Alice in Chains Frontman Calls New Album a 'Jab at Ultra-Right Religious Conservatives'

"We have seen an aggressive push from the ultra-right wing religious conservatives since the election of President Obama," says singer William DuVall.

logo
Ultimate Guitar
41

The upcoming Alice In Chains record "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here" might come with a bit of an odd title, but it actually conceals a rather interesting story. As you may have read before, the album refers to a religious fundamentalists' belief saying that Satan planted dinosaur bones into the Earth to confuse the believers and deter them from their faith.

After the group's mainman Jerry Cantrell initially revealed the record's background story, singer William DuVall has now given somewhat of a more in-depth analysis of the new album and what it stands for.

"It's actually a comment on intolerance," DuVall tells the Miami New Times. "A gentle or maybe not-so-gentle jab at a certain sector of society that's decided their particular brand of religious conviction should legislate all of our behavior and even our rights as citizens.

"I think, in the last few years, we have seen an aggressive push from the ultra-right wing religious conservative minority in this country, certainly since the election of President Obama. Some of the things we've seen politicians say on national television and in the press ... You can try to have a sense of humor. But at a certain point, it just gets to be like, 'Wow.'"

Although Alice in Chains were never especially known for social commentary, the vocalist thinks that the current situation within the modern society has made the group opt for such a step. And despite "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here" being merely a single song, the decision to turn it into an album title has "put a different kind of emphasis on that message," which DuVall considers as a "good move" and "a step forward for the band."

"There was a great deal of discussion among the four of us about the potential blowback. But we have people being elected to our government who are trying to bar science from being taught to kids in school," said the vocalist. "So not only do we have to deal with the assault on women's reproductive rights and this battle over whether homosexuals even have the right to equal protection under the law, but they actually want to roll back evolution? Didn't we solve this issue about 100 years ago? It's ridiculous."

But the social commentary is not something the band is planning to turn into a regular theme. In singers own words, "Alice in Chains is not about to become some protest band. [laughs] It's not like we're not trying to pick up where Rage Against the Machine left off."

"With this album, it's more of a subtle, tongue-in-cheek, somewhat serious thing. The actual lyric in the song is 'No problem with faith, just fear.' So again, it's about intolerance. We're not going after anybody for having religious faith, whether they be Christian, Muslim, Hindu. It's all fine - until it starts infringing on our rights and trying to control the legislative branch. That is a problem."

"The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here" is ready to drop on May 28 via Virgin/EMI records. As the groups fifth record and a follow-up to 2009's "Black Gives Way to Blue," it is their second album to feature DuVall handling the vocal duties.

