Watch: When Layne Staley Sang ‘Opiate’ With Tool in 1993

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Maybe our age makes us a bit biased, but growing up in the early 90’s felt like an absolute golden era for music.

The worlds of metal and grunge were firing on all cylinders, and the glass ceiling shattering that bands like Pantera, Metallica and Nirvana were all achieving in their own right was shining a spotlight on what truly felt like a musical revolution at the time.

If you liked hard rock or metal, there was a swath of exciting new bands to uncover seemingly almost every single day.

While metal and grunge didn’t seem to often be associated with each other on the surface based on how the media was portraying the scenes (Metallica- scary! Nirvana- angsty!), many of these bands were all friends.

Alice In Chains would often party with Pantera and Metallica, and every metal band in the world respected Soundgarden even as they transitioned from underground metal titans into radio rock gods throughout the 90’s.

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The history books don’t often draw a dotted line between Tool and Alice In Chains, but Layne Staley and the gang were in fact friends.

The story goes that the bands hit it off while touring together on Lollapalooza that year. Layne and Maynard James Keenan in particular formed an especially tight bond after a night of drinking together that got pretty hilarious and weird. As told by a friend of Layne:

“As the night turned into morning and more and more drinks were ingested, Layne and Maynard decided that talking was interfering with their drinking, so they decided to quit. Talking, not drinking.

For what seemed like an hour, they used me to pass notes back and forth to each other on cocktail napkins. I can’t remember what all was written, but the notes were strange and hilarious, and that night will always stick with me.”

As the friendship between the two solidified, Layne would start joining Tool live throughout the Lollapalooza dates.

While this pre-internet age means that most of these collabs are lost to the imaginations of time, one video thankfully does exist from the Big Melee Music Festival at Kuualoa Ranch in Hawaii, which took place in the summer of 1993 after Lollapalooza had wrapped.

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For some additional context, Tool wasn’t yet a household name, having only just released their first EP ‘Undertow’ a few months prior, but Alice In Chains was certainly thriving off the success of ‘Dirt’ at this point. Watch Layne’s stunning vocal contribution to Opiate below: