Back in June, Alice in Chains guitar mastermind Jerry Cantrell said that Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello taught late AiC singer Layne Staley some guitar stuff, telling Eddie Trunk:
“Layne was a pure singer that kind of learned how to play guitar. I remember when we were on Lollapalooza, him hanging out with Morello and stuff, and [Tom] teaching him a few chords.
“He wrote a couple of the greatest guitar riffs we ever did: ‘Angry Chair,’ ‘Hate to Feel,’ and ‘Head Creeps.'”
And now, during a recent Q&A hosted by The Guardian, Tom was asked about this, among other things. You can check out some of the highlights below.
Is it true you taught Layne Staley to play guitar – was he a good student?
“That is not true! And I suspect he would not have been a good student… Layne was a very smart, very funny person with a great, self-deprecating humor. We would often argue about which was more metal than the other, and I miss him a lot.”
Who did you learn to play guitar from? And what made you experiment with sounds so much?
“I am a self-taught guitar player. I took two lessons when I was 13 years old, hated them so much that I put the guitar in the closet for four years. I began playing at 17 because punk rock music made me realize I could do it too.
“I then began practicing up to eight hours a day trying to ape my favorite shredders: Randy Rhoads, Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen. After amassing considerable technique, I realized that I did not have my own voice on the instrument, and began practicing the eccentricities in my playing.
“At the formation of RATM, I had the revelation that I was the DJ in the band – and the blinders came off. I felt like there were no sonic boundaries to what I could explore on the guitar.”