Tag Archives: layne staley


These 15 Alternative Rock Artists Deserve Your Attention Right Now!

On New Year’s Day Alternative Nation posted an article Make Listening to These Ten Up and Coming Bands Your New Year’s Resolution, and now that we have given you some time to fall in love with those ten bands, here are fifteen more. So before you start raving out (do the kids still do that?) to that new Skrillex record, try listening to these ten bands that may just save rock and roll and make people realize that EDM is pretty much just disco.

Dear Stalker
Lisa Murphwell – Vocals/Guitar
Adam Learner – Bass/Backing Vocals
Alan Murphwell – Drums
A three piece band from Melbourne, Australia which features a talented front woman with a stellar and bold voice accompanied by one of the best rhythm sections in modern rock, Dear Stalker have the pieces in place to break at any moment.


Echo Collider
Members:  Bryan, Matt, Derek, RJ and Matt
Echo Collider is a five piece progressive hard rock band hailing from Kansas City, MO. Dynamically mixing heavy guitars along with moments where the listener can get whisked up in the exploratory song progression, Echo Collider have the music to take you on a trip.


Dear Adamus
Raytheon Dunn: Vocals/Guitar
Chris Wilkins: Bass/ Vocals
Severin Di Croce: Drums
With multiple vocalists that are as smooth and flawless as they come and a sound that rivals some of the best singer/songwriter acts of today, Dear Adamas is just getting started with their latest single “Somber Face”.

Reverb Nation

Helms Alee
Ben Verellen:  Guitar/Vocals
Dana James:  Bass/Vocals
Hozoji Margullis:  Drums/Vocals

A three piece band out of Seattle, WA, Helms Alee are masters of progressive melodies and vocal harmonies; its modern rock that builds and explodes. If you like Tool they are a must listen, though Helms Alee are by no means imitators and often branch out finding unexplored musical territory. And on a side note, their album artwork is breathtaking.


Home Address
Frankie Mattero:  Vocals
Brandon DeAtley:  Drums
Albert Deel:  Bass/Vocals
Christian Deel:  Guitar
Brandon Deel:  Guitar
Home Address is a five piece band from Fredericksburg, Virginia that radiates nothing but feel good alternative rock. It’s one of those rare perfect musical marriages where all the components mesh together to form a unique and refreshing sound all its own, as evident in the track “Supposedly“.


Inner Temple
Dustin Schumacher: Guitar/Vocals
Keeyan Zimmerman: Drums
Dan Dent: Bass
A three piece band from Bloomsburg, PA, Inner Temple quench the thirst for fans of early 90s alternative rock that crave that type of new music from a modern band.  Inner Temple are carrying the torch passed on by Nirvana and The Screaming Trees but with a modern twist.

Messenger Birds
Parker: Vocals/Guitar
Chris: Drums
A two piece band from Detriot, MI, Messenger Birds are a bit grungy and a bit solo Jack White, but their use of space allows them to stand apart from their peers.

Outta The Furnace
Minnesota John: Guitar/vocals
Stevie Steve: Bass Guitar
Matt Albright: Drums
Outta The Furnace are a three piece bluesy modern rock band from Virginia Beach, VA. White Stripes meets Buddy Guy; Outta The Furnace has formed a sound all their own.

Reverb Nation

Sabrosa Purr
Will Love: Vocals/Guitar
Sabrosa Purr is an experimental alternative rock band from Los Angeles, CA. They have taken a wide range of influences while superbly taking advantage of time in their songwriting and created something truly extraordinary.


Tim Branom
Alternative Nation’s very own multi-talented reporter Tim Branom is a rock music veteran from Los Angeles, California. Branom has worked with the likes of Layne Staley and Days of the New. A guru in the studio and a great songwriter, Branom’s music is tailored to perfection. Throw in some great hooks, perfect transitions, and voice that can rattle the soul, Branom’s music is a must listen.  Branom just released a raucous new single entitled “Blind” last month, download it on iTunes.

Reverb Nation

Ultra Major (Formally Concreatures)
Ty Jontz
Nick Tardif
Eric Pearson
From Brooklyn, NY, Ultra Major create nothing but great and heavy melodic tracks. Their sound is a throw back to the 90’s with smooth vocals and loud guitars.; a hint of Screaming Trees mixed with their own brand of alternative rock.


The Vidos
Brett Hornall: Lead Vocals/Bass
Kirk Musfelt: Guitar / Backup Vocals
Nolan Nielsen: Drums / Backup Vocals
The Vidos are a three piece punk band from Vancouver, BC, Canada and fun is the only way to describe them. Their music isn’t overplayed pop/punk nonsense, but is actually reminiscent of the early punk days by perfecting the habitual short punk track with excellent musicianship.


Keith Freund: Vocals/Guitar/Bass
Chris Oquist: Drums
Ribs are a duo from Boston, MA. With heavy guitars layered with a vocalist that has the aura of The Cure’s Robert Smith, Ribs have conjured up a sound like no other. They have opened for the likes of bands like Queens of the Stone Age and in 2016 a much anticipated new album is set to be released.


If you have completely given up on rock or just came back from that much anticipated trip to mars, or any other random place completely void of all things regarding rock music in pop culture, and haven’t heard these two bands that have recently garnered significant fan bases, you should check them out!


Dead Sara

What are some of your favorite up and coming artists?  Feel free to share in the comments section below.

