Alice in Chains Release ‘Jar of Flies’ EP


Think about being a band on the street, supporting your greatest album, an album that has yielded 5 radio singles, and wrapping the tour with a co-headlining slot on one of many high touring festivals within the nation, Lollapalooza. You are on high of the world, proper?

Then, you come dwelling and discover that you have been evicted. That was the state of affairs that Alice in Chains discovered themselves in in 1993 after coming off the street and studying that by way of some miscommunication, that they had didn’t pay the lease on their crash pad and that that they had no place to remain.

Pissed off and newly homeless, the band moved into Seattle’s London Bridge Studios till they may get issues sorted out. However the unplanned go to to the studio yielded one thing else … a brand new EP. Lonely, depressed and bored, the band made essentially the most of their environment and a flurry of creativity led to what would finally turn out to be the Jar of Flies EP, launched on Jan. 25, 1994.

Whereas within the studio, the band known as upon Toby Wright to co-produce their new music with them and in a seven-day interval, they managed to show round one other assortment of songs.

“[I] simply wished to enter the studio for a couple of days with our acoustic guitars and see what occurred,” mentioned vocalist Layne Staley to Hit Parader. “We by no means actually deliberate on the music we made at the moment to be launched. However the document label heard it and so they actually appreciated it. For us, it was simply the expertise of 4 guys getting collectively within the studio and making some music.”

Guitarist Jerry Cantrell revealed to Wright that he hadn’t written any songs and simply had one guitar half — a jangly refrain to a bit of music that might finally turn out to be the hit single “No Excuses.” And that proved to be the start line.

Alice in Chains, “No Excuses”

Wright advised AVClub, “They’d exit on the ground and jam, and I would just hit document. They’d get a little bit kind collectively, exit and jam it, and ship it upstairs to Layne who was anxiously awaiting. He’d write lyrics and melody and are available down with a little bit demo on, I feel, a four-track recorder. We would all hear and go, ‘Hell yeah!’ Then he’d run again upstairs and hold going. It was a really optimistic perspective from everyone.”

The EP additionally proved to be the primary prolonged recording the band had executed with bassist Mike Inez. The previous member of Ozzy Osbourne’s band got here on board through the Dust tour and recorded two soundtrack songs (“What the Hell Have I” and “A Little Bitter”) for the Arnold Schwarzenegger flick Final Motion Hero, however actually hadn’t acquired the total studio expertise really feel with the band. Cantrell recalled within the liner notes to the band’s field set, Music Financial institution, “The entire Jar of Flies EP proved to each us and the followers what a proficient and legitimate a part of the band Mike was. He performs the nastiest, darkest s–t, however he is acquired the sweetest coronary heart on this planet.”

The lead single was “No Excuses,” launched in early 1994. It was a change of tempo for the band, the tune grew to become a radio and MTV hit; it was their first chart-topping single and the one tune to achieve No. 1 through the Layne Staley-era of the group.

Alice in Chains, “I Keep Away”

The subsequent single was “I Stay Away,” which would climb to No. 10 on the Mainstream Rock chart, and obtained a Grammy nomination for Greatest Laborious Rock Efficiency in 1995. “I Keep Away” can be notable for its video, which featured a puppet-led circus all shot utilizing stop-motion animation. (As we speak, you possibly can see the puppets from the video in an exhibit in the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame.)

Nutshell” turned out to be maybe the most important fan favourite tune amongst followers that was by no means launched commercially. The group opened their 1996 MTV Unplugged particular with the tune and it has since been coated by Adema, Staind, Shinedown, Seether and Ryan Adams through the years.

Alice in Chains, “Nutshell”

As for the Jar of Flies title, Staley revealed that it got here from an experiment Cantrell carried out as a child. He recalled, “They gave him two jars filled with flies. One of many jars they overfed, the opposite jar they underfed. The one they overfed flourished for some time, then all of the flies died from overpopulation. The one they underfed had a lot of the flies survive all yr. I suppose there is a message in there someplace. Evidently that experiment had a big effect on Jerry.”

Jar of Flies finally grew to become one in every of Alice in Chains’ greatest hits and was the primary EP to debut at No. 1 ever on the Billboard 200 Album Chart, promoting 141,000 copies in its first week and was licensed triple platinum. Along with the Grammy nomination for “I Keep Away,” the album additionally obtained a nod for Greatest Recording Bundle. They did not win in both class, however for a group that was by no means presupposed to be something, Jar of Flies exceeded the everybody’s expectations.

See The place Layne Staley Ranks Amongst Our High 66 Laborious Rock + Metallic Frontmen of All Time

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