When Alice in Chains reformed for a benefit in 2005, then added new member William DuVall for a full tour in 2006, a lot of longtime fans of the band called blasphemy at the thought of the Seattle grunge institution going out without late lead singer Layne Stayley. But those who've been through similar ordeals and heard those same cries understood what the remaining Alice in Chains members were going through. "A lot of those bands have walked through losses as we had, having people pass away and stuff. And to see the support of guys," guitarist Jerry Cantrell tells Noisecreep.

Not all of the musicians had gone through the death of a band mate. For instance, Cantrell says former Guns N' Roses members Slash and Duff McKagan, who still hear the calls to reunite with their former lead singer, Axl Rose, were very supportive. "Duff was playing gigs with us. He didn't have to do that. He'd show up on his own dime and play gigs with us," Cantrell recalls.

But one band who could understand exactly what Alice in Chains were going through was Metallica, who lived through the death of bassist Cliff Burton. "[James] Hetfield would get up and sing some Alice tunes at a f---ing German festival or a function in L.A.," Cantrell says. "That means a lot to us, because they care about it as much as we care about it. That's why we do what we do."

According to drummer Sean Kinney, encouragement has come from a variety of sources. "We've been friends with the guys in Tool since the early '90s, and all those people have been so supportive about it. Just privately all our 'rock star buddies' have been completely supportive," Kinney says. "They've all been like, 'Dude, you gotta do that.'"
But -- not to sound cheesy, for Kinney -- what's maybe meant the most is the fans. "All the people that kept this going for us all these years and made it their own, that's just blown my mind," he says. "When we did those earlier shows, I was thinking, 'Who the f--ks gonna show up? Just a bunch of old dudes like us?' It was a cross-section and some much younger people; that really opened my eyes."