Hear all the best from all these great up and coming bands and many more at www.rockshowradio.net and www.alternativenation.net/radio

Chris Cornell Talks ‘Glamorizing’ Of Scott Weiland, Kurt Cobain & Layne Staley’s Deaths

Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell was recently interviewed by 105.7 the Point, and Alternative Nation has transcribed several quotes. The reporter asked Cornell if it blows his mind that he’s still here, especially with fellow Grunge icons Scott Weiland, Kurt Cobain, and Layne Staley having died.

“I don’t know, it’s hard to say. I guess the overall attitude ends up being that it’s a drug issue, but that’s kind of cloudy. I have other friends that are extremely talented musicians that died in different ways.”

He said he doesn’t blame the music industry for rock star deaths.

“What I’m getting at is if you go into a 12-step meeting in any city, and you count 75 people and you ask how many people are musicians, you’re going to get 2, and everybody else is going to be from every walk of life as you can imagine. The same as Scott Weiland’s mother crying, there are mothers crying who have lost their sons who are construction workers, mechanics, literally anything you can think of, and it’s happening every day. The only difference between a musician that’s famous, and that other kid, is we don’t talk about them on the radio, that’s kind of it. They’re not somebody that is a public personality that’s already been talked about for other reasons.”

“Then I also think there’s kind of a history of glamorizing a little bit the ‘dead guy,’ whether it’s a rock star or a famous actor. James Dean, he only made three movies, and he’s one of the best known actors of all time. Granted, I think everyone agreed that he was really talented, and he died in a sort of glamorous bad ass way, which was in a little race car on his way to a race, driving it himself. I think there’s something to the legend of that, and the story of that, but one of the things I’ve experienced over and over again, which I think is a way that people deal with it, particularly when it’s somebody that is already kind of celebrated for something, is that we kind of invent the idea that it was ‘predetermined’ I think. That’s where I get impatient with it, because if that’s the case, then it’s predetermined with every kid that ends up with a substance abuse habit, and dies from it.”

Cornell also discussed personal responsibility when it comes to an addict dying, not blaming hanging out with ‘the wrong crowd’ for death. Cornell said he sees it as a parental way of dealing with it, and that he doesn’t agree with blaming other people for the addict’s death. “I’m not saying that is entirely wrong, but if someone has the propensity to abuse alcohol or drugs, and if they didn’t meet the wrong sort this weekend, they’re going to meet another guy somewhere else, if you have that in you.”

He later said, “I don’t think that, at the end of the day, if a person really wants to get better, anything can stop them, and if a person doesn’t want to, they won’t. You can’t make them do it.”

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.

Scott Weiland Talks Avoiding Kurt Cobain & Layne Staley’s Fate In Final Interview: ‘Live Fast, Live Long’

Garret K. Woodward has posted Part 2 of one of the final ever interviews with late Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland. In the interview, Weiland eerily talked about avoiding death.

Woodward asked him, “But you landed on your feet. Do you think about that, that you weren’t a victim of the 90’s like Kurt or Layne?”

Weiland responded, “Not at all. I surpassed that stage of music and that lifestyle, and live a whole different life now.”

He also discussed what advice he’d give a young version of himself getting into the music industry, “That the most important thing is writing songs, because without great songs, nothing can happen. Live fast, live long.”

He also discussed bipolar disorder, “Yeah, it’s something that’s so common. Most people that have it don’t even know they have it and people that know that they have it don’t want to be medicated for it because it’s not something like taking an aspirin for a headache. It’s something that is trial and error. It’s like throwing darts at a dartboard until you hit the bull’s eye and finding the right medication that works.”

He said today, he was a happy family man. “Happily married and also the stepfather of a great kid named Wolfie.”

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.

Chris Cornell On Layne Staley’s Death: ‘It’s Harder To Find A Silver Lining’

Chris Cornell discussed Mad Season and how listening to Above in preparation for his performance with the band’s surviving members earlier this year at Benayora Hall in January.  Read the quote below from an interview with WMMR, as transcribed by Alternative Nation.

“When I was asked to do that, what came next was listening to the original recordings, which was listening to Layne sing in headphones over and over to learn it, and feel like I really knew it. That was kind of unexpected, I don’t want to say dark, but it was tough, because I hadn’t really done that. Listening to his voice intimately, and sing those words and sing those songs, it definitely sort of forced me to reckon with what happened in his life, and the fact that he’s not around anymore. I think that’s tough for everybody that knew him, as it is for anyone that loses someone who is a friend that is young, or that affects your life, just fans of his even.

I think that sometimes almost the bigger tragedy in a weird way is all of the future imagined creative projects that could have happened that didn’t. I feel the same way about lots of brilliant people who die young, kind of senselessly especially. If it’s an accident you feel like it’s an act of God, but if you feel like they did it somehow, it’s sort of harder to reconcile. It’s hard to find a silver lining, but it doesn’t change what he did at all.”

He was also asked if he would do more with Mad Season after the Benayora Hall performance earlier this year. “It’s not really something that we talked about, no. We might do something else some day (laughs), who knows?”

Mike McCready Thinks Layne Staley Would Be Proud Of Chris Cornell In Mad Season

Mike McCready discussed Chris Cornell standing in for the late, great Layne Staley at the Sonic Evolution Mad Season concert from January at Benaroya Hall in Seattle in a new Pearl Jam Radio special on SiriusXM. You can read a quote transcribed by Alternative Nation below.

