Hollow ~ Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1987 by guitarist Jerry Cantrell and vocalist Layne Staley.

In 1986, the band Sleeze disbanded and two of its members, vocalist Layne Staley and bassist Michael Starr met up with guitarist and songwriter Jerry Cantrell at the Music Bank — a Seattle warehouse that was illegally being used as a flop house and practice studio for several bands that later became the major “grunge” bands of the late 1980s to mid-1990s.

Staley grew up in Kirkland Washington and had formed the original band Alice N’ Chainz while in high school, a band which he said “dressed in drag and played speed metal”. After meeting up with Jerry Cantrell, he revived the name with the variation to become Alice in Chains. They found a drummer, Sean Kinney, who was dating Cantrell’s sister at the time and together began writing original material and performing at various clubs in Seattle.

In 1990, they released their first album, Facelift which reached number 42 on Billboard and was probably one of the anchor albums that started the “grunge” scene. The single, “Man in the Box” reached number 18 and even got play on MTV. RIAA rated the album gold in 1990, and they went on the Clash of the Titans tour with Anthrax, Megadeath, and Slayer, closing the year with Van Halen.

Between 1990 and 1998, Alice in Chains release a whole slew of great songs. In 1992 Michael Starr left the band due to a serious heroin habit and an arrest at the Denver airport for shoplifting. He was replaced by former Ozzie Osbourne bassist Mike Inez.

There were several periods of hiatus — one being in 1995 when Staley hooked up with Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready to tour in a band called Mad Season. In 1996 Alice in Chains got together to perform for MTV’s Unplugged. Their last concert with Layne Staley would be on July 3, 1996, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Staley’s health was an issue — he was getting deeper and deeper into heroin and cocaine. The death of his fiance in 1996 pushed Staley over the edge. He lost the will to live, and became a recluse. The last interview he gave he said, “I know I’m near death. I did crack and heroin for years. I never wanted to end my life this way.” He also said, “Don’t try to contact any Alice in Chains members. They are not my friends.” Layne was found dead in his University District condo, the cause of death being heroin and cocaine overdose.

The band officially disbanded after Layne’s death, but in 2005 Cantrell, Inez, and Kinney reunited for a benefit concert and in 2006 they officially got together and found a new lead singer, William DuVall formerly of Comes With Fall.

On March 8, 2011, former Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr was found dead in Salt Lake City. Police told Reuters they were called to Starr’s Salt Lake City home at 1:42 pm where the musician’s body was found; Starr was 44. Reports later surfaced that Starr’s roommate had seen him mixing methadone and anxiety medication hours before he was found dead. Later reports indicated Starr’s death may have been linked to two different types of antidepressants he was prescribed by his doctor. A public memorial was held for Starr at the Seattle Center’s International Fountain on March 20, 2011. A private memorial was also held, which Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney attended according to Mike Inez.

Hollow

Hollow” is a single by the American rock band Alice in Chains, from the band’s as-yet-untitled upcoming fifth studio album, which is expected to be released in the spring of 2013.  The song is currently available for digital download on iTunes.

Turning in circles, slowing down
Pulling against a closing out
Easy to feed off a weaker thing
Harder to say what I really mean

Hollow as a mountain all tunneled and drilled below
Hollow as a mountain crowned with a cold, blue sky

All of your colors turn to grey
Don’t even matter anyway
Bleeding impressions where you were tied
Can’t really say how you lost your mind

Hollow as a mountain all tunneled and drilled below
Hollow as a mountain crowned with a cold
Hollow as a mountain all tunneled and drilled below
Hollow as a mountain crowned with a cold, blue sky

Silence so loud, silence
I can’t tell my up from down
Silence so loud, Silence
I can’t tell my uá¹— from down

All of the faces life can show
Withered and ugly the one you know

Hollow as a mountain all tunneled and drilled below
Hollow as a mountain crowned with a cold, blue sky

Silence so loud, silence
I can’t tell my up from down
Silence so loud, Silence
I can’t tell my up from down

  • Audio from the 2013 Single, Hollow:
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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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