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Alice in Chains Moving on From ‘Really Devastating Blow’

Following their mid-’90s disappearance as vocalist Layne Staley descended further into a darkness that ultimately led to his tragic death in 2002, the remaining members of Alice in Chains — Jerry Cantrell, Sean Kinney, and Mike Inez — reunited for a 2005 benefit in their hometown of Seattle then teamed with new member William DuVall in 2006 for a full tour, and have been active ever since.

Now, drummer Sean Kinney tells Noisecreep that with their forthcoming album, ‘Black Gives Way Into Blue,’ the band is finally going forward from the death of their fallen bandmate. “This is us moving on from a really, really devastating blow,” Kinney says. “I carry this every day forever and it really brought it more to life when we were sitting there dealing with it together, knowing we never shared that with anybody. Jerry, Mike, and I and everyone involved, we kept all this to ourselves since we pretty much pulled out in the mid-’90s. That’s a long time to f—ing hold on to some s—, so I think this is part of the healing process.”

Guitarist Jerry Cantrell says those themes and hardships are evident in the new material. “I remember early on talking to Sean and he’s like, ‘Dude, tell the story. F—ing lay it out there, go for it,’” Cantrell says. “And there’s a lot of s— to draw from.”

In writing the new material, Cantrell followed the same approach he and Staley took back in the early days of Alice. “We’ve always been a band that writes close to home,” he says. “I remember writing songs or writing lyrics and showing them to Layne and having him show me his lyrics and there was a certain level, which was no punches pulled and straight-up f—ing honest stuff. So this record, it’s today, it’s many years later, of course the dynamic’s changed and we’re moving on, Layne’s not here, but why we do things is intact and how we go about it is the same.”

And with the new record, Kinney is finally getting rid of some of the past. “You don’t notice how much you carry around until you start unloading some stuff,” he says. “And for me, it kind of lifted a lot of stuff and gave me a better perspective in my own life on what to do. I’ve seen myself and Jerry, just a lot of people in our lives, come from some pretty f—ing dark joints and over the years head in a more positive place and this is part of that process.”

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