“We chose to record three Mad Season songs with the symphony. I wanted it to be a representation of each guy that wrote in the band as much as possible. Selfishly, I wanted to do ‘River of Deceit,’ because I wrote the music for that, but also Layne wrote the lyrics for that, as he did with everything else. ‘Long Gone Day,’ which is basically written by Barrett [Martin], and again Layne and Mark Lanegan wrote the lyrics to that. Then Josh Evans had the idea to do ‘I Don’t Know Anything,’ which was kind of out of left field, and I didn’t know how that was gonna work, but it ended up turning out really cool. That was Layne’s song that he wrote on that record, along with others.

So it was kind of a good representation of the whole record, I think for three songs they became way huger than I ever imagined they could be, in a different way with Chris Cornell singing on top of them. When I heard he wanted to do that, I literally jumped for joy, I couldn’t believe it. He brought his take to it, and did it beautifully, and I think Layne would have been proud.”


Chris Cornell discussed fronting Mad Season for their January 2015 Sonic Evolution concert in a new interview with Radio 929. Cornell praised the show, but downplayed rumors of a full fledged reunion.

“Well, that’s not something we ever really talked about, but I can say that I really enjoyed being on stage with those guys, and it was kind of a shock to be standing there…I was trying to remember the songs and trying to sing them well and sort of do right by the history of it, and once I was on stage and we were doing it, then it kind of hit me, I’m standing here with these guys, all of which I’ve known for years and years and been friends with but had never been on stage with them like that. It was pretty great. It was pretty moving.”

Chris Cornell Talks Layne Staley’s Reaction To Kurt Cobain’s Suicide

In the upcoming issue of Australia’s Rolling Stone, Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell discusses his friends who have passed away.

“I’ve lost a lot of young, brilliant friends.” Cornell listed them, “Andy Wood and Layne [Staley] and Jeff Buckley, who was a good friend, and Kurt [Cobain], and Shannon Hoon [of Blind Melon] was a friend, and Mike Starr [Alice In Chains] was a friend.”

Cornell later talked about the inspiration he drew from for his new album Higher Truth, and how it isn’t a record he could have made when he was younger, and how his friends are affecting his music today. He talked about wondering what his friends would be doing today if they were still alive. “But it’s really bittersweet because I can’t help but think, what would Jeff be doing right now, what would Kurt be doing right now, what would Andy be doing? Something amazing.”

Cornell also talked about Layne Staley’s reaction to Andrew Wood and Kurt Cobain’s deaths. He remembered “seeing how Layne reacted to Andy dying [from] drugs, and I think that he was scared possibly. And I think he also reacted the same way when Kurt shot himself. They were really good friends. And yet it didn’t stop him.”

You can view Cornell’s Australia Rolling Stone cover below.


Chris Cornell discussed fronting Mad Season for their January 2015 Sonic Evolution concert in a new interview with Radio 929. Cornell praised the show, but downplayed rumors of a full fledged reunion.

“Well, that’s not something we ever really talked about, but I can say that I really enjoyed being on stage with those guys, and it was kind of a shock to be standing there…I was trying to remember the songs and trying to sing them well and sort of do right by the history of it, and once I was on stage and we were doing it, then it kind of hit me, I’m standing here with these guys, all of which I’ve known for years and years and been friends with but had never been on stage with them like that. It was pretty great. It was pretty moving.”

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 https://www.facebook.com/outshinedtribute?fref=ts” 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.

Manager Said ‘Layne Staley Is Alice In Chains’ When Replacement Was Suggested

David de Sola’s new book Alice In Chains: The Untold Story gives new details on the Nancy McCallum v. Alice in Chains Partnership et al. lawsuit, which was filed in King County Superior Court on May 2, 2013. According to de Sola’s book, Nancy Layne McCallum alleged in a lawsuit that at one point in the mid-1990’s, Layne Staley told her he was “contemplating withdrawing from the band to address his health issues, but that Susan Silver, the band’s manager, was pushing back by reminding him that there were 40 people on the payroll counting on him to write and perform.”

She further alleged in the lawsuit that “during an ‘intervention’ with Mr. Staley, Ms. McCallum questioned the need for her son to continue to write, perform and tour with the band: ‘Why couldn’t the band audition for a replacement lead singer?’ In response, Ms. Silver told Ms. McCallum, ‘Nancy, you don’t understand; Layne IS Alice in Chains.”

Taproot Discuss Planned 2002 Collaboration With Layne Staley

Taproot shared a Facebook link to Alternative Nation’s recent story on Taproot planning on recording a song with late Alice In Chains frontman Layne Staley in 2002. They also posted a response to our story:

Couldn’t have written it better myself, so I took this straight from Jarrod Montague’s page 🙂

The new Alice in Chains book mentions how Layne Staley was set to record vocals to a song Taproot was going to put on our album “Welcome” right before he passed away. We never talked about this much because it didn’t seem appropriate.

We had a “spacey-sounding” track which we didn’t have vocals for, but our producer Toby Wright, who had made several AIC records, liked it and passed it along to Layne for vocals. We called it “Kevin Spacey.”

When he passed, Layne’s mom told Toby that this demo was in his CD player. Very sad ending to a very talented individual’s life.

Here’s a link to an Alternative Nation article about it. There’s also a clip of us playing it live without box.

