Entertainment behind the scenes
Alice in Chains previews new album in Los Angeles
“It’s been a long road to get here, man. There’s a lot of miles to go.” Thus spake Alice in Chains singer/guitarist Jerry Cantrell as his resurrected, new-look band previewed its first studio album in 14 years at a listening party in Hollywood on Tuesday.
Cantrell (second from left), accompanied by new singer/guitarist William DuVall (right), bass player Mike Inez (left) and drummer Sean Kinney, performed a three-song acoustic set at the Montalban Theatre, including the title track from the new album, “Black Gives Way To Blue,” due in stores on Sept. 29.
Cantrell described the song as a “deep” tribute to DuVall’s predecessor, Layne Staley, who lost his lengthy battle with drugs in 2002. It includes a glockenspiel turn by Kinney. The band also played another new song, “Your Decision,” and “Down in a Hole,” from its 1992 breakthrough “Dirt.”
Beforehand, guests heard the entire album on the PA system after checking in their cell phones at the door to prevent piracy. The heavy guitars, submerged vocals and thunderous rhythm section quickly assured fans that the band has lost none of its menace. The new video, “A Looking in View,” also played in a loop. It boasts full-frontal female nudity. Among those in the audience were former Guns N’ Roses bass player Duff McKagan,
During the 1990s when Seattle was at the epicenter of the “grunge rock” phase, Alice in Chains spearheaded the gloomy genre with a string of dark, druggy albums. Four of them hit the top 10 of the Billboard 200, including the chart-toppers “Jar of Flies” (1994) and its self-titled studio swan song the following year.
But Staley’s chronic heroin problems hampered the band’s progress, and it ended the decade on an enforced hiatus. After Staley’s death, the survivors eventually regrouped and recruited punk-rock veteran DuVall. A 2006 tour engendered a surprisingly strong reception, and the emboldened band started recording its new album in Los Angeles last October with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, Foo Fighters).
“Black Gives Way To Blue” marks the band’s first release for Virgin/EMI; all its previous albums were handled by Columbia Records. Virgin will also host a listening party in New York next Tuesday.