We here at The Pit fancy ourselves to be pretty knowledgeable fans of both Alice In Chains AND Slayer. Both bands are god-tier in our eyes. So, we’re a bit ashamed to say that we’ve lived the last 30 or so years of life without having any clue that Tom fucking Araya was on Dirt.
If you think we’re talking crazy talk, we wouldn’t blame you. Tom Araya contributes guest vocals on the 10th track of the album, which, has actually appeared under different song titles throughout the years and various pressings. Sometimes it appears as ‘unlisted’, sometimes as ‘Intro (Dream Sequence)’, sometimes as ‘Untitled,’ But, it most commonly appears as track name ‘Iron Gland’.
In the book Grunge Is Dead, Jerry Cantrell elaborated on the making of the album and Tom’s involvement:
“Dirt was a heavy record… We came down to L.A., and things had gotten darker around the band. As they will — if you’re f**king around with the wrong shit. And we were. We rented a ranch house out in Malibu, and we rehearsed in it. We were coming up with all this stuff that was just aggro.
Super powerful, very heavy lyrical content. It was a serious step up from Facelift — I equate it, as far as artistically, [to] what … Nirvana [did] from [Bleach] to Nevermind.” He went on:
“We came down to LA, started tracking the record, and that Rodney King verdict came down… the f**king town went up in flames. We were staying at the Oakwoods in Venice — so we had to come from Studio City to Venice while the whole city’s in a riot.
We called up Tom Araya from Slayer, and we went out to the desert and hung out there for a while, ’til the shit cooled down. We had to postpone until the riots f**king chilled out. That’s a moment I’ll never forget — tied to that record.”
The very “Iron Man”-esque track is, according to legend, the product of a riff that Cantrell wrote that the rest of the band abhorred. Apparently, they let him include it on Dirt if he promised to never play it again. Sounds like a fair deal.
If it makes you feel any better (sort of makes us feel better), the track IS pretty damn short, clocking in at around just 40 seconds. Definitely more interlude than song. But, listening now and waiting for it, Tom’s trademark howl is pretty damn clear. Sure enough, Araya is indeed credited in the album liner notes, too. Appearing courtesy of one legendary American Records.
Here’s Tom Araya singing on Alice In Chain’s Dirt:
Wait, What? Tom Araya ‘didn’t know metal existed’ before joining Slayer
Want Some Goosebumps? Listen to this Stunning Alice In Chains Cover