The One Alice in Chains Song on ‘Dirt’ That No Band Member Liked

Alice in Chains by Jill Greenberg
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Not every song that you create is necessarily meant to be the next single. Album filler tends to exist for a reason, and even if you think that a song has potential, there are a good chunk of your songs that end up either on the cutting room floor or discarded entirely.

If you ask the members of Alice in Chains though, the song “Iron Gland” probably should have never seen the light of day. 

In the context of Dirt, the song is a much more frightening song than anything on the record, just being a minute or so of different screaming and Jerry Cantrell messing around on a guitar, which somehow ended up on the final take.

This may have just been goofing off in the studio but the rest of the band hated it. In the album notes for their box set Music Bank, the origin of the song was actually written around a riff that Jerry would play during rehearsals, which drove the rest of the band crazy whenever they tried to practice.

After a few too many times, Jerry ultimately decided to give it a rest on one condition: if they put the song on the record, he would promise never to play the thing again. Then again, they did end up having more than they bargained for on this track as well, with Tom Araya from Slayer contributing vocals to the track and the band having fun in the studio by adding different ad libs on the track like “RED RUM!” 

The shelf life of the song hasn’t dulled either, being used as the band’s entrance music more than a few times whenever they played live and now being used (albeit, maybe as a gag) on some of the band’s box sets.

Since it’s now a part of Alice’s history, it’s probably safe to say that “Iron Gland” is the best worst song that the band ever recorded.

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