Today is the birthday of Alice in Chains bassist Mike
Inez, who was born in 1966 in San Fernando, California. Of all the bands in the
late-1980s "Seattle scene," Alice in Chains became known, along with
Soundgarden, as having the deepest heavy-metal roots.
Formed in 1987 when
vocalist Layne Staley and guitarist Jerry Cantrell met at a rehearsal studio
known as the Music Bank, the band grew to include drummer Sean Kinney and
bassist Mike Starr. Within two years they had a record deal and released a
five-song EP, We Die Young, earning the band an opening slot with
everyone from Iggy Pop to Poison.
In 1991 the group released their
definitive debut, Face Lift, and charted a single with "Man in the Box."
Later that year they recorded an acoustic EP, Sap, which featured guest
appearances from Mudhoney's Mark Arm, Heart's Ann Wilson and Soundgarden's
Chris Cornell. Their second full record, Dirt, appeared in 1992 and went
on to sell 3 million copies on the strength of singles like "Angry Chair" and
"Them Bones." Starr departed at this point and Inez joined the ranks in time to
record their second acoustic EP, Jar of Flies, in 1993 -- which became
the first EP ever to top the Billboard charts. The group released their third
full-length album, Alice in Chains, in 1996; they followed that one with
an MTV Unplugged album.
Other birthdays: directors George Lucas and Robert
Zemeckis, Ian Astbury (Holy Barbarians/Cult), the late Bobby Darin, Jack Bruce
(Cream), Derek Leckenby (Herman's Hermits), Gene Cornish (Rascals), Alan Ciner
(American Breed/Three Dog Night/Rufus), Jay Beckenstein (Spyro Gyra), David
Byrne, Tom Cochrane, C.C. DeVille (Poison), Fabrice Morvan (Milli Vanilli),
Danny Wood (NKOTB), Shanice (Wilson) and Raphael Wiggins (Tony! Toni! Tone!).
-- Beth Winegarner