New Details On Layne Staley’s Battle Against Addiction

I was sent a link to a page of a December 2002 auction of Alice In Chains frontman Layne Staley’s property. I don’t know how long this has been online, or if the property was stolen, but it is new to me, so I thought I would share the description of the auction with Alternative Nation readers. The second paragraph sheds some new light on Layne’s battle against drug addiction.

“Alice In Chains”, a name that was invented by singer / songwriter Layne Staley for a parody heavy metal band that dressed in drag, grew out of the grunge capital of the world – Seattle, Washington in 1987. Arguably the band that put Seattle on the map, if not for another radical American “grunge pioneer”, Kurdt Kobain (now also deceased). Both artists died long before their time. Ironically laboratory results showed that Layne died from a drug over dose on the exact same day that Kurt committed suicide. This important compilation of fragments in Layne’s life comes from personal and tour garments as well as ephemera – a personal, deep and touching look into the life that once was. Included is his motorcycle helmet with sticker “Keep Kids Off God” and handwritten “God Awful”, pair of bates dress shoes, a brown used right cowboy boot, his Mexican leather cowboy hat, black Henry Grethel shirt, his Levy guitar strap (with skull art), Converse Chuck Taylor sneaker with Alice In Chains printed with fly and star art. All items are well worn. The ephemera part of this historical aggregation includes his personal Grammy invitation, his hand written resume (at age 26), a comical letter from his Mom, 13 misc. letters to Layne from girls and friends, candid photos of himself, Poison Bone, girls, band members and even Billy Idol. Legal letters, cell phone bills, union dues bills, e-mails, deposit stubs, bill of sales, his stock portfolio statement, 1995 tax return.

Also, a very serious personal hospital health form for drug addiction in 1994 that suggests AA meeting, meditation, and continued sobriety, 10 assorted comic books, fanzines, from Layne’s personal library. From one of his notebooks a four-page handwritten commitment to himself to do his “Twelve Steps”. Another is values and priorities in nine hand drawn sketches. Tons of music, clivvppings, unpublished art and photos, five concert handbills and an early poster, his own “Star Registry”, some very personal notes, letters and commitments from his girlfriend, Kemri. Four explicit letters from drug rehab; his girlfriend, & music life which describe meetings with Steven Tyler and Ringo, Janes’s Addicition Eric Avery and going through withdrawal…wow. Truly enthralling accumulation for another sadly missed rock artist.

layneitems

  • fuck them

    woah

  • sifting .

    uhh

  • Nicky Dasappah

    Kurt*

  • Sherry Belt Mcree

    *Demri

  • Rizz

    For some reason I felt I was violating Layne by reading that. Seems very uncool to publicize that.

  • Eddie Yarler

    I really hate to play the “what if” game because its all based off assumptions but does anyone ever wonder “if Alice in Chains fired Layne Staley would he still be alive?” They basically never really addressed how he was holding them back, and since he lived off royalty money he just spent the last years of his life at home doing drugs. Aside from Alice in Chains my two other favorite 90s bands are STP, and Creed(don’t bother bitching me out about how they are supposedly ‘imitator Grunge’ I stopped caring about stuff like that a very long time ago) and what all three bands have in common is a singer with severe addiction problems. However, STP and Creed both kicked their singer to the curb when he was too much. While STP is a lost cause Creed found a much more capable, stable, and normal singer to replace their old one and found success as Alter Bridge. Velvet Revolver did the same by turning into Slash’ solo project and finding success in there as well. Sure STP and Creed are not together but at least all four original members are alive. While Stapp had a nervous breakdown, and Weiland started off extremely rocky, both got off their ass to go tour and make new music as solo artists. They were both given a reason to provide for themselves, where as Layne wasn’t. I wonder if the case would be the same for Layne if they just fired him.

    • LockJL

      I couldn’t agree more and have often wondered the same thing about what the outcome might have been if they had just fired Layne, making it less convenient for him to sit around and do nothing but drugs for years.

      • Eddie Yarler

        I really hate to say this cause again its just an assumption but I think if Layne was still alive he’d be in the same boat as Stapp, Weiland, and Travis Meeks as far as addictions.

    • Danny Moore

      He still would have picked up royalties regardless of them firing him, just as Mike Star did…. Think Layne’s story all comes down to Demri Parrott and where he would be if she hadn’t have died.

  • jarofchains

    Very interesting insight. 13 years has passed since his death. I still remember finding out about it. As far as this article violating Layne – I have to disagree at this point. If anything it just provides some new details of his struggle which we are all totally aware of. The people who actually posted this auction to try and profit off his death were parasites but Brett is just passing on information to curious fans.

    I was devastated about his death when it happened, I was a little younger so I couldn’t appreciate the whole early 90s musical movement as it happened but I gravitated towards Alice in Chains in the late 90s when in high school because I felt a deep connection to the music – that band helped me through alot of tough times. I always held out hope that they were going to get back together but it wasn’t to be. I respect the hell out of the band for keeping their private matters private and respecting each other. Addiction is a sad downward spiral, Layne seems to have tried and tried to get clean but some people recover and some become victims. Layne’s last years as we know them are sad because we never were able to get any new music from him.

    I have read every possible “grunge” book I can and scoured web forums to read about the last years of Layne. I don’t think its disrespectful to be curious about someone who you admired and felt some sort of connection towards.

  • biorneit

    ” The people who actually posted this auction to try and profit off his death were parasites…”
    Agree

  • kris08

    I think enough time has passed to where finding about these things is okay. I was (an still am) a huge fan of Alice In Chains and find them to be (by far) the best band to come out of the whole 90’s grunge era. Layne has an immaculate voice and presence and it is indeed sad to read and hear of his struggles. The above article certainly does not disrespect him or his legacy – it’s just information regarding a man who faced his demons yet supplied us with such wonderful music. Also, for the record … his beloved girlfriend’s name was Demri (not Kemri).
    R.I.P. Layne and Mike!