Alice In Chains frontman Layne Staley would have turned 50 this month, and to mark the solemn occasion, a group of his musical peers from the iconic movie Singles have shared some powerful new reflections about the grunge legend that will make you miss the fuck out of him all over again.
For those who need a quick refresher, Singles helped catapult Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Screaming Trees and many other seminal acts of the era onto bigger things in the early ’90s, and members of all those bands have now come together to pay an emotional tribute to Layne, “one of the greatest singers in rock and roll history”.
In a new video shared on Twitter by Pearl Jam themselves, guitarist Mike McCready, Heart singer Ann Wilson and Screaming Trees’ Barrett Martin all share some of their touching memories of Layne and his superhuman vocal talents, but the most heartbreaking words of all come from Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell.
“Layne to me was fucking one of the greatest singers in rock and roll history. I never heard anything like him before, and I will never hear anything like him since,” Jerry says in the clip.
“Just to be able to get to be in a band with a guy like that who does that to you, there’s nobody better to me than him. He’s my friend, he’s a guy that gave me a place to live when I moved to Seattle. He knew I didn’t have any place to go, and he took me in, and I lived with him in a rehearsal hall. He was just a great fuckin’ guy.”
He continues: “When we started playing together and writing tunes, mostly I was just kind of doing backups, I didn’t want to fucking sing anyways. We got him, we got that guy, and he’s pretty fucking good.
“He was great. There was nobody better in my opinion.”
Layne Staley was the second of the great grunge frontmen to die under tragic circumstances (after overdosing on heroin in 2002) preceded by Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and followed more recently by Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland and — just months ago — Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell (don’t worry, Eddie Vedder’s still OK though).
In fact, Eddie actually paid his own heartbreaking tribute to Layne to mark what would have been his 49th birthday last year. You can watch that right here or check out the latest tribute video from Layne’s surviving muso mates below.
— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) August 13, 2017