And [now] it’s okay for people to go on stage and f*cking fake the songs. They don’t want the real thing, they don’t want the bad notes, they don’t want somebody who can go up there and sing their own songs, they just want somebody that can do the f*cking flashy dance moves.
It’s not like that element wasn’t there before, but now it seems like that’s all that it is. I mean, that’s not to say that there’s not some great bands out there doing really good music, but the ratio to those other things seems off.
Just this morning I came across a Ryan Adams cover of Alice In Chains’ “Nutshell” at the I Am Fuel You Are Friends blog, and it reminded me just how much I love the song, especially this MTV Unplugged version. Actually, the band’s April 1996 Unplugged performance—their first following a three-year absence from the stage—is probably my favorite Alice in Chains “album” and is loaded with excellent accoustic versions of AIC classics like “Brother,” “Down in a Hole,” “Angry Chair,” and “Would?” Unfortunately this would end up being one of the last Alice In Chains concerts with frontman Layne Staley due to his severe drug addictions, which prompted the band to go on an extended hiatus later that year. Staley eventually succumbed to his addictions in 2002.
Watching this Unplugged footage now gives me an eerie feeling knowing that Staley was about to go into a downward spiral that he would be incapable of coming out of. Lyrics like “And yet I fight this battle all alone; No one to cry to, no place to call home” and “If I can’t be my own, I’d feel better dead” offer a glimpse at the demons that tormented him and give an indication of the loneliness and despair that haunted him and troubled his friends who felt they were helpless to pull him back from the edge.