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Alice in Chains Heading Into the Studio for New Album

By January 18, 2012

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It hardly seemed possible that Alice in Chains could ever reclaim their early-'90s glory. The Seattle band hadn't put out a studio album since 1995's Alice in Chains, and their frontman, Layne Staley, died of a drug overdose in 2002. Those setbacks made 2009's Black Gives Way to Blue all the more remarkable. Reuniting -- and bringing in new singer William DuVall -- Alice in Chains sounded genuinely rejuvenated, and while Black Gives Way to Blue rocked monstrously hard, it was also a moving elegy for their departed friend. The disc was one of 2009's best albums, but it begged the question: Could this new Alice in Chains continue on as a band, or was this a one-time affair? Well, it looks like AIC are gonna try to extend this unlikely second act.

Recently, guitarist, singer and principal songwriter Jerry Cantrell spoke with Rolling Stone, and he revealed that the Seattle veterans are moving forward with the follow-up to Black Gives Way to Blue. They started working on material last year, and they'll be hitting the studio somewhat soon, although the article doesn't provide a definite timetable for that. "I had shoulder surgery," Cantrell said as a way of explaining the delay on the new record. "I had to get some bone spurs and torn cartilage taken care of, so that put me back a little bit. But we've been writing through the whole process."

There's no word about when the album would be released -- or, like Black Gives Way to Blue, if it will focus on Staley's death. That would seem unlikely, but sadly this is a band who haven't completely gotten free of tragedy. Their former bassist, Mike Starr, died in March. He, like Staley, had battled drug addiction, and he had exited the band during the tour for 1992's Dirt. Who knows if Starr's passing will inform this new record, although it's hard to imagine the band coming up with anything as intense and emotional as Black Gives Way to Blue again. But to be fair, it was hard to believe a few years ago they were still capable of making something like Black Gives Way to Blue in the first place.

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Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS.

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