Hope Is On Its Way For Alice In Chains

GRAMMY-nominated rock band refuse to die young in Forgotten Videos
  • Jerry Cantrell in Alice In Chain's "We Die Young"
May 30, 2012 -- 1:20 pm PDT

Welcome to Forgotten Videos. For some, these videos are forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Whichever category you fall into, each week we'll feature a video that's possibly been collecting dust when what it really deserves is a fresh look. Or vice-versa. … We're not here to judge, we just want to take you on a little trip down memory lane. Yep, you'll remember when hair was really that big, when drums were that up front in the mix, when video was young(er) and so were you.

Alice In Chains
"We Die Young"

Aside from perfectly blending crunching, sludgy guitars and the confusing yet brutish imagery that so defined the grunge-era aesthetic of the early '90s, Alice In Chains' lead track from their 1990 debut album, Facelift, is painfully ironic. "Scary's on the wall/Scary's on his way," warns late frontman Layne Staley, who died at the young age of 34 in 2002. Staley's death was followed by another scary incident in 2011 — the passing of original Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr at age 44. While it's no secret that the deaths of Staley and Starr were in some way a result of the devastating effects of substance abuse and addiction, these cases serve as a sober reminder about the importance of MusiCares, The Recording Academy's nonprofit health and human services organization dedicated to providing a safety net for music people in times of need.

On May 31 at the 8th Annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert, Alice In Chains guitarist/vocalist and co-founder Jerry Cantrell will be honored with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award for his dedication and support of the MusiCares MAP Fund. Cantrell will also be recognized for his commitment to helping other addicts with the addiction and recovery process.

Getting back to the music, "We Die Young" isn't completely brutish — it helped propel Facelift, which spawned band's first GRAMMY nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal for "Man In The Box," to No. 42 on the Billboard 200. Showcasing the band performing around people who appear to be drowning in blood, the video was directed by Rocky Schenck, who would direct more videos for the band, including "Them Bones." The album was instrumental in establishing an audience for grunge and alternative rock fans, and made Alice In Chains one of the first Seattle groups to break through to a wider audience.

Dirt followed in 1992, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and garnering the band a second GRAMMY nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal, followed by a self-titled album in 1995, which garnered two Best Hard Rock Performance nominations for "Grind" and "Again" in 1995 and 1996, respectively.

Following a hiatus after the death of Staley in 2002, Alice In Chains added vocalist William DuVall and in 2009 released Black Gives Way To Blue. The album peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and garnered Best Hard Rock Performance nominations for "Check My Brain" and "A Looking In View" in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

"It's cool to get here," Cantrell said in a recent interview with GRAMMY.com. "It's cool to know that you can get here and it's nice to be [proof] that no matter where you find yourself in life you've always got a chance to turn it around."

Have you seen scary on the wall? Got a Forgotten Video recommendation? Leave us a comment.

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