Jerry Cantrell Reveals Tom Morello Gave Layne Staley ‘Spark’ to Play More Guitar in Alice in Chains
While Jerry Cantrell handled most of the guitar work in Alice in Chains, co-vocalist Layne Staley stepped up on occasion as well, and during a chat with Tom Morello for his Maximum Firepower podcast, Cantrell revealed Morello's impact on Staley's guitar playing after they toured together on Lollapalooza 1993.
Cantrell recalled, “I remember, during that tour, Layne really had a shine for you. He wanted to play guitar more, and he was kind of intimidated because he didn’t play that much guitar, but he really was turned on by how you played guitar – I was a little hurt by that. [Laughs]”
The Alice in Chains singer-guitarist continued, "You gave him the spark to learn how to play guitar and write more songs.”
During his time in Alice in Chains, Staley wrote and played guitar on such tracks as "Angry Chair," "Hate to Feel" and "Head Creeps."
That 1993 edition of Lollapalooza also included such emerging acts as Primus, Tool, Dinosaur Jr. Fishbone, Front 242, Babes in Toyland and Arrested Development.
The friendship between Staley and the Rage Against the Machine guitarist continued over the years, with the pair eventually teaming up on a cover of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" as part of a supergroup dubbed Class of '99 that also included Jane's Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins, Porno for Pyros bassist Martyn LeNoble and Matchbox Twenty keyboardist Matt Serletic. The song was eventually used for the soundtrack of the 1998 film The Faculty.
Though Staley's death in 2002 put an end to the first era of Alice in Chains, the band has since enjoyed a successful second act with William DuVall joining their lineup. Cantrell is currently using a break in the band's schedule to release and promote his new solo album Brighten. You can hear more of the chat with Morello in the player below.