115 comments sorted by best / new / date

    jordo246
    There's actually people trying to get science of the curriculum? Wtf world.
    DickHardwood
    That's been an issue in US schools for years now. Doesn't catch on that much in Europe, thankfully.
    matteo cubano
    Trust me, it hasn't come close to happening in the U.S. either. I'm sure there's some tiny group out there trying to to do that, but believe me, they're of no threat and will not succeed. That's why I think making a jab at those people is just kind of a waste of time because it's too easy.
    DickHardwood
    I had the impression that there were schools that taught creationism instead of evolution.
    matteo cubano
    I went to a private Christian high school, they didn't really teach anything like creationism directly, they just taught biology, physics, and chemistry and gave you the facts of science. In a Bible class they may talk about creationism, but in my experience at least, they were extremely open minded and respected people believing what they wanted. There's some schools out there for younger kids who may teach creationism in the sense they tell the Biblical story but then also have science classes that teach facts of modern science in terms of how things work and maybe they'll just leave out learning what evolved into what, eventually if a kid wants to be a scientist he can go to college and learn all that. but trust me, it will never be regulated to take science out of any school in the U.S.
    xero1123
    To set the record straight, the Catholic church supports the theory of evolution and Pope John Paul II issued a statement saying that there can never be conflict between science and religion. The problem is that you have all these crazy protestant fundamentalists and pretend Catholics who are pushing these ideas. For the record, I went to Catholic gradeschool, Catholic High school, and am going to be graduating from a Catholic university in about two weeks. While in grade school, they taught us that God created us, but never made any claims such as the earth was only 6000 years old. I learned adaptation and evolution in 5th grade, with no religious censorship. I'm getting a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology, a program which is basically devoid of religious opinion here at my school. Even in high school we learned about evolution. TL;DR Its a minority of crazy right wing fundamentalists (mostly) protestants that have this view. Not all religious schooling is bad.
    HolyDiver1118
    That was my experience as well xero1123. Catholics seem like they're much more science-friendly than more of the protestant groups which interpret the Bible literally
    UncleBluck
    There are in several states including Texas. matteo does not know what he is talking about...
    samhell
    Its not happening in the religious sense (teaching creationism instead of evolution) but it is happening in the sense of they teach feelings over science. Its more important that the kid feels good about his answers on a quiz vs actually getting the correct answer. We care less about science and more about self esteem. I notice kids getting out of school have their self esteem crushed when seeking employment because they can't do basic math or know even the most basic science. But hey, as long as they feel good about themselves right?
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    and that's the cause of the Democrat controlled public education system, the fundies are not a threat, they have no power.
    Breakingpoint56
    Lets not go there. The system has been in decline for years. Education needs reformed completely. Teach more varied subjects earlier.
    eiron_y
    You must not be from where I'm from, then lol. Aside from my high school biology teacher refusing to teach evolution, Tennessee passed a Creationism bill last year, Oklahoma passed one in February, and many other major pieces of legislation are being proposed all across the U.S. on a perpetual basis. You're correct in saying that it's a tiny group, it's just that the tiny group is in a position of power is some places.
    suicidehummer
    Actually, they may be a minority, but they have the full support of the Republican party. They back every idea, no matter how extreme-right it is because you can never be too conservative (to them). And this is a real threat because they are the ones with the money and power. There are many school districts where they're trying to force through the teaching of creationism, that's how the flying spaghetti monster thing started. I would have no problem with them if they would base their views on reality, rather than try to decieve people and warp reality to fit their views (ahem, Fox News).
    DisarmGoliath
    Not sure why this (suicidehummer's comment) got downvotes, from what I understand it's pretty accurate.
    Sammy Mantis
    I went to a Catholic school in the US and we were taught evolution in our Biology classes, and that was years ago, so I'm not sure exactly where this is taking place if it is at all.
    Firehawk2410
    Same here. But the Catholic Church is irrelevant to this. In fact, they invest a lot of money in scientific research hoping to prove these warped people wrong someday. The problem lies in small independent Protestant conservative groups who (not always) usually identify as "baptists" and take the Bible 100% literally, and they refuse to believe any scientific findings because they believe it is a malicious attack on religion sent by Satan. I think it just makes them feel better about themselves if they can find an excuse to say most of the world other than them is evil.
    rocker222
    There is always some type of issue with a us school. We have nothing better to do but complain about stupid shit.