Layne Staley Believed His Girlfriend’s Ghost Visited Him Just Before His Death

According to David de Sola’s new book Alice In Chains: The Untold Story, Layne Staley believed that the ghost of his late girlfriend Demri Parrott visited him just days before his April 2002 death. Parrott had died in October 1996.

Layne and Mike Starr were watching television on April 4, 2002, the day before Staley died of a heroin overdose. Layne was flipping through the channels and stumbled on the John Edward show Crossing Over, a show that TV Guide describes as: “A psychic claims to communicate with his audience’s late loved ones. The host focuses on a section of his studio `gallery’ and makes references to those who have `crossed over.’He also conducts one-on-one sessions with audience members and celebrity guests.”

While watching Crossing Over, Layne turned to Mike and said, “Demri was here last night. I don’t give a fuck if you fucking believe me or not, dude. I’m telling you: Demri was here last night.” Demri’s mother, Kathleen Austin, heard this story from Mike Starr after Layne’s death and relayed the story to David de Sola (and it was corroborated by Jason Buttino). She said she believes her daughter was there that night “to be there with Layne as he’s doing his transition.”

Interview: Layne Staley’s Mom Nancy McCallum Talks Layne’s Childhood, Unreleased Music & Final Days

In a rare interview, Alternative Nation sat down with late Alice In Chains frontman Layne Staley’s mother, Nancy Layne McCallum, for an in-depth exclusive feature. In this interview Nancy discusses Layne’s childhood, how his voice continues to speak for new generations, his tragic final days, whether there is any unreleased music, Demri Parrot, Layne’s religious views, and a possible Layne Staley poetry book.

Also remember to check out the 2015 Layne Staley Tribute Weekend later this month including a fan gathering at Seattle Center International Fountain on August 20th, acoustic night on August 21st at The Central, and the big birthday celebration on August 22nd at The Crocodile.

Nancy, you obviously have some musical talent. Were you the one who first exposed Layne to his musical abilities?

Everybody in our family has really nice voices (except for a couple of people) and we all just sang. There was always music. My parents had beautiful voices. Layne first heard the most beautiful voice in his environment when I was pregnant with him and I was taking voice lessons at Cornish School in Seattle. My voice teacher had been a voice coach in New York on Broadway for forty years. That was the first really big, full, male voice that he ever heard. I think I would credit that voice more than anybody else’s. I was in choir six years with very demanding choir directors. Thank God for them. David Sanarud was my junior high choir teacher and boy, I’m telling you, my choir teachers expected a lot. If your eyes left them, they stopped the whole practice and said, “From the beginning…” We got A++ for our regional competition. Then I took the year of voice at Cornish. I was chosen to be in the first musical to open The 5th Avenue Theater, but I was pregnant with Layne and it just wouldn’t have worked with me climbing on a ladder. So somebody else got the part and I got Layne.

What were your thoughts when you heard the first Alice in Chains album?

When Facelift came out, and he and I were talking on the phone about it (because, I had listened to the tape several times) I said, “Layne I think there’s a sleeper on this album.” He said, “Which one, Mom?” and I said, “Man In The Box.” And he goes, “Oh that’s our next single.” And I said, “Oh Layne, it’s so beautiful.” And he’s like, “I wrote that, Mom”. So I am very proud of him for that song. He wrote the lyrics, I’m sure, is all I thought he meant. But I don’t know that for sure. I don’t know how much he participated in making the music. So, you’d have to ask another band member about that.

I understand that Layne may have played drums before he started singing.

First he took trumpet, because, in fifth grade everybody got an instrument, and he used Uncle Bob’s trumpet. Our friend, Fred, had a set of drums and Layne was interested and he gave them to us. He loaned them. Then Layne bought a set of drums from the neighbor boy. So that’s how his interest in drums progressed, but I don’t remember him taking lessons.

So he had his own drum set, set up in the house?

Yeah. In the living room, the bedroom and the garage. It depended on where they got the best sound.

My take on Layne was that he was not a very judgmental person. I never heard about him ever getting in fights or even having an enemy. Does this sound accurate?

Pretty much. Yep. He was pretty mild-mannered about that even though he certainly had his opinions about people and things and events; but, he wasn’t a fighter. He didn’t make trouble. Nothing I knew about. I heard later funny stories about naughty things he did. And I went, “What!? I can’t believe that.” But you know, boys don’t tell their mothers all the naughty things they do. I knew of a few things that he did around the junior high age that make me angry. But I guess that’s to be expected.

In your opinion, do you think Layne would have married Demri Parrot?

Layne and Demri loved each other dearly. They wanted to be clean and sober.

Tell us something we don’t know about Layne.

I think people would be surprised that he was raised in the Christian Science Sunday School for twenty years. They asked if he believed in God? And I thought, oh, for heaven sake, listen to his music. Of course he did. And we’re all challenged to demonstrate our understanding, and I’m sure that he was very shocked to find that God isn’t going to dig you out of every tunnel that you put yourself in to. You’ve got to do that yourself. And I think that was where he was – that was probably in my world, if he is at all like me, he would’ve been very disappointed in himself for getting himself in something that he couldn’t dig himself out of. And we hear about miracles every day. I even struggled with why didn’t our prayers work? Well there’s, you known, there’s – the universe has a bigger novel to write. And we don’t know about the afterlife, and we do not know what he’s up to these days; but, I’m sure it’s full of humor and trying to make things better for himself and others. If indeed there is an afterlife, and I tend to think there is, he better be behaving, because when I get there I’m checking on him.


