Saturday, March 30, 2013

Alice in Chains - MTV Unplugged

As I come to the end of Mark Yarm's wonderful book Everybody Loves Our Town I find myself drawn once again back to my favorite band from that era, Alice in Chains. In that return I realized a major oversight in my record collection. I do not own the AIC unplugged.

Now, I know why I don't own it - its association with empty-v. However, Everybody Loves Our Town has made me re-think this.

The book is word of mouth - in other words it is comprised entirely of interview snippets conducted and arranged by Mr. Yarm and in the last chapters as those firsthand accounts address the death of Layne Staley there's a quote by AIC bassist Mike Inez that reads, "We discovered at that show that songs like "Sludge Factory" were even heavier acoustic. Layne that night was so haunting. His voice, especially his performance on "Down in a Hole," it still brings a tear to my eye. There was a couple times I had to pull my eyes off of Layne and remind myself, Hey, I'm at work. Instead of being a fan here, I better concentrate on my bass chords. He was just so mesmerizing."

I have a powerful relationship with Alice's music, and Staley's death was the first of two rock star deaths that have actually affected me (the other being Peter Steele's from Type O Negative). Staley reminded me of my best friend Jake, who died a looong time ago. Anyway, that quote from Mr. Inez made me really want to see/hear the performance in question so I went youtube.


Nutshell, the second track off of 1993's Jar of Flies ep just kills me every time. But it's even more powerful here. All the tracks are fantastic, but that one and Sludge Factory - which since the first time I heard it has been one of my favorite Alice tracks - are just killer.

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