It’s been a bumpy road for metal band Alice in Chains who disappeared from the music scene for 14 years before their comeback album Black Gives Way to Blue catapulted them back into the headlines, scoring them a top 10 hit in the US and bagging multiple Grammy nominations.
The band had been on indefinite hiatus after original singer Layne Staley became a recluse after the death of his ex-fiance. Staley turned to drugs to ease the pain and they eventually took his life in 2002. Original bassist Mike Starr, who was also going through a long battle with drug addiction, died in 2011 although he was not directly involved with the band at the time.
Now the band is working on the follow-up to Black Gives Way to Blue with guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell tells Rolling Stone, “We started writing last year, I had shoulder surgery. I had to get some bone spurs and torn cartilage taken care of, so that put me back a little bit,” he says. “But we’ve been writing through the whole process.”
Alice In Chain’s comeback record featured a number of high-profile musical guests such as Elton John, and although the band had a positive experience working with the famous songwriter they’ve decided to stick to basics this record according to Cantrell. “That’s just the universe lining up right. I had nothing to do with that other than asking,” he said.
“What he is, beyond anything else, is a fucking amazing musician. And he’s the guy who inspired me to start playing music, so to have him play on one of our records – especially such a meaningful record, where we’re restarting our musical careers and saying goodbye and honoring our buddy – it’s a tremendous thing.”
No release date has been set for the record yet.