Tell us something about you that we don’t know.

You know, I spent fifty years taking care of children…and people think, well…? Well, that includes a lot! It’s a really important job. And I worked with five women friends and started the first parent co-op in a public school in the United States (Mountlake Terrace Elementary). We were on national news when we started it, and then again years later when the kids were now going into junior high. That all grew out of the Edmonds Community College Family Life Program, where we had preschool. We had kids in preschool as they were the little lab rats. And the parents were the students. And it’s a fabulous program. I would recommend to young families to get involved in your community college family life program. It’s amazing. And it just took off from there. There’s PTA and there’s Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and all the things that moms do. And camping, well we didn’t go camping but we went on vacations. And mom’s jobs are huge. They’re huge. And they’re multi-faceted and they’re full-time and, you know, you have extended family and church. And so in life I’ve done a lot that just fills me as a wife and mother, homeowner, pet owner, car repair gal.

Layne had some recording equipment at home. Would any of this music be worthy of release?

There is nothing. We’ve listened to everything and — Just because he had the equipment didn’t mean that he had the professional ability to pull it all together. I know that he practiced on it a lot. Just unfinished little ditties. And I don’t even know if he did them. It might have been a friend going “doodly-wop”. I don’t know. His music room was completely pristine and clean even though the rest of the house was an artist’s home. So I value the possibility, but no. Don’t you suppose that after 13 years if there was something valuable, it would’ve been heard by now?

Do you know who may have been the last person to see Layne?

According to the stories, it was Mike (Starr) and he went to the store for Layne. So that’s all I know.

It’s heart-breaking to think it was you, his mother, who was notified by Layne’s management that there had been no spending activity from him in two weeks. You (and Jim Elmer) then went to his home with the police, broke down the door and discovered him lifeless on April 19, 2002. Is there anything you can clear up? You brought him in this world, and you went to save him.

I didn’t know I was saving him when we were checking on him. And the phone call that I got said, “Now, don’t be overly concerned because it’s not unusual for Layne to take out a sum of money and then just use cash”. And when I got there, I had been there a couple of days before; because, Demri’s brother had died in February and I hadn’t known about it and I didn’t know if Layne knew about it, so I had been there a couple of days before to talk to him about it. There was no answer. I think that would’ve been a Wednesday, yeah. Then when I got the phone call to check on him on Friday, I wasn’t surprised that there wasn’t an answer. He had a little bit of mail by the door, but the kitty meowed, and she had never done that before and somehow that just alerted me. And when he didn’t answer after a while, I thought, well, I better have somebody come and check on him. So that’s when I made the 911 call. The police first went in and then they said – I said, well, I need to go in and be with him. And they said, “Oh I wouldn’t do that.” And I said, “I can do this.” I’ve always promised myself that if anything happened to my children I would be there for them. And I went in, and he was tiny and I thought at first that he had made like a life-sized mannequin of himself because he had lots and lots of art projects always. And I thought, you know, somebody could have thrown that little guy over their shoulder and walked down the street and nobody would have even know that it was a real person.

So, and I sat with him for a few minutes. And I told him that I was really sorry how things had turned out. Because, of course we tried to not pressure him. We always felt like pressure would just push him to the wrong place, and he knew what he had to do. He had to go in treatment, stay in treatment, communicate with his sponsor, stay with healthy people – but the music industry doesn’t afford you the time to do that. And those aren’t healthy people – a lot of them are not. It was pretty tough to get cleaned up. By then he had pretty much secluded, been secluded. So it was shocking to see my child like that. It should have turned out better. And it’s been amazing how many people have expressed their love and support. And they say, “Gee, I hope Layne knew how loved he was.” And I think, Wow, how could he not have known?” I’m sure he did. And then there was the crying and the storytelling and the making the plans. You know I think people who are sweet-hearted deserve to know the truth, and you know, “Warning, warning. Don’t kid yourself. The best of the best succumb to drug addiction.  Stay away.”


Why do we lose certain people?

Once Layne and I were on the phone and he was saying, “You know why, Mom? Why did this happen to me?” And I said, “Honey, that’s a witch hunt. Just go to treatment. And move on with your life. We have no idea. We have no idea of the why.” Believe. Don’t take yourself out to teach somebody a lesson. He didn’t. And I mean, everybody’s circumstances are different. I understand that. Don’t judge somebody else. Don’t think you know things you don’t know for sure. You were not there. But the whole why thing is part of a distraction that the world wants you to get distracted away from your purpose. Let it go. You don’t want to blame – what if you figured out the reason and it was someone’s fault? Are you going to go through life judging and blaming? No. Just drop the why and move on.

There is a small bar next to Layne’s last home called the “Blue Moon”. Did he go there?

Yeah, to just hang out and be around people. To come on down and see a band play.  I think he knew that he was kind of safe there because they knew not to make a fuss over him. Just let him be.

What are your future plans with Layne’s music?

Please clear this up. It won’t be up to me anyway and won’t be new music. It would be anything that he has the copyright to, and it will be up to professionals. I’m not at all capable of making those decisions. The (same) way the people ask about the artwork.

You often get asked about your lawsuit against Alice In Chains. Can you set the record straight here for all those who ask about the outcome?

It really isn’t anyone else’s business, is it?

Do you have any plans to officially release any artwork or photos by Layne?

