All posts by Cindy Slade

Born and raised in the Seattle suburbs. Cindy loves alternative music, going to concerts, and also considers herself an intermediate graphic artist. She loves learning about photography and editing the pictures. Cindy is also a longtime listener of Seattle grunge music, and more specifically has followed the career of Alice in Chains for over 27 years. She hopes to be a long time contributor for Alternative Nation as she has been a dedicated reader for a few years now. You can reach her at : Cindy@CindySlade.Rocks

Remembering 10 Grunge Legends We’ve Lost

Edited by Brett Buchanan

As the holidays approach, I feel the overwhelming need to write this after the recent passing of Scott Weiland. We take for granted that our favorite musicians will always be there, but the truth is, life happens, and circumstances in their own lives change, and they are gone.

We’ve lost so many people from the 90’s grunge/alternative rock music scene, and we should not forget them as 2015 concludes, or ever for that matter. The gifts we’ve received from them will last forever, and I am grateful for that. My thoughts go out to their friends, families, and significant others as well, hoping they know the fans are still with them.

Drug addiction is such a hard thing to talk about, so I won’t, but I know all too well the impact it leaves on the living, as I lost my husband in 2010 to a prescription narcotic drug overdose. I then lost my father from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease just 4 days later. The sadness subsides, but never really goes away.

I’d like to take this time to remember those that I often think of and had a huge impact on my ‘alternative music days’ years ago, which I still listen to and love. I’d like to note that not all the artists listed below died of a drug overdose from addiction.

In memory of:


Andrew Wood, Vocals, Piano, Guitar-Malfunkshun, Mother Love Bone


Stefanie Sargent, Guitar – 7 Year Bitch


Mia Zapata, Vocals, Piano, Guitar – The Gits


Kurt Cobain, Lead vocals, Guitar – Nirvana


Shannon Hoon, Lead vocals, Guitar, Various instruments – Blind Melon


John Baker Saunders, Bass – Mad Season, The Walkabouts


Ben McMillan, Lead vocals, Guitar – Gruntruck


Layne Staley, Lead vocals, Guitar – Alice in Chains, Mad Season


Michael Starr, Bass – Alice in Chains, Red Sun Red


Scott Weiland, Lead vocals – Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver


The biggest losses for me personally were Layne Staley and Mike Starr. Both were such talented musicians, and part of a musical phenomenon that still continues to this day, Alice In Chains. I previously wrote about the sound that Layne and Jerry Cantrell created when singing together, an unparalleled duo to date. Mike Starr played his bass guitar with unmatched aggressiveness.

Unfortunately, thinking about their deaths puts me into a depression, something I cannot explain. But I knew it was time to pull out the music again as I wrote this article, so I started playing Facelift, SAP, Dirt, Jar of Flies and Alice in Chains. I’m sure many of you have done the same when missing Layne, as for me the music is healing. Although the lyrics state something of despair, I find the opposite in their music, and it gets me back to living my life again rather being stuck in a state of depression.

This past August, I brought candles to the Layne Staley and Mike Starr annual vigil at the Seattle Center fountain. Every single person listed above (except for Scott Weiland) had a candle. We even had a candle for Layne Staley’s beautiful ex-fiance Demri Parrott, because the impact she had on so many people.


There have obviously been others that we’ve lost, but the ones listed above I either met in person, or saw live in Seattle. However, I can honestly say that I never got to see Scott Weiland live, but I have always loved the music of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver.

If you have a musician that you have loved and lost, and you haven’t listened to their music for a while, I urge all of you to find the albums, or CD’s, and dust them off and play them. I bet you will feel a sense of happiness in what they left behind, as I did with Layne and Mike.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and wish you joy and happiness into the next year. I also hope you remember the great music these artists have left behind.

Photographer Danny Clinch Remembers Alice In Chains’ Unplugged Performance

Edited by Brett Buchanan

As a longtime fan of Alice In Chains, I have often wondered what photographers had to say about working with the band, so recently I decided to reach out to one of them. One prominent photographer was there for the best MTV Unplugged show that’s ever been done, which of course was Alice in Chains’ 1996 Unplugged concert in New York. That photographer and filmmaker is known for working with the most talented musicians and bands, and his name is Danny Clinch. Needless to say, getting a response from him so quickly was unreal and exhilarating. Here’s what he had to say, in our very brief exchange.

What was it like to photograph Alice in Chains at the MTV Unplugged show?

It was real cool to work with Alice in Chains, especially before the legendary MTV taping. I was able to be there for the sound check as well as the show. I love sound check, as you can hear the band work out the songs and discuss how they would play the songs in an unplugged setting.


Do you have any more photographs of Alice in Chains from the MTV Unplugged concert?

