It took a tragedy and two phone calls to reunite the surviving members of Alice in Chains. Days after the Southeast Asia tsunami, drummer Sean Kinney contacted guitarist Jerry Cantrell and bassist Mike Inez and proposed a benefit to aid the victims of the disaster. They agreed without hesitation.
Along with Damageplan's Pat Lachman and other singers, they will take the stage of Seattle's Premier club on February 18th. The relief concert will also feature fellow Seattleites Krist Novoselic of Nirvana, Ann Wilson of Heart, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Chris DeGarmo of Queensryche and members of world music group Children of the Revolution.
"When something like this happens, you want to help," Kinney says. "I called people up here in the Northwest to see who was available, and Jerry and Mike were the first guys I called."
The show will be Kinney, Cantrell and Inez's first together in nine years - as well as their first without lead singer Layne Staley, who died from a drug overdose in 2002. "Obviously we all needed to take some time and all deal with the situation of the band and Layne's death," says Cantrell.
The three thought Lachman, who lost a bandmate himself in December when guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott was fatally shot in an Ohio nightclub, was a natural choice to join them. "I've known Pat through the Pantera and Damageplan guys for years," Cantrell explains. "We were all down in Dallas to support the family, and we actually played a couple of Alice songs at Dime's memorial, so it made sense."
For the benefit, the reunited group will perform material from the Alice in Chains catalog, and recording new music remains a possibility. "We're just starting with the gig, and we'll see what happens," Cantrell says. "But we can't wait to get into the room together. I've done plenty of [projects] without Sean and Mike, and, as far as having that silent chemistry, nobody really compares.
"If the last couple of months have shown me anything," he continues, "it's that it's still a really dangerous world we live in. You have to put one foot in front of the other . . . and if you look too far down the trail, you'll fall on your face."
Proceeds from the sold-out concert will benefit the global humanitarian organization CARE. Those interested in making donations can do so at care.org.
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