Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich recently had Alice In Chains vocalist and guitarist Jerry Cantrell on his It's Electric! with Lars Ulrich radio show. A few clips are available from the show at the bottom of this post, but one thing I wanted to highlight was Cantrell talking about Alice In Chains getting back together in 2005.
It had been three years since the death of original vocalist Layne Staley in 2005 and 10 years since their last show and album. Alice In Chains decided to reunite for the K-Rock Tsunami Continued Care Relief Concert in Seattle with Damageplan vocalist Pat Lachman alongside guests Maynard James Keenan of Tool and Ann Wilson of Heart. The band would go on to recruit vocalist William DuVall in 2006, and the rest is history.
Jerry Cantrell: No, no, no. Before William came into the picture. We had to think about this. This is our life. You know we created this and just because our friend is not here, it doesn't mean that this stuff's isn't still alive and that still speaks to people and it's still our work and we have nothing to be embarrassed about it. We have full ownership. This is us. This is what we do. And it it took a while. You know, we just had a few conversations like that we're like, yeah, yeah, whatever. And then, out of the blue, this horrible tragedy happens, you know, that kind of you saw this compassion and people kicking in to help people, the tsunami and all of these relief concerts and donations and stuff. And then Sean calls and he's like, "Why don't we do a thing and we'll raise some money and we'll do it for that. We'll just do like a one time show and like we'll get together and we play the songs will invite some friends, I'll do a couple of tunes so and so and whatever.
We'll just invite some people down and we'll do it. And so that's how it started with no thought of doing anything other than just that show. So we did that and it was really intense. I mean, I kind of blacked out about half of that Gig just because of all of the emotional, a rawness of going through that experience, standing on the stage for first time without my buddy, you know? And the thing that made it cooler as I was standing on stage with my other three buddies, so we were all doing it together. So, we went through that process and then, you know, it left a positive taste in everybody's mouth, like playing the songs and stuff, even though it was, kind of heavy at the same time, but it was something that was necessary to go through to spark the thought of maybe taking the next step.
So it was no grand plan. It was just something that kind of like we did a thing and then we thought, well, let's take another step. And then we did another thing and then, all right, we'll take another one. And it was just that sort of incremental things strictly going by feel, which is how this band has always operated.
Lars Ulrich: You remember the first time that the idea came to you that William could be that guy?
Jerry Cantrell: Yeah, well I had had the experience of knowing William before any of the other guys. And William was in my touring band for Degradation ship when I did that record, so-