In 2009, Alice In Chains fans were treated to "Black Gives Way To Blue", the band's first new album in 14 years.
Singer Layne Staley's addictions, and his eventual death in 2002, made it a difficult task for the remaining members guitarist Jerry Cantrell, bassist Mike Inez and drummer Sean Kinney to pick up the pieces and get the band back on its legs.
The addition of singer William Duvall to the lineup in 2005 put Alice back on track, with the band returning to live shows with the full support of fans and fellow musicians.
Cantrell recently took part in an ESPN chat to discuss "Alice In Chains & Friends Fantasy Football Charity League"; he was asked about the band's return.
"It was good. Geez, we started playing in 2005 and doing some shows," said Cantrell. "It kind of grew into something a lot larger than we anticipated. It was all good. Some of the best things in life are those that are unexpected. To recreate ourselves without losing our identity and having the fans support us through that and have the quality of music come out like it did. Transitioning from the old lineup of the band and moving on, it was a lot. It's a career worth of changes in 6-7 years. It's nice to have a second life and we're in the midst of that."
With the 2009 release behind them, Alice is moving forward with work on a new album, but are keeping their options open in terms of the timeline for the project.
"Whenever we're done," Jerry says. "Schedules in music, I know people have done it and say you need an album out by this date and you're talking about album tour, it can burn you out quickly. It did with our band. We've been fortunate to be partnered up with companies that respect the process. We're never really forced to make music. If it doesn't happen, then it doesn't. We've been writing a lot. I also had shoulder surgery earlier this year. I'm at the tail end of rehabbing that. That put us back a little bit. But we have some stuff. We'll do some writing. Hopefully we'll have it out next year. We'll put it out when we feel that it's worth putting out."
Alice recently played show in Chile and Brazil, and the guitarist raved about the experience.
"We did that a few weeks ago. We hadn't been down there since '93," says Cantrell. "We did two shows there. This time we got a chance to go to another country. The people there were so nice. The crowds were great. We played with a lot of our buddies and guys we admire. I got to go golfing in Santiago. It was beautiful. The course was right below the mountain range there. I didn't bring my clubs or shoes. People are shorter down there, so I'm just wacking it all over the place. I'm golfing in my Chuck Taylors. By the 13-14 hole, my feet are killing me. The shows were great, the people were exceptionally nice. I'd love to get back."
You can check out the full Alice set from Chile here.
Alice In Chains Check My Brain (live @ BBC, Later with Jools Holland, November 13, 2009):