Well, I think that it will be up to someone who promotes and that’s probably part of the future. You know, I once asked someone about poetry because we’ve received so many poems. And he has some lyrics that are just – they’re poems, they’re not lyrics. And I thought, well somebody would love that in a poetry book. And I talked with someone who publishes and he goes, “No, we don’t do poetry books.” They just don’t sell very well.” So it has to be a self-published thing or…I don’t know. Until I knew what the parameters were of what my rights are, I really couldn’t make a plan around future projects. He does have some interesting art. And of course he didn’t release it, so did he want it to be released? Those are decisions that are hard to make. I wasn’t a part of his business, and when he came home, it was brownies or chocolate chip cookies and meatloaf and the longest nap he needed and a hot long shower and no interruptions and just visit about other things, be around family and the pets and be home. And so, it wasn’t a lot of talk about business.

The 14th Annual Layne Staley Tribute is coming up in August with three locations of memorials and celebrations. I assume you will be at all three events, but will fans have easier access to meet you at the first gathering – the Fountain?

Absolutely at the Fountain.  Because it’s quiet there. At the other events, fans come up and they want to tell me stuff and it’s like, “Hey, I want to hear the bands that we’ve asked to come and play.” I want to hear their music and their renditions, and by the end of the night if I have to talk to people I have such a sore throat. And so if you want to come and visit, come to the Fountain and then we can really visit. And there is always a little acoustic time where we hang out underneath the covering by the Fountain and people bring their guitars, and they bring their cell phones so they can read the words to the music and it’s a sing-along and it’s really sweet. Prior to that, people visit. So that starts around 7pm at the Seattle Center International Fountain.

You have been known to get up on stage and sing the Mad Season song, “Wake Up.” What are your personal reasons for this choice of a song?

I can’t sing most of Layne’s songs. They’re too hard. But I do love them, and I don’t know the words, you know, I’m Layne’s mom. But, I’m talking to the audience. He was. This is the song that mom would sing to this young crowd of people who think that drugs are recreational. They are not! Wake up. He was singing it to them. And I would sing it. It’s you know, I’m not a showman; so there is some music in there where I just sort of hang out on stage and wonder what should I do with my microphone.

But it’s a beautiful song and it means a lot, and you know, it says ‘10 long years of leaves to rake up.’ There’s a Bible verse that said that ‘the leaves were for the healing of the nations’. Our purpose is to be healers and be helpful and be kind and live quietly in your heart and love other people and don’t blame them and don’t judge them. People ask sometimes about, “Oh, did you forgive whatever so-and-so for whatever?” And I go, “You know, to forgive means I had to have judged”. I’m not a judge. And everybody has to square things up with the universe themselves.

So, I kind of love that song for a lot of different reasons besides the fact that it’s easy to learn and I can sing it. But since then I’ve actually learned more of the songs just because of repetition and the environment. You know, I hear bands playing and if I go to a show and they’re on the radio and once in a while I put the music in myself; but, it’s very painful most of the time. And I don’t watch the videos because people say, “Oh, but you have all those videos”. You can watch them. It’s like, do you know what it’s like to see him there and not have him in my world just for everyday stuff?

And besides, that guy onstage was only part of Layne, and he was so many other parts. And he meant so many other things to other people for other reasons.

What else can we expect at a Layne Tribute?

At The Crocodile, two years ago, it was such a spiritual experience. I cannot describe it well enough, but I can tell you that when everyone sang along, it sounded like a choir, like a church. And at the end of the night I jokingly, but not really, I said, “You know it felt like going to church with Pastor Layne presiding”. It was amazing. And people who had been to many, many concerts said they had never had that experience before. So bless his little heart, if that’s what he does. He brings people together to love one another and have a happy memory, and make happy memories. We do little things different every year; but one year, I just said, “You know if you’ve lost a friend to addiction, call their name out. And that was a really sweet few minutes where people just called out their dear friend’s name and everybody was flicking their BIC’s. I don’t know if you can do that anymore because Washington is in a drought. If you want to bring a glow stick, oh, Layne loved glow sticks. Everybody bring your glow sticks. That would be so cool. I also have a friend who wrote a beautiful song for Layne and it’s my understanding is that it will be played at the Crocodile. And I’ve heard it and it’s gorgeous.


Do you have a message you wish to give to fans of Layne’s?

What would Layne say? He said it in his lyrics. He warned you. He described what he was up against. He said stay away. Don’t follow. And in the end, he said we’re alone. And I say we’re all alone together. Each of us has our own experience and past; but, we are walking alongside one another. And ask for help, for heaven’s sake. And for heaven’s sake go to 12-Step if you need help. 12-Step for anything. I don’t care what your obsession is. If your obsession is green and you can’t stand it anymore, go to a 12-Step program. It doesn’t matter what your obsession is. The 12-Step program is the same. If you do too much for others, if you don’t do enough for others, if you smoke, if you gamble, if there’s a sex addiction, if there’s a drug addiction or alcohol, or you can’t talk to people because you sweat, I don’t care what it is, the 12-Step problem solving process is for everyone and for everything. We all have parts of ourselves that are not socially acceptable, that scare us in ourselves, that might not be acceptable in our families, or things that are hidden; because, we don’t want to talk about them or relive them or whatever. But I think that’s the nerve that Layne hits for some people in his music, (but) not everybody. I’ve heard people who said, “Oh, I get so much joy out of his music”. I thought, ‘Do you listen to the words? Because they’re not nice stories.” We know what was going on in some of that and it was very painful. And it’s a part of ourselves that need release and relief. Not that we had to go crazy and wild about, you know stuff, but stuff has to have some kind of outlet. You know maybe you just – maybe you cook or maybe you bang on the drums or maybe you run or ride your bike, whatever it is – stuff has to have an outlet.

