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Alice in Chains: The Untold Story MP3 CD – MP3 Audio, 9 August 2016
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Alice in Chains was the first of grunge's big four - ahead of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden - to get a gold record and achieve national recognition. With the charismatic Layne Staley behind the microphone, they became one of the most influential and successful bands to come out of the Seattle music scene. But as the band got bigger, so did its problems. Acclaimed journalist David de Sola follows the members from their inauspicious beginnings at a warehouse under the Ballard Bridge through the history of the band, charting:
The local hair metal scene in Seattle during the 1980s.
How drugs nearly destroyed the band and claimed the lives of Staley and founding bassist Mike Starr.
Jerry Cantrell's solo career and Mike Starr's life after being fired from the band.
The band's resurrection with William DuVall, the Atlanta singer/guitarist who stepped into Layne Staley's shoes.
Based on a wealth of interviews with people with direct knowledge of the band and its history, many of whom are speaking on the record for the first time, Alice in Chains will stand as the definitive Alice in Chains biography for years to come.
- Publisher : Audible Studios on Brilliance; Unabridged edition (9 August 2016)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1522699538
- ISBN-13 : 978-1522699538
- Dimensions : 16.51 x 1.59 x 13.97 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 707,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Like most biographies, ‘Alice in Chains: The Untold Story’ is a little chaotic, with jumps in the timeline which fans of the band will occasionally question. I find that a common trait in biographies when so many ‘characters’ are involved. And that’s the other problem: there are a lot of ‘characters’ in this book, and I would have liked to be able to refer to an Appendix at the end to remind myself of who was who. Unfortunately, no such ‘cast list’ is included.
The remaining members of the original Alice in Chains line up are notoriously private, and as a result, they declined to be involved with De Sola’s research. Similarly, Layne Staley’s mother did not respond to the author’s interview requests. Therefore, the book relies on the account of ‘secondary’ sources - friends, staff members and assorted hangers-on. But all considering, De Sola does a very good job of stitching together a coherent account of the events from the sources available, and the ‘story’ flows as well as it can do, albeit with a heavy Layne bias. Modern day Alice in Chains are barely touched on, but I have to admit that I have little interest in their current incarnation. As Susan Silver is quoted to say at one point in the book, ‘Layne *is* Alice in Chains’.
Maybe one day Cantrell, Kinney and Inez will ‘talk’ and allow their version of the events to surface in a new biography; but for the time being, David De Sola’s book is all we have. It’s certainly a great read which all fans of the bands will no doubt devour.
That said there is some things to point out. The book does not include first hand interviews with the bandmembers Jerry Cantrell, Sean Kinney and Mike Inez. Though several other people and family members have been interviewed and that these accounts altogether makes for a decent historical overview, you are left feeling a little alianated from the direct sources.
Secondly, the book puts a lot of attention on the late Layne Staley, which kind of scews the picture of the band, which were four even parts in a band of brothers.
I also need to warn fragile souls: The accounts of Layne Staleys later life are by all means not pleasant reading. It is truly horrifying to read how Layne Staley got caught in a long downwords spiral caused by drug abuse and it is as sad at it is scary.
That said, it is a good book that also highlights the beauty of the people involved and the extreme power of their music, which is what stands back and what should be remembered.