Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Them Bones

Due to the recent home renovation project at Casa de Umlaut, basically everything had to be moved out of the house and then it all was moved back in. During this process I came across some detritus from my past in boxes and closets. Some of the things were items I thought I had lost, such as this:

It's the tour shirt from Alice In Chains' brief 12-city headlining tour of college campuses in April 1993 in support of the Dirt album. The tour also acted as a warm up for the band's appearance on the Lollapalooza Tour that kicked off a month or so after this trek.

Umlaut saw the April 11, 1993 show at the San Jose State Event Center and it remains one of my favorite shows ever. Dude, I was WAY into Alice In Chains. The thing that makes this shirt so cool is the front design, which features an x-ray of Layne Staley's broken foot and the metal pins that had been placed in it:

"I believe them bones are me.. some say we're born into the grave..."

If I remember correctly, he had broken his foot as the Dirt Tour started when AIC were supporting Ozzy and Layne performed those shows either in a wheelchair or on crutches. By the time this leg (pun intended..) of the tour kicked off his foot had healed and the band's sense of humor about it ruled. Good times. Awhile back, someone posted a bootleg video of the entire San Jose show on YouTube. Click HERE to see what Umlaut lived. 'Angry Chair' > 'Man In The Box' was total fucking godhead that night (see Part 7 of the YouTube videos)...

A little over 2 months after the San Jose State show, Umlaut saw AIC again on the Lollapalooza Tour when it stopped at Shoreline Amphitheater. Another great show that featured Layne giving a shout out to Testament, who were watching the set from the side of the stage. I also remember being fascinated how Jerry Cantrell, instead of handing his guitars to his tech, would literally throw them at the roadie... who caught them every time. Impressive.

Jerry Cantrell > Mike Inez - Lollapalooza '93 Picks
(From the Umlaut Archives)

A year later Umlaut was beyond stoked because 2 of my favorite bands, Metallica and Alice In Chains, were doing a Summer Tour together... AND I had fucking 4th row center seats. However, AIC cancelled off the tour literally 2 days before it started due to Layne's "health problems"... such a bummer.

The Bill That Never Was...
(From the Umlaut Archives)

The next, and final, time Alice In Chains visited San Francisco with Layne was in May 1996 when they performed on The Late Show with David Letterman during Letterman's week-long visit to S.F.. The show was broadcast from The Palace of Fine Arts and rumors were flying all week that AIC were going to play a secret show across town at The Warfield... and Umlaut had the insider friends who were going to get him in.. but alas it never happened.

Two months later Alice In Chains played their final show with Layne (Trivia: In Kansas City supporting KISS)... and I continued on my Music Geek journey while the band sank. Then 6 years later Layne was dead, but by then Alice In Chains were part of my past so it was a sad conclusion to something that I'd left behind years earlier. The End.

Thank dog I never sold my copy of the 1990 'We Die Young' 12" EP, a 3-song record that came out a month before Alice In Chains' debut album. The record is notable because it has the exclusive Non-LP song 'Killing Yourself' (a different demo version was included in the Music Bank box set) and it features THE most fucking eerie and prophetic band photo ever on the cover:

Spooky, right?! It's like the band is looking 12 years into their future..

What? Uhh, yeah I actually do like the new Alice In Chains album... To be honest, I didn't want to like it... because nobody can replace Layne.. but, yeah, I like it.. I've grown to like it alot actually. R.I.P. Layne.