Alice In Chains: The Untold Story by David de Sola (5 out of 5)


As far as musical biographies go, this is one of the best ones I’ve read in awhile. Such a talented group of guys- and to have one of them taken down by the hell of heroin and the other one starting with heroin and leading to prescription drugs- is heartbreaking. The author does a fantastic job of detailing the beginning, middle, and end of their career, their solo projects, their other bands, as well as all of the people involved in the rise and fall of the band. The fact that Cantrell, Kinney, and Inez attempted to continue on shows how lasting the nucleus of talent here was. The true story of Layne Staley’s life is given most of the book here, as it should be, given that this was his dream and ultimately, it led to the nightmare that consumed his life. The author does a very thorough job of interviewing all members of the AIC dynasty, including family members of Staley’s, as well as his former fiancée Demri (a fellow addict whom many blamed for his addiction and decline), who is given a human depiction by the author’s talented paintbrush. You can only read so much shit in tabloid magazines, or at that time, heavy metal and music magazines (of special note, the Rolling Stone article where the band photo turned only into Layne, and the article about their meteoric rise to fame turned into Layne’s addiction instead, destroying Layne’s fragile soul). Say what you want, people, this man saw his immense talent and dreams take him to the apex, only to have it take him down and away from all of those who loved him- his family, his bandmates, his friends, and yes, his fans. What did I like about this book? The author sheds light on ALL members past and present of the band, and he is unflinchingly honest about the demons that the other members of the band faced as well, with greater success. He also goes knee deep into the AIC catalog, their relationships with former manager Susan Silver and a host of others, as well as bringing us into the AIC world after Staley and Starr’s deaths. He takes us into the present with the surviving members, and doesn’t leave any stone unturned in how AIC was such a singular act of immense talent and raw emotion. Not easy to do with the story as it was, but de Sola manages to do that. There were points in this book where I was in tears because of how fucking sad it all ended up. I ended up with a strong desire to not only revisit the AIC catalog, but to turn more people onto them. Everyone who loved this band should read this book.

~ by generationgbooks on April 14, 2016.

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