Columbia Records has most of them. I only have a few that I hung on to for some reason; maybe they were outtakes.

Did you photograph Alice in Chains any other time in your career?                                    

The “Unplugged” concert was my only shoot with them.

Danny went on to say that if his memory serves him correctly, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, both original founding members of Metallica, were among the audience.

Through his lens eye, Danny was able to capture the most vivid images; some looking like watercolor paintings. Alternative Nation thanks Danny Clinch for taking a few moments out of his very busy schedule to talk to us; maybe we’ll see some of those outtakes appear soon.

You can find Danny on Instagram, Twitter and his website:

Instagram: Dannybones64
Twitter: Danny_Clinch


Top 10 Underrated Alice In Chains Songs

One of the very best bands to come from the Seattle Grunge scene is Alice in Chains. Some consider them the Kings of Grunge. With Layne’s sultry and unparalleled voice, and the harmonious melodies between him and Jerry Cantrell, made this unlike any other band of its kind to date. Though Alice in Chains have had many obstacles, they’ve still managed make some of the most powerful songs ever.   Those same songs are now reaching new generations, and are still among the most played records in thousands of homes worldwide. I can say I’m a true Alice in Chains fan, and honestly, love all of their songs, there are however, quite a few songs considered “underrated”. Underrated because of a few factors: no airplay, critic reviews and lack of promotion.

Over the past two months, Alternative Nation did a poll on a social media site, and asked many Alice in Chains fans what they believed the underrated Alice in Chains songs were. We’ve narrowed down the list based on the numbers and we are sharing results with you, the readers.

10. Sludge Factory:  Album- Alice in Chains

9. Don’t Follow:  Album- Jar of Flies

8. Sunshine:  Album- Facelift

7. Rain When I Die:  Album- Dirt

6. Black Gives Way to Blue:  Album- Black Gives Way to Blue

5. Junkhead:  Album- Dirt

4. Hate to Feel: Album- Dirt

3. Confusion:  Album- Facelift

2. Am I Inside:  Album- SAP

1. Frogs:  Album- Alice in Chains

Certainly, there are more songs that one might consider underrated by this powerhouse band.  Even if you aren’t a die-hard fan, give them a listen, and I’m sure you’ll agree that these should have had more exposure.

Within each Alice in Chains song, there is a story, a personal account of feelings, and a message to the listeners. The message is a subliminal one, and one that brings you back for yet another listen. Alice in Chains have been storytellers for almost 29 years; and even though Layne Staley and Mike Starr are no longer with us, we continue to hear them in the older songs, as we listen to our CD’s, vinyl and even digital downloads. Those songs are never forgotten; who can forget Mike Starr singing in the back ground in ”Confusion”? Or Ann Wilson singing background vocals for “Am I Inside”, and Sir Elton John, playing the piano in Jerry Cantrell’s tribute to Layne Staley, in “Black Gives Way to Blue”.

These days, William DuVall has taken over the lead singing of Alice in Chains, and although he is never expected to fill Layne’s shoes, he’s now a welcome addition to Seattle’s favorite Grunge band.  More stories are being written as we speak, and soon those subliminal messages will be coming to us again, and we’ll be waiting.

Italian Grunge Band Shame Hits Seattle

Shame, the well loved grunge band from Milan, Italy, came to Seattle, WA a couple of weeks ago to play some of their original music. Alternative Nation was able to check them out as they performed at one of their scheduled venues in town.

The music was fresh, engaging, and hair thrashing and still had the sound of the grunge era, we all miss. This music was something Seattle craved to have back and never let out of its grips again. When they started playing, I could see why they are popular in Milan. As from the get-go, my head from bobbing up and down, back and forth to the beat of the drums, and the screams of the guitar. I was now hooked.

After they played, I was able to speak to Shame’s front man Andrea Paglione, asking him just a few questions.

When did Shame start out?

We started in 1996 as a teenage power-trio mostly influenced by the Seattle Sound.

You guys have had some experience in Seattle, why is it that you keep coming back?

We feel at home in Seattle, and Seattle has opened their arms to us and we feel loved. We want to stay here, we have friends here, which is now our family too.

Do you have a discography list?    

Yes we absolutely do!

SAD – EP released in 2002

Gone-LP released in 2008

Induction of Penitence-EP released in 2009 and

Entropia- LP released in 2014    


Andrea also told me that they are working on their next album, hopefully to be out not too far into the future. To answer that one question you might have, yes, their music is recorded in the English language.

Band members are as follows; Andrea Paglione, lead vocals/guitar, Pino Foderaro, guitar, Marco Riboldi, backing vocals/bass guitar and Claudio Ciaccia, drums.            

