The Sad Story Of Layne Staley’s Last Alice in Chains Studio Session

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Layne Staley via Columbia Records
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After Alice in Chains’ final performance for Unplugged in the mid ‘90s, there was no real hope of getting them back on track any time soon. Layne Staley was sinking further and further into heroin addiction, and the band were never able to commit to any long standing tour again, going on hiatus until Layne was found dead in his apartment in 2002.

They did have time to get together for a few projects though, but what the band members saw during their Greatest Hits sessions will probably haunt them for the rest of their days. 

Having not played together in ages, the box set of their material Music Bank was due for release, with the band contributing two new songs with “Died” and “Get Born Again.” Even though these songs still sound like classic Alice in Chains, Layne’s physical state at this stage was horrible, looking like he was withering away and barely being able to speak coherently when tracking some of the songs. 

When everyone turned up at the studio, engineer Elan Trujillo said that Layne “definitely didn’t look like how he used to look. He had obviously been really affected by his substance abuse at that point, because he had atrophy in his legs. He looked like an old man. He had no teeth. It was really sad.” 

At the same time, Layne was still in good spirits when he got to the studio to cut the tracks, until producer Dave Jerden actually had to get the takes, sayingLayne turned into this little kid that had been reprimanded by his parents.

It probably didn’t sound like anything, but it was one of the strangest things I ever saw, how Jerry {Cantrell} just wasn’t putting up with his bullsh*t anymore… and Layne had turned into this nothing.” 

By the time the band had finally finished the tracks, both Jerry and Layne were not on good terms, working independently from each other in the studio until the tracks were finished. Both tracks turned out just like the classic Alice should, but sadly, it would be the last time that most of us would hear Layne Staley alive. 

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