Is it true that eventually you answer all fan emails sent to you?

I do. Thirty-one thousand so far and counting. I have one thousand waiting for me at home, but only about three-hundred haven’t heard from me. And I’m still trying to catch up with them. So have patience, and don’t change your e-mail address. Plus a few thousand letters (to answer) because not everybody you know has computers or they want to write. It’s really sweet.

You went to Layne’s twenty-year high school reunion. How was that?

I asked people, “Is Calvin here? Is Calvin here?” (Because he had a friend Calvin that I had never met; but, he used to talk about him). Well several people said, “Layne Staley was Layne Elmer!?” (Because he went to school with his stepdad’s last name). “He was the quietest boy in our class!” So I’m going out, Calvin is coming in, and someone said “There’s Calvin.” And I went up and I said, “I’m Layne’s mom. And I know that you were Layne’s friend.” And we started to talk, it’s kind of a narrow hallway and his back was leaning against one way and I’m facing with my back against another as people are going through, and he said, “That kid could not run a drill press.” And I said, “Well you know people are telling me that he was the quietest kid in class.” And I said, “But once he got out on that stage, he used it for other things.” And Calvin said very seriously and sweetly to me, he said, “Nancy, Layne did it for us all.”

I was surprised to hear that you still go to concerts. (Referring to House of Blues, Fri., July 19, 2015)

The band was Michael Grande’s band, Memory Layne.  They played “Queen of the Rodeo” at the House of Blues on Friday night. That‘s a funny song.  And it’s on (Alice In Chains’) live album, which is my favorite album; because, it’s so causal. The audience is right there and the guys are wearing their cowboy hats, and then they do “Queen of the Rodeo” in Texas. I just think that’s funny. I also attended the Mad Season concert at Benaroya Hall recently, in Seattle. What a night!

Washington State has now decriminalized recreational marijuana. What are your thoughts on this?

Any state that decides to legalize marijuana is asking for what they get.

It’s interesting that donations for the Layne Staley Memorial Fund go to the Therapeutic Health Services – the very same company you were working for when Layne passed.

When I worked at THS, it was a brand-new job. I had been there three weeks (with) my girlfriend (it was her first job out of high school). And THS had been in existence for over forty-some years now. They have seven locations. They do alcohol and drug addiction including heroin. They also have family programs for moms who are pregnant and are using, and for the addicts, their support system. All of the counseling includes a support system for those people who want to help. Most of their locations have heroin treatment. They do co-presenting, which means that if you have a drug addiction and something else going on, a mental health issue, or physical, they coordinate the service. So that is the whole approach. Oh, I feel so lucky. I got to know many people at THS in my short, well, I was there two years altogether. And I got to know the administrators and the Executive Director, and these are some of the finest people you could ever work with and they love everyone who comes there. They will do whatever they can to accommodate any kind of financial need, because people think, “Oh, I don’t have any money for treatment.” Well, if you don’t have personal money and you don’t have insurance and your company doesn’t have insurance for you now, there is Medicare, Medicaid and ACA, which is the Affordable Care Act. And there’s funding from the cities, counties, state and feds through grants that the facility applies for and uses on behalf of people who cannot pay for their own treatment in one way or another. So there’s – I mean there’s ten different ways that the treatments center will try to make treatment possible. And yes, it’s a revolving door proposal once in a while, and yeah, you might have to go back a few times. But stay as long you need and get the help that you need. And don’t give up on yourself because everybody has a clean and sober core.

But I am not involved at all in the (Layne Staley Memorial Fund) finances anymore. The only thing that I get involved in is if there’s a copyright issue. At the end of the Hungarian tribute, the Italian tribute, the Swiss tribute, the Bulgarian tribute, Seattle’s tribute and anyone else’s, it’s up to the coordinators to pay their expenses and then any money left over, goes to THS. And then if I find money on the street, it goes in an envelope. At the end of the year they get that along with any checks that people have sent to me, because sometimes a letter will include a donation check. But it should be made out to THS (Therapeutic Health Services). And I think people need to know about the website, because it really is a gift of love. One woman said, “I went to the website.” And she said “I thought it was really kind of weird”, and then she said “I realized how much you love us”. Layne-Staley.com. Please spell his name correctly, because he just hated it when people spelled his name wrong.

What made the Seattle scene so special?

Because you were all brothers. That’s what made this Seattle scene so unique. They weren’t competing. They weren’t undercutting one another. They cared about one another and they shared musicians and instruments and practice space, and it was a brotherhood. It was like Robin Hood’s band of Merry Men.

How were Layne & Mike Starr together?

They were funny together. They were a comedy team – the two of them. But you should talk to Gayle Starr about that.  Because she had more experience with them sitting at the piano bench and you know, being silly.


People sometimes name their children after Layne.

We have Layne, Delayne, Elayna, Dalayna, Alice in Chains – that’s the cat. All these parents send me pictures of their babies that they’ve named for Layne. It’s really sweet. And they’re the cutest little kids. And sometimes they send me Christmas cards later. And they’re growing up. Now they’re four and then they’re ten, and it’s just precious. One little boy’s name is Layne Staley and then his family’s last name. It’s humbling. It’s very sweet.

