alice in chains isn’t the same anymore
This search term leading to The Audible Stew bothers me more than all the threats and swears that I’ve received, all the posts I’ve thought would be great and didn’t get any hits and generally more than anything since I’ve started this blog.
It’s not that I haven’t heard similar things being said. There have been plenty of discussions undermining the legitimacy of the current AIC lineup. Something about replacing the singer seems to bother people more than any other lineup change. Most bands change members numerous times through their careers, but when it’s a singer you’d think the world caved in. I wonder if the backlash was as bad for Van Halen, Black Sabbath or AC/DC. Probably not seeing as how the internet wasn’t around back then.
I guess that because Layne Staley was such an iconic frontman it’s easy to overlook the fact that some bands only have one remaining original member. Iron Maiden, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Smashing Pumpkins, Helmet, Chimaira, etc. Hell, some bands don’t have any original members, but it seems that when the frontman changes people feel that the band is no more. I don’t agree with this at all. By this logic Mad Season would have been an AIC album and Audioslave would have been Soundgarden.
And it’s not like I disagree with the statement. AIC isn’t the same anymore. They’ve changed with every album. The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here isn’t the same as Black Gives Way to Blue anymore than the dog album was the same as Jar of Flies, Dirt, or Facelift. Any good band changes and grows between albums and constantly evolves. There are a few bands that I have one or two albums from, but grew bored with rather quickly because it was like the same album being repeated over and over.
It is interesting to note that the opening riff to “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” is eerily similar to “Love, Hate, Love” on Facelift. Things change, but some things stay the same.
But with the fact that Jerry Cantrell released several solo albums there’s the question of a name change. Couldn’t they just reunite and call it ‘Jerry Cantrell’? I don’t think so. Cantrell’s solo albums were no more AIC than Mad Season was. Even when he had the AIC rhythm section for a few songs on Boggy Depot it didn’t sound like Alice. The dark harmonies and tone of AIC doesn’t happen anywhere but on AIC albums. Jerry Cantrell may be the driving force, but he needs someone else to sing with to create the AIC sound.
It may seem disrespectful to some that they’re continuing with the name Alice in Chains, especially since it was Staley’s idea. The same could be said of other bands who have lost members like Skynyrd, Queen or Metallica. But the thing of it is: The decision to continue on as AIC was made my three people who knew Layne Staley a lot better than I did. It’s not my call to make.
I hope I didn’t seem to agree with this gentleman with my review of The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. Sure, there were things I didn’t like about it, but it’s still AIC. And it’s still a great album by a band that is constantly growing and evolving. Though they aren’t the same as they were, they’re still pretty fucking great.