Ex-Alice in Chains Bassist Starr Talks Cobain, Staley on "Rehab"


Last season of Celebrity Rehab, we were fretting over the fate of former Guns n' Roses drummer Steven Adler, who often recalled his good ol' days with Axl Rose and Co. and complained about Slash not inviting him to drum on his upcoming solo album. This season's resident rocker-in-peril is ex-Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr, who was the focus of last week's episode as he tried to work out his guilt related to the death of the band's frontman Layne Staley. But AIC's Jerry Cantrell isn't impressed with Dr. Drew's reality-rehab program. "I think it's a real travesty and a shame to put people in a really vulnerable situation like that and make it entertainment for people to see," he told an Atlanta radio station (per Blabbermouth). "[Mike is] a friend of ours, and we wish him the best. But that show's not really cool."

Starr gets Dr. Drew's attention and major screen time by admitting the death of Staley haunts him. When asked why he's constantly wearing headphones, Starr tells a rehab specialist, "My singer dies, and the only way I can hear him is through this... It takes me back to when Layne was alive." He later claims Kurt Cobain and Staley helped introduce him to heroin. Saying he was only 20 when Alice in Chains formed, Starr admits he was a casual drug user then, but Staley traveled on his own bus "because he was using heroin." "The day they kicked me out ... Cobain shot me up, because we were playing with Nirvana and the Chili Peppers. Layne shot me up first, couple of times, then Kurt shot me up, and then Layne shot me up the same night I died for 11 minutes."

Later, Staley's mom Nancy accompanies Starr and the other recovering celebrity addicts on a day-long retreat, where she delivers a brief speech about her son's troubled life. "I always believed because he was smart, he had the money, he had the time, he'd been to treatment 13 times, he'd been to emergency three times, he'd died three times — I knew he had what it took. And still it took him out. You don't have to live a fantastic, incredible celebrity life. You want a boring, predicable life. And you can't believe how rich that is until you're in it." She then faced Starr directly, and he told her about the last time he saw Staley alive.

"I wish I would have called 911, he told me if I did, he'd never talk to me again," Starr said. "I wish I hadn't been on high on benzodiazepine. I went over to his house, and he just said, 'I'm sick, I'm sick.' I said I'd come back. I went home and I blacked out on benzodiazepine for a whole two weeks. He said he wanted to be alone ... he said it was because I was too high. I got mad at him, I said, 'I'll just leave' and his last words were were 'not like this.' And I just left. I can't believe that. I'm so ashamed."

Staley's mom tries to give Starr closure, and says Layne never sought help "because he was embarrassed. A beautiful man, a huge talent had squandered his life. And that's not a judgment — it's just a statement of fact."

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