Jerry Cantrell's bowl certainly overflowth. As he surveys his kingdom and enjoys his 30th birthday, the Alice In Chains guitarist has much to be thankful for. His band has gone from strength to strength despite an erratic internal combustion that always seems to be on the verge of blowing the entire structure to bits. Most of that, of course has centered on Layne Staley's poppy seed demons, and in a weird kind of way this may have unintentionally worked to Jerry's advantage. Jerry is the engine that drives the band; their songs start as a flash in his head. So while the media has been off flirting with Layne's self-inflicted danger, Jerry has been pretty much left to his own devices, which tend toward the creative rather than the pharmaceutical. This is good news for those who pride the music of Alice in Chains rather than any of that other nonsense. Besides, the two best songs on the band's current album, were written by Jerry Cantrell alone, without resorting to any of Layne's gloom-pustule lyrics. So if worse came to worse... Other birthdays today: Queen Latifah, Wilson Pickett, Charlie Pride, Vanessa Williams, Irene Cara, B.J. Wilson of Procol Harum, and John Hartman of the Doobie Brothers.