    AaronianKenrod
    What a horrible and backwards world it would became if it succeeded. If America seriously ends up getting rid of science it'll lose a hell of a lot of money from stuff like car/tech production. Everyone else will move forward and America would only have like...produce and stuff.
    Mr Winters
    These religious nuts apparently don't understand that science is what has made what the world is today possible.
    AaronianKenrod
    I once saw someone on Facebook say that science was just people "****ing up the world". Someone wrote this on a computer, built by science, on the Internet, built by science, on what was either probably a mac or pc (both created by atheists via science) and written on Facebook (created by science and an atheist). Do they think god just 'wills' these things into existence? Why didn't he create the Internet 2000 years ago so everyone in the world could see proof of Jesus?
    justtryme90
    Not all scientists are athiests. Source: I am a scientist, and I know many other scientists. Religion in fact has not always shunned science either, its only a slightly more modern invention in human history in which religion decided to be incompatible with science.
    AaronianKenrod
    I never said they were dude - read my post, I highlighted the three people who are atheist: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg.
    MrDo0m
    No one can see "proof" of Jesus.. I think that's kind of the point.
    MrDo0m
    science [sahy-uh ns] (noun) - systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation. Pretty sure you can't just "get rid of that."
    rebreh
    I would favor this as it would make science much easier. God would be the only answer.
    Braykah
    Well said by William. Religion has no place whatsoever in how a country should be run, just let each and everyone have their own faith as long as they don't try to force it on anyone else.
    Nero Galon
    Even the extremists of Islam rely on science for their bombs and weapons etc. Just saying...
    Gantz92
    A rock band criticizing religious conservatives. What else is in the news UG? Mustaine saying something crazy?
    Mr Winters
    I'm ok with this. Right wing religious zealots should just fu ck off to Mars or some other place far away and leave us alone.
    SocksAndTrees
    It really annoys me that atheists (Not all, just a lot that I've seen)act like all religious people are absolutely insane for believing in something contrary to their belief. That being said, it's also ****ing stupid that religious people (Again) act the same. People need to learn that their opinion isn't the only thing in he world.
    EyesWideOpen
    What are you talking about? Who's acting like all religious people are insane? Certainly not the guy from the article. Did you ever bother to read it?
    SocksAndTrees
    I said nothing about the article, which I did read, by the way. I was referring to a common attitude I've seen among atheists (and religions as well)
    saint_berzerker
    Nice, Jerry....take 1 kook's opinion and demonize an entire belief system that billions of people have had for thousands of years. I've been a Christian all my life and have never heard such nonsense w/ the dinosaur bones. I believe in science, as millions of Christians do.
    EyesWideOpen
    He isn't taking a potshot at every Christian. Only the extreme ones. Stop playing the victim, crying at imagined insults.
    mnewland1
    But I wonder why Christians? why take potshots at any Christians? if he wants to mock and piss off a religion, how about the crazy ****ing Muslims that have been wreaking havok around the world in recent times? Oh yeah that's right, he's a pussy and he picks his battles accordingly.
    RunsWithXissors
    He's not mocking any religion. Just zealots who want to force everyone to believe what they believe. As far as I'm concerned, they're just as crazy as the Ancient Aliens true-believers. And I like that show!
    mnewland1
    He's going after a VERY small minority of people that want such ridiculous things as abolishment of science in American classrooms. Probably 99% of Americans don't think this way. The other 1% are either religious based or are the kind of morons who lie to curve the grade in inner city schools. Its just kind of a boring subject to "take a stand against", and all too predictable.
    mlukeroberts222
    In a day and age where a lot of music is stale and watered down with little to no messages, it is refreshing to see a band of AIC's stature taking on an issue that means so much to a substantial number of people.
    matteo cubano
    Lol, this the most unoriginal message any rock band could come up with though. I would be shocked if a band came out with a conservative based message of any sort in a rock song, trust me you wouldn't be saying it was refreshing to see a band taking on an issue.
    FireReaverX
    Oh. When I read "Alice in Chains frontman," I thought this was going to be about something Jerry Cantrell said. Whatever. Anyway, I hope DuVall is right. This better not become a regular theme. Stick to what you're good at and keep the lyrics personal, Alice. I doubt this song will be as powerful as "God Am" or "A Little Bitter".
    LazyHardRocker
    "We're not going after anybody for having religious faith, whether they be Christian, Muslim, Hindu. It's all fine - until it starts infringing on our rights and trying to control the legislative branch. That is a problem."
    If only the religious right and their persecution complex would understand that.
    guitarist5477
    Right Wing Religious Zealots are just as much a threat as their complete opposite with that being Left Wing Athiest Zealots, bands need to have songs against both groups, and Alice In Chains would be cool if they ridiculed both sides.