Originally, your last name was Layne?

Yeah. It’s my maiden name. And my dad had three daughters. So when we had Layne, I thought that that’s kind of a cool first name and it carried the name another generation, Then Layne chose his middle name, Thomas, when he got a little bit older.

To donate to the Layne Staley Memorial Fund, please visit:
Therapeutic Health Services

Donations also accepted by mail:
Therapeutic Health Services
1116 Summit Ave.
Seattle, WA. 98101

Upcoming Events:
The 14th Annual Layne Staley Tribute

Thursday, 8/20/15, Fan Gathering at The Fountain
Seattle Center International Fountain, Seattle, WA 98109
7:00 pm

Friday, 8/21/15, Layne Staley Tribute (Acoustic Night)
Jar Of Flies, Outshined, Poottana Play for Money
The Central, 207 1st Ave South, Seattle, WA  98104
(206) 622-0209
9:30 pm

Saturday, 8/22/15, Layne Staley Tribute
(Celebrating the lives and legacies of Layne Staley, Mike Starr, Kurt Cobain, Andrew Wood, and more.)
Jar Of Flies, Outshined, Poottana Play For Money
The Crocodile, 2200 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA  98121
(206) 441-4618
9:00 pm
$15 Advance
$20 Day Of Show
Tickets available at www.thecrocodile.com


Courtney Love Suspected Kurt Cobain Didn’t Commit Suicide, Sought Out Layne Staley

In David de Sola’s new book Alice In Chains: The Untold Story, Layne Staley’s stepfather Jim Elmer reveals that Courtney Love suspected that Kurt Cobain may not have committed suicide, and sought out Layne Staley a few weeks after Cobain’s 1994 death to find out what may have happened in the final few days of his life due to a mutual drug connection. Love ended up calling Elmer when trying to track down Staley. Love intimated to him that she ‘was not happy with the outcome that it was a suicide. She thought there was more to it than that.’

Layne Staley’s friend Morgen Gallagher discussed living with the legendary Alice In Chains frontman during a recent interview with Alternative Nation.

“I met Layne in the summer of 1986 at a house party in Issaquah, and we hit it off immediately. I think it was around august that I ended up moving in with him and Mike Mitchelll, the then the bass player for Layne’s band Sleze. Layne had the closet, Mike had the dining room, and I had the couch/living room. It was a falling apart house in the University District of Seattle on 7th, which they had divided it into student apartments. Me and Layne would get drunk and race big wheels on the I5 express way off ramp back to our house.

I lived there with Layne about 3 or 4 months I think. They were getting ready to shoot a movie “Father Rock,” it was being done by a local director Thadius Bird (I think). Layne and Mike were getting on each others nerves more and more, so Layne asked me to join the band and take Mike’s place in the movie. So we moved out of Mike’s place and into Maryanne Confiff’s even smaller studio apartment for about 6 months, then finally into the Music Bank for about 2 or 3 months. I was then fired and Johnny Bacolas took my space.”

Alice In Chains’ Layne Staley Considered Fronting Audioslave

While late Alice In Chains frontman Layne Staley was largely reclusive during his later years, the legendary singer considered fronting the band that later became known as Audioslave in January 2001. Zack de la Rocha had quit Rage Against The Machine just a few months prior, and his bandmates were looking for a new singer. Alternative Nation reporter, and early Staley collaborator, Tim Branom has connected us with Layne’s friend Morgen Gallagher, who told Alternative Nation this exclusive story.

Gallagher had been friends with Staley since 1986, even living with him and Sleze bassist Mike Mitchell for a period in the 80’s. By early 2001, it had been a couple of years since he had seen his old friend, so he was very surprised when he ran into him at a party.

“I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years and wasn’t prepared for it. By this point he had quit [Alice In Chains], he had lost most of his teeth, and weighed barley 100 pounds. We talked for a little and when we parted ways, I cried.”

This wasn’t the last time Gallagher saw Staley. On January 28, 2001, he saw Layne again at a Super Bowl party. “So two weeks later [our mutual friend] was having a Super Bowl party. When I got there, Layne answered the door and he was back to the old Layne. He had just gotten pretty much the entire Nerf arsenal, so we went to war. We were running around like two little kids! Needless to say, we missed the game and kept pretty much everyone else from watching it as well.”

“That day we were talking and he said he had gotten a call from the old Rage Against The Machine members and they were putting together a new project, and they wanted him to audition. He said he was going back to treatment and then going to LA to do the audition in a couple of months. He never made it, so Chris Cornell went and got the job.”

Staley also appeared to have moved on from Alice In Chains, according to Gallagher when Alternative Nation asked if Staley opened up at all about his status with the band, “Not really, he was pretty evasive about it, but it seemed like he was pretty much done with the band at that point. He hadn’t played with them for a while, and he was talking about auditioning for new projects.”

Staley was scheduled to record vocals for the band Taproot in 2002, but died before he could attend a recording session with producer Toby Wright, according to Mark Yarm’s Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge. Gallagher also told author David de Sola a shorter version of this Audioslave story, which is briefly mentioned in the upcoming Alice In Chains: The Untold Story book.

Alternative Nation will have up another article featuring insight from Gallagher on Layne Staley from when they lived together next week!