Every band has to start somewhere, and sometimes, it’s not where you might expect. For example, the Seattle bands of the early 90’s all shared similar sonic elements, but the groups took quite different musical paths to arrive there.
Nirvana began as a punk, indie, hardcore band. Soundgarden made a weirdly experimental mix of post-punk and thrash. Pearl Jam’s roots lay in 70’s hard rock and 80’s noise rock.
And then we’ve got the curious case of Alice In Chains – one of the bleakest, heaviest bands to emerge out of the media-dubbed ‘grunge’ scene. You would think they could only have rocked themselves up from the darkest depths of Mordor, guitar strings dripping with molten metal and doom, but in fact, they began recording together as a funk/glam metal band during the mid to late 80’s when the lead guitarist from Diamond Lie and the lead singer from Alice N’ Chains (formerly Sleze!) joined forces.
Thankfully, there are pictures.
Even after changing their name to the less hair-metally Alice In Chains, they still opened for good-time bands such as Van Halen and Poison. But as their sound took on a heavier and darker edge, they also found themselves playing with Slayer and Megadeth.
In 1992, director Cameron Crowe chose the Alice In Chains song “Would?” to appear on the soundtrack for his movie Singles, set in Seattle, which featured a number of local bands, including Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Mother Love Bone. The lead singer for Mother Love Bone, Andrew Wood, had died of a heroin overdose a couple years prior, and it’s for him that guitarist Jerry Cantrell wrote “Would?” (Later in 1992, the song would also serve as the closing track on Dirt, the second full-length collection by Alice In Chains and one of the finest rock albums of the decade.)
From blow-dried to grunge-ified, through the looking glass, here’s Alice.