The Rarely Told True Story of Alice in Chains’ Leading Man: Layne Staley

The grunge-metal band from Seattle, Washington, was formed in 1987 and was an instant hit, rising to international fame and becoming part of the grunge movement of the early ’90s (along with the other major players from Seattle, like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden). Alice in Chains turned out to be one of the most successful music acts of the ’90s, selling over 30 million records worldwide. They released six studio albums, three EPs, three live albums, four compilations, two DVDs, 43 music videos, and 32 singles.

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Photo by Kevin Estrada / Shutterstock

But despite fame and fortune, the band was plagued by extended inactivity since 1996, due to lead vocalist Layne Staley’s drug abuse. Eight years after Kurt Cobain took his own life, Staley followed suit, albeit from a likely accidental overdose, in 2002. He was 34 years old. Unfortunately, like too many other famous rock bands, Alice in Chains had to face their own roller coaster ride, afflicted with tragedies.

This is the story of one of the most famous rock bands in music history, and the rise and fall of its leading man.