The biggest temptation that accompanies everyone in the music industry is the idea of selling yourself. We all have to make a living at the end of the day, and sometimes it’s a little easier to make a name for yourself by simply following the trends rather than sticking to what you think is cool. Balancing your artistry is never an easy thing to do…and yet, these acts have kind of made it easy.
Since the first time they made a record, none of these bands let big bucks get in the way of the kind of music they wanted to make. Whatever decade they were in, they knew what they wanted to do and created exactly the type of music that would suit them, whether or not there was a market for it.
And by some crazy stroke of luck, it worked every time. When most bands spent time embarrassing themselves in their old age, these bands managed to survive and thrive by playing with their sound the way they knew how. Because these musicians have discovered something that most bands should learn when starting out. You might have a core audience, but you have to end up having fun at the end of the day. And if you have heart behind it, they will listen to you.
When Alice in Chains started, things were definitely very different from the band we know and love today. Instead of muddy riffs and grunge aesthetics, here was a band that was much more attuned to the sounds of bands like Guns N Roses than Mudhoney. After returning home to Seattle, they never really looked back from Facelift.
With each iteration of the band, Jerry Cantrell has proven himself to be a pure riff machine, opting for something somewhere between the sounds of stoner rock and the raw aggression of harder metal acts like on songs. like We Die Young and Dam That River. While many grunge purists would like to think that the band’s classic version died with Layne Staley in 2002, they still haven’t lost their touch in the latest iteration with William DuVall.
Bolstered by songs from Black Gives Way To Blue and even the more recent release of Rainier Fog, they have kept the spirit of their early albums intact, while integrating the soft acoustic side of their sound into the mix like what we have got used for Jar of Flies. Sure, the sound might be a little austere for some, but it’s the kind of melancholy that can somehow stay so beautiful.