Backstage with Baldy
Winnipeg – July 8th
I made the mistake today of reading some comments on the band’s facebook page.
Usually I try and keep things light when I write these blogs, but I figured since I have this forum, I might as well take the opportunity to air a few comments of my own.
So let’s go back a few years…
You may think you know the story, but you don’t.
When things were going off the rails back in the mid to late 90’s, this band circled the wagons, kept their mouths shut, and tried to help each other.
Believe me, they tried.
When that didn’t work, they gave each other space and hoped things would work out.
And obviously things didn’t work out.
And that’s a pain we all have to live with every day.
It’s impossible to articulate just how overwhelming that period of time was, and how helpless we all felt.
But I’ll never forget the tremendous amount of respect I had for the guys in regards to how they handled things.
It’s a pretty safe bet to say that most everything that happened behind the scenes back then will remain in the shadows, but the brotherhood, friendship, and love that we all had for each other, although tested, never wavered.
That attitude and philosophy still continues today, but it’s a whole lot harder to keep the wagons circled and keep our mouths shut when there’s so much false information, misinformed opinions, and flat out lies swirling around this band out in cyberspace.
I’ve heard and read of people speculating as to whether the band members log onto the Alice In Chains facebook site, or the message boards of aliceinchains.com, or sites like Blabbermouth or youtube.
Why would they?
If I’m ever looking for a quick way to drain every last ounce of good mood out of my system, all I need to do is read the comment section of any Alice In Chains-related youtube video.
And it’s no better on their own facebook page.
This band could rescue a puppy from a house fire while writing a song that cured cancer and there would still be people online screaming “NO LAYNE, NO CHAINS!”
I get it; there’s a very vocal faction of people out there who believe that this band shouldn’t be continuing on using the name Alice In Chains.
And you know what? That’s a valid opinion.
But you know what else? It’s been seven years. It’s happening. It’s done. It is what it is, and it’s not going to change.
If you don’t like it, that’s fine. You don’t have to. Plenty of people don’t.
So don’t buy the albums, don’t come to the shows, and don’t log on to the web sites.
Listen to Dirt & Facelfit & Unplugged, and have a great life.
If Layne’s voice and lyrics and incredible talent meant that much to you; that’s great.
I completely get it, because I feel the same way.
He meant the world to me, as a friend and as an artist. And I miss him every day.
But if you loved him so much that you feel it’s an affront to you personally that the band moved forward without him?
Do you think you loved him more than those of us who actually knew him, lived with him, worked with him, and shared our lives with him?
Do you really think he’s spinning in his grave over the fact that this band is still around?
You think you know how he’d feel about what’s happening today?
You may think you know, but you don’t.
This band, and the inner circle that I’m so fortunate and privileged to be a part of, has always been about more than just the music. It may sound like a silly cliché to call it a family, but it is to us, and after all of the good and bad we’ve been through together, the bond we have is unbreakable.
When I walked into the rehearsal room back in the winter of 2006 and witnessed Sean, Mike & Jerry jamming again, it was a feeling I’ll never forget.
It was incredibly sad, but it was incredibly cathartic and healing as well.
And William came in, armed with his amazing talent, carved out his space, and the thing started to take on a new life of its own.
And you know what the comment sections said then? Money grab.
Again, you may think you know the story, but you don’t.
The chemistry these guys have, as brothers and as musicians, is remarkable.
It’s incredibly special, and it was something I missed for years.
And no, it’s not the same now. It can’t be. But it’s still pretty damn amazing.
So here we are today, with the second album by this AIC incarnation released, and once again a depressing amount of vile, cruel, ignorant, and sometimes racist comments swirl around the internet.
It’s exhausting to read that shit, and I know it won’t change anything, but I just felt like maybe it was time to address it.
I’ve been onboard for this entire ride. I know and love each member of this band.
And I knew and loved Mike Starr & Layne Staley, and I miss those guys so much that it hurts.
But I know why this band moves forward.
I know their intentions, and I know their reasons, and I know why this band is still here.
I know their story, because I’ve lived it with them.
All of you people out there writing awful comments and spewing out falsehoods may think you know the story, but you don’t. Believe me, you don’t.
I hope someday the story gets told.
But until then Mike, William, Sean, & Jerry will just keep adding chapters to it, whether you like it or not.