One Day My Plane Leaves
Crying rhymes for the dying times
If it’s time to die there’s nothing you can do
– Second Coming with Layne Staley, “It’s Coming After”
Kurt Cobain wasn’t the only musician from the early 90’s “Seattle Scene” to die at a young age.
In 2002, eight years after Cobain’s death, Layne Staley of Alice In Chains died, after years and
years of drug abuse.
Like Kurt, no one knows the exact date of his death for certain, and like Kurt, his death was
ruled to have happened on April 5. I’ve always wondered if the coroner or whoever chose that date
for some kind of symbolic reason.
Very much unlike Kurt, however, Layne didn’t suddenly and shockingly die at the height of his fame. Rather, everyone knew he was heading for a pine box for a number of years before it finally happened. A good number of his lyrics even seemed to evidence that Layne himself knew this. But while he was here, his voice coupled with Jerry Cantrell’s nuclear-blast music brought a heavy, sludgy, dark sound not like anything up to that point.
Layne had a couple of side projects, one of which was occasionally guest-singing with the band Second Coming. Another better known one was collaborating with members of Pearl Jam and Screaming Trees in the supergroup-of-sorts Mad Season. Anyone who knew Layne (aka “The Voice Of Doom”) only from AIC and thought his sole talent was screaming was thoroughly disabused of that notion.
From 1995, a full seven years before his death, but it sounded like he knew it was already over, didn’t he?
Layne could also play drums and was (I’m speculating here) a bit of “Benny Hill” fan.
According to Wikipedia, “At Alice in Chains’ last concert with Staley on July 3, 1996, they
closed with ‘Man in the Box.'” How disturbingly appropriate.
Title is from this song, lyrics and music entirely by Layne as well as playing rhythm guitar… loudness warning, but it’s awesome –