    Second Rate
    Too true, I think this Duvall jackass would do well to acquaint himself with the "religious left" as well. They are just as frightening (if not more so) as the religious right "neocon" types.
    Alcofuel
    Except our "ruling class", or what is trying to be our "ruling class" is whackjob right wingers who believe corporations are more important than people. If it was the other way around you'd probably see more music against the other side.
    guitarist5477
    The ruling class has people with interests in both sides, cept the right wing is always crucified through mass media more than any other. Its like when you only hear stories of tragedies such as as plane crash killing many in the news, but not as much of the times when a plane crashes but people survive. One just makes a better news story, and/or scapegoat. You don't hear it against the other side because its a generality/true stereotype that most musicians support more leftist ideas.
    RunsWithXissors
    The right-wing DESERVES to be crucified for what they've done, and for allowing the vocal nutjobs to hijack the Republican Party. (To give you an idea of my politics, here's who I voted for since I turned 18: wasn't old enough to vote for Reagan, but I would have; Bush 1; Bush 1; Clinton; Gore; Kerry; Obama; Obama. And no, I'm not happy with Obama. Lesser of 2 evils.)
    onkel44
    word william! democracy yes! fascist theocracy no!
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    America is a constitutional republic
    RunsWithXissors
    No, America is country full of a bunch of sheep & cattle who will follow just about any loudmouth idiot as long as: 1. it doesn't interfere with their next trip to McDonald's 2. they agree with whatever stupid, controlling politics are being spewed by said loudmouth idiot, or if he's "cute" 3. it doesn't require any effort or actual thinking 4. they're lying, but lying LOUDLY & repeatedly Unfortunately, I'm an American. An embarrassed American. I'm leaving this jacked-up country just as soon as my house sells. No amount of rational activism & intelligent thought can get through the garbage shouted by the people who want to keep their power. FOX "News" and their ilk have totally screwed this country and there are FAR too many people who believe them. TL;DR You have your OWN brain, use it.
    getawaygman
    tired of all this liberal musician bullshit. josh homme is conservative, so it's not all of them
    Wishort
    seriously. You're not alone bro. I feel ya. Instead of giving logical arguments and being truly as open minded as they claim, they name-call and criticize. There's inconsistencies on both sides, but it gets to a point where it's just childish.
    M3AK
    While I consider myself a liberal I do agree that your point about liberals not being as open minded as they claim is 100% valid. Opening lines to Pantera's Primal Concrete Sledge: There's a double standard to the way we live...
    Alcofuel
    That didn't happen in this article. Being open minded and tolerant has never meant tolerating intolerance or not calling people on their bullshit. If it did a lot of progress never would have been made.
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    the funniest part is always that Johnny Ramone was a conservative, fun fact that would cause most liberal punk bands heads to explode if they knew.
    Alcofuel
    Funny how a lot of the punk community doesn't really care about bands like Ramones, Sex Pistols, etc. Not calling them bad. But I don't think bands like From Ashes Rise and Martyrdod really give a shit.
    mnewland1
    Wow. Very original Cantrell. Folks this is an unprecedented event! Seriously, if there is an easier more popular pop-shot target besides white, Christian conservatives, someone please fill me in. The album does pretty much suck though, so I guess that those target individuals could take comfort in that.
    bmarlatt1685
    "Alice in Chains Frontman Calls New Album a 'Jab at Ultra-Right Religious Conservatives" As much as I love Alice in Chains, this crazy, racist, libertarian Christian doesn't give a rat's ass. Just make a great rock album.
    daverolston
    F**ckin leave it to UG to start a conversation or argument on religion! Guitarist using Ultimate Guitar should be reading about guitars. Peace. "One Love, One Heart, Lets get together and feel alright"
    jhart08
    This band really has a level head on them, and I admire that. No problem with faith. Class act, that Alice in Chains!!!
    Knox87
    If there is a God, and if this God is All Powerful, He could just use his power to defy human logic and science altogether. Thus making it impossible for us to understand him. Of course it makes no sense, if this God is all powerful and all knowing, why the hell would he abide by the rules of mortal human logic and science?
    fanA7X6661
    I was taught in my public university that science is the understanding of the natural world. Totally separate from religion.
    AaronianKenrod
    But the problem with that is that science can sometimes disprove something fundemental. For example: - Science has proven the creation story from the bible wrong. - Without the creation story there is no Adam and Eve and Garden of Eden. - Without Adam and Eve there is no 'original sin'. - Without original sin there is no reason for Jesus to have died for us. - Without Jesus' sacrifice a major part of Christianity is lost.
    fanA7X6661
    How has science prove something that happened potentially billions of years ago? The explosion of everything from nothing violates fundamental scientific principles so don't tell me the Big Bang is fundamental.
    Kueller917
