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1990: How Alice In Chains took metal to the mainstream

With their debut album Facelift, Alice In Chains tapped into a darkness that was emerging from Seattle, taking the scene into the global consciousness

The first time Dave Jerden heard Alice In Chains, he thought they were a mess. It was 1988, and Dave, who had just produced Jane’s Addiction’s groundbreaking Nothing’s Shocking album had been given the band’s demo tape by an A&R friend at Sony. Despite the growing buzz surrounding their hometown of Seattle, the band’s music was all over the place, and no producer wanted to touch them. But there was one song in which he heard the sound of the future.

“I forget which song it was, but it was the closest to the Alice In Chains we know now, with the drop-D tuning,” says Dave today. “I met with the band and told them what I thought, that their songs were a mess. But I also said to Jerry Cantrell that I liked what he was doing. It was like if Metallica had sped Tony Iommi’s riffs up, then brought them back down again.”

From the archive

From the archive


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