Check out their latest LP Entropia, which is available on iTunes and Amazon You can also find out more about their band through their Facebook page:

From their latest LP, enjoy Apocalypto


Alice In Chains’ Layne Staley & Mike Starr Honored By Seattle Rockers

Layne Staley- Mike Starr Seattle Tribute Weekend Recap
Written by Cindy Slade
Edited and review co-written by Brett Buchanan

This past weekend marked the 14th annual birthday celebration for late Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley. After the passing of Alice In Chains original bassist Mike Starr in 2011, the annual August tributes incorporated the celebration of his life as well.

Layne Staley’s 48th birthday would have been this past Saturday, August 22nd, and that date is also why the annual tributes are around this date annually.

As someone who has attended these tributes off and on over the years (regularly since 2013), this year was a combination of spectacular, and absolutely magical.

On Friday August 21st, the celebration started off at the Central Saloon in Seattle for an acoustic night for fans 21 and older. The coordinator of this weekend’s events JT Phillips (who also plays guitar in Alice In Chains tribute band Jar of Flies and Soundgarden/Temple of the Dog tribute band Outshined) told me that they wanted to do an acoustic night to replicate MTV’s “Unplugged” show, which Alice In Chains performed on in 1996. They were able to achieve this by bringing in “flameless” candles with dim lighting. Jar of Flies’ “Unplugged” replication was on the money at least setlist wise, as they played just about every song from that show, except two I’m told, and they also played them in the same order as well. Outshined also performed, as did “Poottana…Play for Money,” a Nirvana tribute band all the way over from Milan, Italy. This is Poottana’s second time coming over to perform for the annual tribute weekend. Their last visit was in 2013.

One thing I didn’t know is that both Jar of Flies and Outshined are really considered one big band. That’s because both Jar of Flies and Outshined have the same members, except for the singers. Rane Stone is the lead singer of Jar of Flies, and Kevin Hoffman is the lead singer of Outshined. JT told me that it’s like one big brotherhood, and judging from the show they clearly love what they do.

The very next night, Saturday August 22nd, was the all-ages show at The Crocodile, which just so happens to be co-owned by Alice In Chains drummer Sean Kinney.  It was evident that the show was sold out.  The maximum capacity of 525 people had been reached, but with the energy it felt like well over 1000.  Italians rockers Poottana…Play for Money opened the show.  The band consists of the following wonderfully talented musicians; Pino Foderaro-guitarist, Andrea Paglione (lead vocals/guitar), Claudio Ciaccia (drums), and Steve Stewie Armeli (bassist).  They go by Shame the Band when they perform original material.


From the very moment Poottana…Play for Money went on, the crowd was on fire, they were like kids at their first concert. Jar of Flies and Outshined guitarist Shannon Sharp was definitely touched by the performance, saying he closed his eyes and for a second thought it was Kurt Cobain out there singing. Poottana..Play for Money ended their set with Nirvana’s seminal hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”


The Outshined portion of the big “brotherhood” band performed next. A soulful Kevin Hoffman sang Mother Love Bone’s “Stardog Champion” in memory of the late Andrew Wood to end their set on an emotional high note.


Jar of Flies headlined the show, led by the charismatic Rane Stone.  Their set was filled with special guests who honored Layne Staley and Mike Starr.  Mad Season’s “I Don’t Know Anything” was a definite standout. Jason Kertson sang “Down in a Hole”, “What the Hell Have I?” and “Again”.  On “Again” Jason sang with JoF bassist Lee Bruso, which was brilliant and closely replicated the recorded version, due to Layne Staley’s use of stacking his vocals through innovative production techniques when he was recording that song for the Tripod album.

Powertrain & Pretso Ballet bassist Bobby Ferkovich and drummer Martin Lyson stepped in for “What The Hell Have I?” and “Again.”  The next special guest was Randy Vanadisson, performing an original song with JT Phillips, written for Layne, titled “Body and Soul.” The final guest was Stacey Meyer who sang “Junkhead.” Stacey is also the vocalist for Seattle band Furniture Girls.  Jar of Flies closed the show with a rousing rendition of “Would”.

I had a chance to talk to the band members and about why it’s important for them to continue to perform at these shows. Here is Alternative Nation’s interview with Jar of Flies vocalist Rane Stone.


Alternative Nation: Rane, why do you continue to do the Layne Staley and Mike Starr tributes year after year?

Rane Stone: Interesting question, we could go on and on about Layne and Mike and the fans and the families, music, how it meant so much and all…but in reality, we never knew Layne or Mike. So, us being philosophical about reasons and feelings, and emotions and such about why we do it in order to, most likely, manipulate people into thinking that we do it for some higher purpose of “channeling Layne” or recreating some moment of walking in the flesh of spirits and such; well that’s just a bunch of fakery. We do it for the legacy and heritage of the Seattle music scene. Our main reason is the preservation of a period of time for the historical, musical heritage and legacy of what meant SO very much to so many over the world.

