You Say It's Your Birthday: Alice in Chains' Mike Inez

Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

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