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Why Alice In Chains Didn’t Change Their Name

Replacing a band member after their death is an exceptionally difficult decision for all kinds of reasons. Led Zeppelin chose to disband when drummer John Bonham died, while AC/DC quickly recruited Brian Johnson after Bon Scott’s passing. Inevitably, the guys in Alice in Chains get the same question, since they’ve been touring again since Layne Staley’s death in 2002, and have just released their first studio album in 14 years, ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’ with new singer William DuVall.

When it was clear DuVall worked so well with the remaining Alice In Chains members — guitarist/co-vocalist Jerry Cantrell, drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Inez — there were reports that they considered not using the name, but Cantrell tells Noisecreep, “All those comments are probably from the very early part of this process, when it was only intended to go out and play the music and call it a day.

“As you know in your life, things change. And if we’re going to go out and play Alice In Chain music, and the three of us are going to be in the band together and we called it something else, they would just say, ‘Oh yeah, it’s the Alice in Chains guys playing Alice in Chains songs,’” he laughs.

‘As far as I remember, there’s only been six people in this band [including former bassist Mike Starr], so we have every right to call it this, and it’s our band. The question, I just get a little annoyed with it, I guess. If that was something that we chose to do, which we did, it wasn’t a snap decision by any means and it doesn’t take away from anything we did in the past.

“Our friend passing away shouldn’t be held against us if we want to go out and play the music that we created with him. We’ve dedicated half of our lives to being in this band, written some great material that has stood the test of time, and reached a lot of people. I think the bigger message is we all have difficulties and hurdles to overcome and there’s plenty of life left to live. And just because you lose somebody, doesn’t mean you stop living yourself. That’s the best way I can put it.”

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