Alice in Chains: 'We're Not a Band Designed For the Masses'

"We're still old school, man," says drummer Sean Kinney.

Ultimate Guitar

According to drummer Sean Kinney, Alice In Chains were never a band with "too big of a mission."

During a recent chat with Brave Words, Kinney made it clear that the Seattle four-piece always did things their way, in a manner they found appropriate at the moment, focusing on nothing but the songs.

"You always want people to dig what you're doing, but we're kind of ... we're not a band designed for the masses, and we've learned that long ago," the drummer said. "So we try live up to our standards of our bar that we set for ourselves, and if we don't think we have it, I don't think we'd be talking right now."

The stickman elaborated further, pointing out that the current moment is all the band cares for when it comes to making music. In his own words, Alice in Chains never wanted to recapture any of the previous releases, such as their quintessential 1992 effort "Dirt."

"It's not like we're trying to, 'We need to recapture 'Dirt!'' You know, I already made that f--king record," Kinney said. "And as far as I'm concerned, I love all the records we've done, but we lived that sh-t. I don't want to relive it. Not all of us survived it. We did that a long time ago, and this is where we are now, and this is what we sound like, and this is what we are interested in. It's really a lot easier than people probably think."

The tension seemed to rise as the drummer continued, saying, "I mean that may sound kind of stupid, but that's our decision. We can live with that: 'Oh, that didn't work out the way we wanted it to.' We can live with that. We would have a harder time living with listening to some guy who sells widgets trying to tell us what the f--k to do. And that's a real factor in a majority, good chunk of bands that you hear out there.

"Take your record, and some A&R guy who learned the first ... you know, he's got a guitar in his office and he learned the first part of 'Stairway to Heaven' wrong, and is telling these people who are creating music, that, you know, he's not hearing it. 'You need another song like your last song!'"

As the chat was closing to its end, Kinney concluded: "We're still old school, man. We still really record records; we don't play with it too much. When we play live, we don't have any tracks ever playing ever. And we kind of take pride in that [laughs]."

The latest Alice in Chains record, "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here," dropped on May 28 via Capitol Records as the group's fifth studio effort. With a total of 12 new tracks, it became their second album to feature singer William DuVall handling the vocal duties.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The new album is great. They've been making unique music for a lot of years and I hope they keep going for a long time.
    Just got The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, so far it's amazing. As the usual. Fuck the masses! People don't understand the Alice In Chains magic! Such a shame... Dirt is a one time masterpiece, Alice In Chains at their best, put it's not like the albums after are terrible... I'm proud to own all five Alice In Chains albums, 2 EP's, an unplugged show, Layne's side project and both Jerry's solo career albums. The guys never let me down.
    Big respect to these guys. They speak a whole lot of truth and their integrity remains intact because of it. I'm only a casual fan of Alice In Chains but I'll be buying their new record because they truly are one of the few remaining pure rock bands.
    I love AIC, but it seems every news story from them is some down-beat, negative statement from the band or one of the guys. I realize the current state of music IS depressing... now please, some positivity!
    Whoa-whoa-whoa. Does it mean that the "old-school" stuff is not for the masses?
    He was talking about the way they work as old-school, not really going for the big fame stuff or worrying about masses liking them. His whole A&R guy example rang pretty true by the way, I think that's a main reason on why so many bands repeat the shit out everything good they made.
    I understand, but... What if the band's just trying to get closer to their fans?
    Their fans are the ones who like their music so...the only thing that should be required to get "closer" to their fans is for them to write a record they think is good. It's a joke to try and predict what someone who isn't you will find "good", and then write music based on that.
    Vicryl 2.0
    thats how bands become boring and repeat themselves cause their too afraid they loose fans.
    Read the article. It's a different matter on getting closer to fans. They want to stay true to themselves, making music of their liking, and not of the fans'.