Corey Taylor said Alice in Chains are his favorite of grunge’s “Big Four” bands — the lot considered to include AIC plus Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Nirvana — when asked during a recent onstage Q&A appearance.
The Slipknot and Stone Sour vocalist also honored late Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley while considering the question during Monday’s (Dec. 13) An Intimate Evening with Corey Taylor in Conversation: Ultimate Fan Q&A at Columbus, Ohio’s Jo Ann Davidson Theatre at the Riffe Center. The exclusive talk was sponsored by ticket marketplace CBUSArts, part of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts.
“It has to be Alice in Chains,” Taylor responded (as transcribed by Loudwire). “Because Alice in Chains, to me, is one of the greatest rock bands that ever was. I don’t just mean that from a grunge standpoint, or metal, or anything like that. They revolutionized so much musically, and they inspired me to change the way I write music. Full stop, period, the end of the sentence.”
Alice in Chains are one of the two “Big Four” grunge bands that still perform today, the other being Pearl Jam. AIC currently comprises guitarist and vocalists Jerry Cantrell and William DuVall along with drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Inez. Their three albums since reforming in 2005 join the three (plus an EP and a live album) issued before Staley’s death in 2002.
Taylor said, “Layne Staley is still one of the greatest fucking singers that ever lived. Now that is not a reflection on the demons that he had to fight obviously. But it has everything to do with his talent. He just made it look so fucking easy. He could sing anything, he could write anything. And the shit that he was writing about was killing him, and yet we loved it. To me, that’s the greatest baring of the soul I’ve ever listened to. And if you need any more proof of that, all you need to do is listen to ‘Nutshell.’ It’s one of the greatest songs ever written. And that’s not even my favorite.”
He continued, “My favorite Alice in Chains song is ‘Would?’ Full stop. That song is fucking incredible. But ‘Nutshell’ is such an outpouring of trying to share with you the darkness that’s in his heart. … And that’s the great tragedy of people like Layne. It’s not just Layne, obviously — there are so many people that came from that generation of artists. The pain they dealt with, you know? Some of them won, some of them didn’t. But the great thing is that we can listen to their music, and it can help us get past our own pain.”
The Slipknot singer added that there’s “probably not a day that goes by that I don’t listen to Alice in Chains. It’s still just that good. And the fact that I know those guys now is just icing on the cake. It’s rad to be able to hang out with your favorite band.”