Heaven beside you

Posted: January 2, 2012 in Music
Tags: , , ,

It was the winter of 2005, I was sitting in the corner of my hostel room when I heard the band which changed the way I used to look at life. The songs were this dark, sad expressions of life which kind of brings out the darker side of you . The lyrics runs through your blood like a poison and gives you goosebumps and makes you feel suicidal . You feel like “down in a hole , losing control ” . If you have understood which band am talking about then you probably have felt the same way .

When I  heard the first song by them , it was quite dramatic .  It was a night of chilly winds and thunderstorm . The window was open and rainfall was softly touching my skin . I was alone in the room , smoked up , bunked the last class , hungry , penniless . The room was quite dark with just a yellow bulb glowing in one corner of the room . I was staring at the bulb and played the song . The instant chill was something which I have never felt after listening to a song . The song which helps you directly connect yourself to the lyrics, the feel and the spirit . Was lucky I guess to get such a surrounding to fall in love with them .

Well let us not torture you guys any longer the band name is Alice in Chains , the Seattle based grunge band which started in 1987 with the major band members Jerry Cantrell ,  Mike Inez , Sean Kinney and Layne Staley and it is still making music with the help of their new singer William DuVall . However I do not listen to the new tracks any longer after the front man Layne Staley died in 2002 , the reason of death ?? The autopsy report concluded that Staley had died after injecting a mixture of heroin and cocaine known as a “speed-ball” . They could only release 3 albums before Layne died . Facelift (1990) , Dirt(1992) , Alice in Chains(1995).

Most of the songs were written by Layne and Jerry Cantrell (lead guitarist). The lyrics were related to feelings like depression,  sadness, anger, betrayal, death , shallowness … you get the drift . Layne’s lyrics mainly portrayed the pain and the suffering he experienced since childhood . In early 2002, shortly before his death, he would describe the experience of witnessing his parents’ divorce as “My world became a nightmare, there were just shadows around me. I got a call saying that my dad had died, but my family always knew he was around doing all kinds of drugs. Since that call I always was wondering, ‘Where is my dad?’ I felt so sad for him and I missed him. He dropped out of my life for 15 years.”In that same interview he hinted that his parents’ break-up and his father’s drug use were at least partially responsible for his own drug problems, and also said that he was convinced that if he became a celebrity his dad would return. His Drug addiction then went from bad to worse . During his final years Dirt producer Dave Jerden ,who was originally chosen by the band for the production said, “Staley weighed 80 pounds…and was white as a ghost.” Cantrell refused to comment on the singer’s appearance, simply replying “I’d rather not comment on that…”, and band manager Susan Silver said she hadn’t seen the singer since “last year” . (courtesy www.wikipedia.org ) .

Here are a couple of samples of the expressions which they tried to portray through lyrics :

Down in a hole and I don’t know if I can be saved
See my heart I’ve decorated like a grave
You don’t understand who they
Thought I was supposed to be
Look at me now a man
Who won’t let himself be


Forgot my woman, lost my Friends
Things I’d done and where I’ve been
Sleep in sweat the mirrors Cold
See my face it’s growing’ Old
Scared to death no reason Why
Do whatever to get me by
Think about the things I Said
Read the page it’s cold
And dead .

Their songs have ranged  from slow psychedelic to hard rock . The music was brilliantly composed with the help of Jerry Cantrell’s different guitar style , Jazzy drumming by Sean Kinney(listen to MTV unplugged and you will understand ) and  Mike Inez’s grunge style bass guitar playing . Layne needs no description as he is the reason why the band needs no more musicians to make it perfect .

That’s about it for now.  Here’s some free advice. If your internet speed is good enough then download the discography. It’s worth the download time. Else you can listen to the songs angry chair ,bleed the freak , brother , don’t follow, down in a hole (personal favourite) ,I can’t remember , rooster, I stay away , nutshell , love hate love. Watch their  MTV unplugged concert , its a must .

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  1. Anushree says:

    I so agree.. I heard this band ages back and even though I have listened to a bunch of other music since then, their music is like an old friend I can always go back to.. at a moment’s notice.. It is a comfort to know that someone else has known this pain and suffering too.. And I just drown in the music.. and shut out the world.. “Down in a hole” is definitely the best song EVER!!! This post has a host of info on the band and Layne Staley.. but I wish it was more about the feelings when we listen to their songs.. It would have seemed more open and personal then.. Though I know it is hardest to get the feelings down perfectly.. and yes, even I haven’t listened to Alice in Chains since Staley..

  2. Siddharth says:

    My feelings exact!!

  3. hey thanks SID 🙂 . I always knew you will understand these feelings 🙂

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