Alan Sculley of EastValleyTribune.com recently spoke to ALICE IN CHAINS guitarist Jerry Cantrell about the group's decision to reunite after drummer Sean Kinney recruited Cantrell and bassist Mike Inez to play at a 2005 concert to benefit victims of the Indonesian tsunami.
With several singers — including TOOL's Maynard James Keenan, Ann Wilson of HEART and Pat Lachtman of DAMAGEPLAN — filling the role of Layne Staley on various songs, the concert marked the first time the surviving members of ALICE IN CHAINS had played together in eight years.
"That kind of fed the seed," Cantrell said. "It was really just getting up onstage and going, 'Yeah, that was pretty good. That wasn't too bad. That felt great.' So it feels really good to be together again."
Cantrell isn't discounting the possibility that the reunion might lead to new music.
"We still are that band, and unfortunately we went through what we went through, losing our friend Layne [who passed away in 2002]," he said. "But people all throughout life go through a lot of loss and continue on. . . . It's more to me about traveling through that kind of experience and moving on with your life. That's part of what this is about as well as celebrating the music we made and our life with our friend."
According to Cantrell, he and his bandmates have never dwelled on the past or what might have been for ALICE IN CHAINS.
"Hey, man, it is what it is," he said. "We were fortunate enough to do what we did, and we aren't any different, obviously, than anybody else. We've gone through our struggles and losses, and we also climbed some serious peaks and achieved, and we've walked through life like men. It's been a good thing. I've got nothing to regret. Of course, it would be great if my buddy was here, but I didn't have a choice in that.
"Sometimes you just get dealt a bad hand," Cantrell said. "You play it out and stick around to play another instead of copping out. That's the best I can put it."