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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Layne Staley

Layne Staley
Marty Temme, WireImage
Late Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley will always be remembered as one of the most influential singers of his era. Despite a roller-coaster ride with drugs, he has left behind a legacy that music fans will never forget. To celebrate what would have been his 44th birthday, we present to you a list of 10 Things You Didn't Know About Layne Staley:


Staley’s music career did not begin as a singer.



At the age of 12 years old, his passion for music was expressed through percussion. He would go on to play drums for some glam-rock acts in his teens.



He sang in a glam-rock band called Sleze.



When Staley did find a passion for singing in his ripe teenage years, he started belting out tunes for an adolescent glam rock band called Sleze. The group played speed-metal Sleze also played on stage in full on drag, and later changed it's name to Alice N' Chainz.



Staley and Jerry Cantrell played in a funk band together.



Staley asked Jerry Cantrell to join a funk band, and in exchange agreed to sing in Cantrell's band with drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Starr. The funk band would break up, but the latter band would go on to become Alice in Chains.



Staley knew his death was near.



In his last known interview, Staley told reporter Adriano Rubio that he knew his time on Earth was running out. “I know I'm near death,” he said. “I did crack and heroin for years. I never wanted to end my life this way. I know I have no chance. It's too late.”



Staley died exactly 8 years after Kurt Cobain.



Although Staley's body was found on April 19, 2002, his death was placed at April 5, exactly eight years to the day that Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain killed himself. In a 1995 interview with Pandemonium, Staley recalled Cobain giving him a lift from a venue to a friend's house in Seattle and talking glowingly about his daughter Frances Bean.



He had a tattoo on his back of a hooded man with his eyes sewn shut.



A tattoo of a mystery man whose eyes are sewn shut was located on the right side of Staley's upper back. The tattoo has a striking resemblance to the hooded figure that appears in the 'Man in the Box' video.



Numerous songs were dedicated to Staley after his death.



Bands such as Cold, Staind, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Zakk Wylde among many others poured their memories and respect for Layne Staley into songs influenced by him after his death.



Staley inspired Metallica’s ‘Death Magnetic’ disc.



Metallica frontman James Hetfield told Guitar World Magazine, “Lyrically, [Death Magnetic] started as a bit of a tribute to Layne Staley and all those who've martyred themselves in the name of rock 'n' roll.”



The late singer was not buried.



Instead of being buried, Staley's family made the decision to cremate him. It is not fully known if his ashes were spread in the ocean or if a family member has them.



There is a memorial gathering for him every year in Seattle.



Every year on (or around) his birthday, Staley is commemorated and remembered. The Layne Staley Fund, started by his mother, Nancy McCallum, honors his memory and the musical gift he left behind.


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