    The positive about science is not always that it has the answers, but how it arrives at the answers. The Big Bang Theory is a theory, but it wasn't just pulled out of nowhere, it was arrived at after observation and analysis. That's sort of the big divider between science and religion, since for the most part religion doesn't arrive at answers through reasoning but rather used its stories as a way to teach universal moral lessons.
    eiron_y
    By rigorous observation and study - that's how. The Big Bang Theory makes the most accurate predictions of the expansion and formation of the early universe (google Cosmic Background Radiation) we've found. That's why it is almost universally (pun) accepted by experts in astrophysics - the theory makes predictions, and observations affirm those predictions. Also, it wasn't an explosion, and it does not make predictions stemming from nothing.
    fanA7X6661
    Predictions. Keep in mind, the big bang is a theory, meaning that is hasn't been proven. Again, the most accurate to based on events from billions of years ago. Sounds trustworthy. Keep working on that time machine.
    Vypor
    @FanA7X Why don't you test out the THEORY of gravity for us and let us know how accurate/inaccurate it is? Eh?
    EyesWideOpen
    XfanA7X6661, you REALLY need to look up what a scientific theory is. There is a big difference between just any theory and a scientific theory. Do you accept that atoms exist? Atomic theory. Do you believe that germs exist? Germ theory.
    AaronianKenrod
    Because evolution is fact? I'm talking about something religiously fundemental.
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    evolution is a theory, dude, look it up, stop going to reddit for recycled myths. big difference between facts and theories.
    AaronianKenrod
    I don't go to reddit. I read science books. Evolution is a SCIENTIFIC theory, meaning it's only taken seriously if it fits the evidence, and it has done for about 150 years.
    RunsWithXissors
    You're using "theory" wrong. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionar... The SCIENTIFIC usage is definitions 1, 3 & 5. Stop listening to useless morons with an agenda (FOX "News", idiot racist Tea-Partiers, ultra-conservatives that can't handle the fact that the world is constantly changing, etc. These people are only trying to protect their outdated worldviews & sell ads. Quit being a sheep. You have proven the ability to use the internet just by posting here. Maybe you should use it to look up some facts (yes, they're out there, even on the internet) In case you don't want to bother clicking that: Definition of THEORY 1: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another 2: abstract thought : speculation 3: the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art 4a : a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action b : an ideal or hypothetical set of facts, principles, or circumstances often used in the phrase in theory 5: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena 6a : a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation b : an unproved assumption : conjecture c : a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject
    HolyDiver1118
    I approve of your attention to detail in supporting your point about scientific theories. However, I try to not be mean or spiteful about it even if it is a group of people that I disagree with
    RunsWithXissors
    Yeah, that was a little mean, and I apologize. Bad day. (Although, and I'm not saying KerNeL_KLuTcH is one of them, I REALLY don't mind being mean to tea-party types or any radical, regardless of what they're being radical about. I'm disgusted with those racist old f**ks & how they hijacked American politics. I used to consider myself a slightly -conservative moderate. Those idiots dragged the whole political spectrum to the right & now I feel like a socialist, and my ideology hasn't really changed that much.) Back on topic: I tend to blame the media. They've, with exceptions, rarely made a point of what THEORY means when talking about science. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who think it just means "an unproven idea". Which then causes misunderstandings with everyone else, and ultra-conservatives & the ultra-religious run with that. Then we end up with politicians that actually believe the bible LITERALLY (Or more likely, pretend to. Gotta keep that highly vocal minority happy). Effing drives me nuts.
    EyesWideOpen
    I utterly agree with everything this guys said. I've never listened to this band but because of the subject matter and because of the fact that he clearly knows what he's talking about I'll check it out.
    tonello
    This kind of stuff pisses me off. I don't care what your politics are, but don't bring them into the music. Your songs are not a platform for political stances.
    Braykah
    And who are you to decide? Since when are you considered a part of AIC? They are free to do whatever they want with their music; if you don't like it, let it be and look for another band that satisfies you. Besides, I think it would be stupid not to use the publicity and fame of their and all other huge musicians' position to bring consciousness to social and political issues. If only more artists followed their example...
    Skyvalve2012
    I may be partially religious, but I support evolution as what made Adam and Eve in the first place. God set off big bang, 12 billion years or 7 days later, here they are. And AIC, thank you, because I loathe conservatism. And I loathe how America is today.
    jbounds71
    Strangely no religious legislative controls anything in this Country. Unless you consider Liberalism a religion because it is what controls everything in America, not actual religion.