The late Alice in Chains singer will live forever in songs by Pearl Jam, Staind, and Black Label Society
Kurt Cobain isn’t the only grunge icon getting postmortem love these days. Two years after Layne Staley died of a drug overdose — autopsy reports indicate he passed away on the eighth anniversary of Cobain’s suicide — several acts have offered songs memorializing the Alice in Chains frontman. Let’s trek through the tributes.
PEARL JAM, ”4/20/02”
WHERE TO FIND IT Hidden at the end of ”Bee Girl” on their rarities/B-sides double album Lost Dogs. METHOD OF TRIBUTE No drums. No bass. Just a guitar and a stark, bitter Eddie. HEAVIEST LYRIC ”So sing just like him, f — -ers/It won’t offend him/Just me/Because he’s dead.” DOES IT SOUND LIKE AIC? Not so much. It’s even more stripped-down than Jar of Flies. RANDOM FACT Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready joined Staley in the mid-’90s side project Mad Season.
WHERE TO FIND IT Their latest, 14 Shades of Grey. METHOD OF TRIBUTE A densely layered grunge ballad offering a message of rebirth. HEAVIEST LYRIC ”So to me you’ll never fade/Your life you gave/My life you saved/Your name was Layne.” DOES IT SOUND LIKE AIC? The haunting harmonies and mystical, sludgy guitars are dead-on. RANDOM FACT Lead singer Aaron Lewis’ daughter Zoe Jane — who’s referenced in the song — was born on the same day Staley died.
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, ”Layne”
WHERE TO FIND IT On the just-released Hangover Music Vol. VI. METHOD OF TRIBUTE An anguished slow-burner that occasionally flares into a full metal dirge. HEAVIEST LYRIC ”Oh, I’m just bidding [sic] my time/’Til I wave good-bye.” DOES IT SOUND LIKE AIC? Vocalist Zakk Wylde whips out a pretty creepy vibrato. RANDOM FACT AIC bassist Mike Inez plays on another Hangover track.