AN: When did you join Jar of Flies?

RS: I joined in 2005, been doing it about 10 years. It has been a blast and I’m so thankful and grateful for the opportunity to be just a small part of it. IT IS AWESOME!

AN: Why is it important for Jar of Flies to replicate the original sound of Alice in Chains?

RS: Well obviously they were the Led Zeppelin of a generation. So you don’t go Led Zeppelin’s back yard and start playing a hack version of their songs, and since we’re in the backyard of AIC, with all their friends and families usually in attendance, we better not do a hack job of that either. Tell the stories the way the stories were told; no more, no less. Give homage, give respect, show some class and do it in a way that their friends and family can be proud of the performance. If it isn’t on par, or at least in the ballpark of the original, then don’t touch it, don’t do it and just move on. If we can’t do it right, we simply just will not do it at all.

AN: How are you able to engage the crowd so easily?

RS: Am I? I don’t notice. I’m just being myself. I do make efforts to remove as much as myself from the performance as possible, because it is about the material of the music and has absolutely nothing to do with me. I get to just enjoy the ride. Maybe that is why…People see that we as a band are having fun, and in that, everyone else is able to see and know that they can have fun as well. It’s a celebration! So, let’s have some fun together remembering the times we all heard those songs for the very first time! Let’s be kids again in high school/college for a couple of hours. Let’s rock out together!

AN: I noticed you guys played some songs you don’t normally play, was there a specific reason for that?

RS: I think that has to do with just wanting to keep each performance fresh. Change it up. Do songs that people may have never heard live before. Do acoustic versions of songs that have never been done before. We have done the entire Dirt, Jar of Flies and Facelift Albums before, and some songs work well live and others don’t. We have yet to do the entire SAP and Alice in Chains (Tripod) albums yet…..and yet to do Mad Season Above in it’s entirety. But…I’m sure we will….soon.

AN: For someone that has been attending your shows regularly over the years, I noticed this year in particular was nothing short of electrifying, did you feel that too? And if you did, why do you think that is?

RS: Well, let’s put it this way, we knew this weekend was going to be magical. We didn’t know why or how, we just knew it. And it was. The entire weekend was absolutely magical and we are so happy that people from all over the country and all over the world were able to be a part of this celebration of life and music and memory. We feel so tremendously blessed to be just a small part of some aspect that does its best to provide a time and a place for the friends, families and fans that adored this music and these lives so very dearly and so very much. We feel honored to have been a part of it and it is an absolute privilege for us to be able to do this for so many people that love and adore Alice in Chains and Seattle music in general. We feel very full, thankful and grateful.

AN: What does it feel like to have a sold out show?

RS: AMAZBALLS dripping with AWESOMESAUCE!! When it came down that by 8:30pm, 15 minutes before the show….IT WAS SOLD OUT!?!? On Layne’s B-Day Party Celebration!?!? I just chuckled to myself and said “Thank you Layne, Thank You Mike, Thank You Andrew, Thank You Kurt. Let’s go have some fun, guys! You guys Rock.”

AND THEY DID ROCK….the entire night.  Portions of the proceeds from the weekend’s events goes to the Layne Staley Memorial Fund through Therapeutic Health Services in Seattle; if you’d like to donate, click here.

I briefly spoke with Pino Foderaro, the guitarist for Poottana..Play for Money.  He told me (on behalf of himself and the band) that it was the Seattle music that brought them here. He said the main reason they came back is because they felt loved by so many people. In Italy, they also do their own annual tributes for Layne and Mike in April. They also donate a portion of the proceeds from their events to the Layne Staley Memorial Fund through Therapeutic Health Services also.

I would like to take the opportunity to introduce the band members by name and how long they’ve been playing with Jar of Flies and Outshined.

Jar of Flies and Outshined are:

Rane Stone- Vocalist for Jar of Flies, since 2005
Kevin Hoffman-Vocalist for Outshined, since 2012
JT Phillips- Guitarist for Jar of Flies/Outshined, since 2006
Shannon Sharp- Guitarist for Jar of Flies/Outshined, since 2006
Daryl Williams-Drums for Jar of Flies/Outshined, since 2005
Lee Bruso- Bassist for Jar of Flies/Outshined, since 2013

You can find Jar of Flies and” title=”Outshined” target=”_blank”>Outshined on Facebook to check out where they are performing next, you’ll definitely want to see them.

Thanks to all of the band members for allowing Alternative Nation into their world for one night. Special thanks to JT Phillips for making all the arrangements.