The well-documented friendship between the late, great Layne Staley and Tool’s Maynard James Keenan is one of our favorite bromances of the 90’s.
Big egos and competition generally tend to creep into the fold once you get to a certain level in hard rock and metal, so it’s always a cool thing to see two incredible singers and frontmen that respected each other’s craft like Layne and Maynard did.
Apparently, the two became kindred spirits while touring together on Lollapalooza in 1993 after a pretty hilarious night out drinking together. As recalled 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.”
After their night out of bonding, the two would go on to collaborate a bunch of times in a live setting.
While there isn’t much video evidence given the technological constraints and lack of social media at the time, there is one collab that was captured at the Big Melee Music Festival at Kuualoa Ranch in Hawaii in the summer of ’93 where Layne joined Tool to help sing “Opiate.”
Fast forward many years later- the year is 2005, and Alice in Chains (who have since lost Layne Staley to a drug overdose in 2002), haven’t played together in many years.
The band came back together as part of a fundraiser for victims of a recent devastating tsunami. While they were joined by many musical peers for their surprise set, it was Maynard’s appearance that clearly stole the show. While video footage of the evening doesn’t appear to exist, there is decent audio below that captures the magic. It goes without saying, but a properly recorded Maynard and Alice In Chains collab would be mind-blowing.