News Column

City-bound Alice in Chains: a history of the band

May 10, 2014

By Carol Balinski, Reading Eagle, Pa.

May 10--One of the great names to come out of the grunge scene, Alice in Chains, will be coming to Reading Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Santander Performing Arts Center.

While the band came from the same grunge scene that spawned Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, AIC is more accurately described as a metal band with an alternative rock edge, according to

The band had to reinvent itself following the drug-related death of original lead singer and co-founder Layne Staley in 2002. It is touring in support of its fifth studio album, "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here."

Here is a timeline about AIC:

1987: Staley, who had formed an early version of AIC with a different lineup while he was in high school in the Seattle area, met guitarist and songwriter Jerry Cantrell at the Music Bank, a warehouse rehearsal space. They put together a new version of AIC with drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Starr.

1989: AIC signed with Columbia records and released a five-song promotional EP, "We Die Young."

1991: The AIC song "Man in the Box" became a hit from the album "Face Lift." The song was Grammy-nominated.

1992: The band's sophomore effort, "Dirt," went platinum and it participated in the Lollapalooza Tour.

1993: Mike Inez replaced Mike Starr as bassist.

1996: AIC reconvened for the first time in three years to record and release "MTV Unplugged." Another period of inactivity followed due to Staley's battles with drug addiction.

1999: "Music Bank" was released, an album named for the warehouse from the band's early days.

April 20, 2002: Staley's body was found in his Seattle apartment 15 days after his death from an overdose of cocaine and heroin.

2005: The remaining members reunited for a benefit concert for victims of the 2005 tsunami. William DuVall, a member of Cantrell's solo touring band, joined the band to sing Staley's parts.

2009: Release of AIC's first studio album in 14 years, "Black Gives Way to Blue." The title track was written as a tribute to Staley.

May 28, 2013: Release of AIC's fifth studio album, "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here."

Contact Carol Balinski: 610-371-5007 or


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