While we mostly know legendary albums in their final form, the decisions about what ultimately goes into a record aren’t always so cut and dried. Such was the case for Alice in Chains and their Dirt album, which turns 30 today (Sept. 29). As revealed by Sean Kinney and Jerry Cantrelltwo of the album’s key tracks might not have made the cut had it not been for some arm-twisting by the singer Layne Staley.
The two tracks in question were “Hate to Feel” and “Angry Chair”, the latter of which turned out to be one of the band’s biggest hits. And like the two living musicians from Alice’s Dirt era reveal, Staley was initially not keen on the idea of the songs being used for Alice in Chains.
“Layne started playing guitar more and he had these riffs and I don’t know if he really wanted to use them with the band,” Kinney shared Billboard. “I think he was thinking of some other shit. But I remember us just thinking how cool they were and wanting to jam to them. So we ended up developing them as songs and put them on the record. “
Cantrell adds, “Layne came into his own as a guitarist and he wrote some great tunes on the guitar with ‘Hate to Feel’ and ‘Angry Chair.’ I love those tunes and I also love the fact that he got the bug to pick up the guitar. I remember he showed us those tunes and he thought about making them into a record on his own. He was a big fan of Nine Inch Nails and Ministry and the whole industrial movement and it was songs he pocketed for it.”
But after sharing the tracks, the response from his bandmates pushed the singer to include them for Alice. “He played them for us and we were all like, ‘Fuck, they’re cool. We should do that.’ And he reluctantly agreed,” Cantrell recalls. “And we cut them and it turned out to be two great songs , that certainly suited the record.”
As it turned out, “Angry Chair” was one of five major radio singles from Dirt album. The record peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, while he eventually stayed certified 5 times platinum by the RIAA in the United States
“Hate to Feel” and “Angry Chair” are back-to-back in the track listing on the album, serving as the final two cuts prior to album closer “Would?” Listen to both below.
Alice in Chains, “Hate to Feel”
Alice in Chains, “Angry Chair”
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary Dirt album, Alice in Chains releases a massive 30th anniversary box set expected to ship at the end of October. The band has also spent time on the road this summer with Breaking Benjamin and Bush, and tickets for the remaining shows are available here.