The last time the surviving members of Alice in Chains were on a tour bus together was more than 10 years ago — when iconic frontman Layne Staley was still alive and the band was packing 30,000-capacity arenas nationwide.
But when guitarist Jerry Cantrell, bassist Mike Inez and drummer Sean Kinney head out in mid-May with Comes With the Fall frontman William DuVall, Alice will scale things back a bit.
Instead of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, they'll perform at the Roxy. Instead of Madison Square Garden, they'll take the stage inside New York's Bowery Ballroom. In all, Alice in Chains have booked five very intimate club dates that will act as a primer for the band's European festival tour, beginning May 26 at the Super Bock Super Rock in Portugal.
Alice's brief run of shows kicks off in L.A. May 18 and then hits San Diego, Chicago and Boston before winding down in New York on May 23. News of the tour comes on the heels of the grunge rockers' announcement in February that they'd be regrouping for some live dates and were considering recording a new album (see "Remaining Alice In Chains Members Reuniting For Summer Gigs").
The reunion was sparked in 2005 when Cantrell, Inez and Kinney performed as Alice in Chains during a benefit concert in Seattle for tsunami victims ("Ex-Alice In Chains Members Enlist Damageplan Singer, Others For Benefit"). During that appearance, the band was joined onstage by former Damageplan frontman Pat Lachman (who served as primary vocalist), Wes Scantlin of Puddle of Mudd, Tool's Maynard James Keenan and Ann Wilson of Heart.
On March 10, Alice in Chains performed at VH1's "Decades Rock Live" concert, honoring Seattle rockers Heart. Former Pantera and current Down/ Superjoint Ritual singer Phil Anselmo took the microphone during that gig, belting out the Chains classics "Them Bones" and "Would?"
A spokesperson for the band said while DuVall — who is a member of Cantrell's touring band — will act as Alice's chief frontman, a number of surprise guest vocalists and musicians will take the stage with the band at all five shows. Former Guns N' Roses and current Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagan — who, like former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, Godsmack frontman Sully Erna and ex-Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul, is one of Cantrell's poker buddies — will be one of those unannounced guests. It's unclear at this point at which shows he'll be slapping the bass.
There's no word yet on who, if anyone, will open for Alice on the brief tour or whether the band will hit the road again when it returns from Europe in July. The group is booked to perform August 11 at the 2006 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. That bill also features Alice Cooper and Kid Rock.
Alice in Chains' U.S. tour dates, according to the band's publicist:
- 5/18 - West Hollywood, CA @ The Roxy
- 5/19 - San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
- 5/21 - Chicago, IL @ Metro
- 5/22 - Boston, MA @ Avalon
- 5/23 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
- 8/11 - Sturgis, SD @ 2006 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally