blessed to be able to say that.”