Metal Wani‘s Carl O’Rourke recently sat down with Alice In Chains bass player Mike Inez. Among the many topics they touched on, Mike spoke about the making of, as well as the response to the bands new album ‘Rainier Fog’, coming back after the untimely passing of original vocalist Layne Staley, living in Ireland with Ozzy Osbourne and much more.
On the bands new record, ‘Rainier Fog’, Mike shared his thoughts on their 2009 comeback to present day.
“With the first two records, the first one, ‘Black Gives Way To Blue’, we didn’t know what to expect and if people were gonna accept us again. We had a full world tour planned at that point, so we were just kind of saying goodbye to Layne [Staley] in a way and kind of discovering where we were on the ‘Black Gives Way To Blue’ record. The second record we did with William [DuVall] was just big sounding, pummelling tones. So on this record we stripped it back a little bit. We recorded it in a little bit of a different way up in Seattle. It’s a more organic feel of an album.”
Asked if he thinks fans find it difficult to adjust to new lineup changes, Mike shared,
“I think it just comes down to the music. If the music is good people are gonna dig it. Of course you’ve got your Layne Staley purists and they just wanna hear those records. The cool thing about that is that those records are out there and you can always have those records, you know? That’s the special thing about music, certain songs are timeless and mean certain things to certain people. I always say that when we finally release a record, it’s not our record anymore. It’s your record! It turns into your life story too, and the soundtrack of your day driving around in your car, or listening at work, or at home.”
Talking on the 90’s Grunge movement,
”It’s funny because like, I don’t think you would talk to any one of the people in those bands like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam or Nirvana, they’ll never use that word Grunge really. It was kind of a marketing tag that other people put on it. It was interesting to watch. Eddie [Vedder] is from San Diego, I’m from Los Angeles, Dave Grohl is from Virginia, we had a strange view to watch it in an outsiders kind of a way. We weren’t playing those clubs early on like the other guys were. The comradery with all those bands was really amazing. They would be very supportive. I think the secret was, all those bands had time to be a band and percolate their styles before they got big record deals and all that. Soundgarden was a band for ten years before they got a major label deal I think.” Mike continued, “ I never thought Soundgarden sounded like Alice In Chains, sounded like Pearl Jam, sounded like Nirvana. I think it was this weird confluence of energies up their in the Pacific North West just jamming and jamming in the rain and that’s what came out of it. You couldn’t have planned that sort of global movement. That kind of thing just kind of happens.”
Reflecting on his time living in Ireland with Ozzy Osbourne, Mike said,
“I love Dublin, it’s one of my favourite cities in the world. My first passport stamp, when I first joined the Ozzy Osbourne band in 1990 was Ireland. I lived in county Wicklow with Ozzy and the guys rehearsing. We did two warm up shows in the now gone McGonagle’s. It was just such a great time for me as a young man to be tripping around Dublin. It was just such a great time.”
Having become a multi-generational band, Mike recalled one of his most recent experiences to highlight this.
“People come up to us like, ‘I made my baby to the ‘Jar Of Flies’ record!’ [Laughs]. I don’t know how to react when people say stuff like that! In fact, last night me and my wife, we were coming home and I stopped at a 7/11 – I walked in and there was an old guy buying a thirty pack of beer, and he had his son with him and his son had a ‘Rainier Fog’ shirt that we only sold at our concert. So he came to the Hollywood Palladium show that we played about two months ago here in L.A. So he recognised me and it was weird, I was I’m talking to two generations of Alice In Chains fans just in line at the 7/11 and they were just super positive. I told my wife it was a good reminder for me that it’s not just us in the studio, it’s everybody else, too. It really affirmed that our lives work is actually reaching some people.”