The death of [artist id="966"]Alice in Chains[/artist] frontman Layne Staley in 2002 should have, by any reasonable expectation, ended the career of the platinum-selling rock act. But after an eight-year grieving period and the addition of a new singer, the group is back stronger than ever, with two consecutive singles landing at #1 on the Billboard Rock Songs chart. And nobody's more pleasantly surprised than guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell.
"I took my clothes off and ran down the street screaming at the top of my lungs," the songsmith joked to MTV News. "It's cool that we have something to say and there's somebody out there listening."
For newcomer William DuVall, replacing the enigmatic Staley has been a challenging journey as he's worked to gain acceptance from a skeptical fanbase. But if three years of sold-out shows are any indication, Duvall has surmounted any audience hesitation, and the singer is now experiencing life in the circle of a chart-topping group.
"We toured for two years before we even went into the studio, so that was interesting in itself," DuVall said. "But now this thing has become more real to us and everybody else, and it's just another important step in the journey. So yeah, I feel a lot of acceptance and it's ever-evolving."
The band is currently touring in support of Black Gives Way to Blue, their first new album with DuVall. The record, which spawned no less than two hits, has been certified gold, but the group isn't resting on their laurels. In fact, all indications are that fans of Alice in Chains may be picking up a second effort in the foreseeable future.
"There are thoughts," Cantrell said of heading back into the studio. "We'll see how far we get. Staying in the moment is a good way to live and we certainly hope that that happens. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't [happen]."
Alice in Chains' U.S. tour continues through June, before the group heads overseas this summer. But the rock act isn't the only band from the '90s hitting the road — this year brings news that fellow Seattle mainstays Soundgarden are also reuniting. With Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam also on tour and the Foo Fighters back in the studio, is alternative rock coming back?
"I don't think it ever left," Cantrell said. "Yeah, there's a lot of activity from bands that were slugging it out in the '90s, us being one of them. But I think the thing that gets forgotten is all those guys were doing music all along. ... It's not like anyone quit doing stuff and we just thought, 'Hey, it's a good time to start doing it again.' We just continued to make music. But it's kind of nice because I love all those bands."
Cantrell doesn't have any specific advice for Chris Cornell and company, but he did have one statement to make on the Soundgarden reunion. "I'll buy a ticket. I want to see that."
Are you looking forward to seeing Alice in Chains on tour? Let us know in the comments below!