See Photos of Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley Through the Years
Do you remember the first time you heard "Man in the Box"? What it was like when the vocals exploded into a raspy, roaring frenzy when the chorus hit?
"Feeeeeeeeed my eyes!"
Layne Staley was one of rock's strongest vocalists, and perhaps one of the most underrated as well. Though Alice in Chains had their fair share of success during their prime, Staley seems to have become the lost voice from that era.
He was a tortured soul from the start, but a kind one nonetheless. Every account of the singer's personality is a positive one, like the time he let his eventual guitarist Jerry Cantrell live with him when he had nowhere else to go.
Staley's onstage presence never appeared cocky, despite his vocal capabilities. Screaming Trees and Mad Season drummer Barrett Martin said, “Layne’s voice was so powerful that I could hear his voice coming off his body...Out of his chest [was] louder than what was coming out of the monitors.”
As we've unfortunately seen too many times with great talent, often comes great demons. It seems as if tragedy especially plagues musicians from the grunge era. First was Andrew Wood, then Kurt Cobain, then Staley, Scott Weiland and most recently, Chris Cornell.
Though Staley didn't take his own life, his story wasn't any less devastating. He had a rough breakup with a longterm girlfriend, who ended up passing away shortly after they parted. The media was not kind to him, so he isolated himself in his final years. He battled drug addiction throughout his career, and it eventually won. He died alone at 34 years old.
To celebrate the Alice in Chains frontman's life, we've compiled a gallery of photos from him throughout the years below. You can see Staley from his first band Sleze, to his glam phase, to his final televised performance with Alice when they played MTV Unplugged. There aren't many photos of him in the years to follow, but this is how we remember him.