Death hangs over Alice in Chains more than most bands. Their music has always had a ghostly pall, but the Seattle quartet lost two original members to addiction — bassist Mike Starr in 2011 and singer Layne Staley in 2002. And though the band's post-Staley albums have cemented the group's redemption as a still-worthy hard rock powerhouse, it's impossible not to feel the ghosts of its former members in both its newer material and onstage.
The '90s superstars retain their vitality because guitarist Jerry Cantrell has long been the primary songwriter in the band. Alice in Chains is his voice, both musically and literally, with his vocal harmonies helping to create what makes the band's sound so distinctive. Also working in its favor is the fact that current frontman William DuVall's voice so closely resembles that of his predecessor: a sinister low-end rumble that complements the chugging, churning minor-chord guitar riffs. Rolling Stone said 2013's The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here "evokes Staley's memory with stomping survivor's pride."
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Fellow Seattleite Duff McKagan appeared with the band on its Spokane, Washington, date, and rumors have been swirling that the original Guns N' Roses bassist, who just released his second book, may embark on a biography of the band for his next writing project. "We talked at length," McKagan told Pulse of the Radio recently. "I'm a proponent of that band. I think it's just a victorious story."
Alice in Chains
8 p.m. Tuesday, August 11, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost $50 to $80. Call 954-797-5531, or visit hardrocklivehollywoodfl.com.
Though the band hasn't made an official announcement about a follow-up to Dinosaurs, Deftones frontman Chico Moreno told Las Vegas radio station KOMP that Cantrell would make an appearance on his band's upcoming album. The two acts toured together in 2010. "It's awesome," Moreno told the station. "It's like you're hearing a Deftones song, but all of a sudden, a little bit of Alice in Chains seeps its way in there, and it's kind of neat. I mean, me, as a fan, I was just sitting back, and a little tear came out of my eye."
With no openers slated, expect a movie-length set list that focuses on material from the band's first act, with just a handful of songs from its pair of albums with DuVall. Unlike most rock acts from its era, Alice in Chains is not a nostalgia act. It has not only survived but is thriving.
Alice in Chains, 8 p.m. Tuesday, August 11. Hard Rock Live 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost $50 to $80. Call 954-797-5531, or visit hardrocklivehollywoodfl.com