ALICE IN CHAINS bassist Mike Inez spoke to CharlestonScene.com about the fact that some of the band's longtime fans have expressed concern and curiosity about ALICE IN CHAINS pressing ahead with a new frontman following the 2002 death of Layne Staley.
"Layne was such an icon — such an American original with such a distinctive voice," Inez said.
"The courage of [current ALICE IN CHAINS singer] William [DuVall] coming in like this is amazing.
"Layne was one of my favorite vocalists I've ever played with over the years.
"It was tough for William to try to step in at the beginning. I told him early on that the only way to win people over was one gig at a time, face-to-face. He puts his chin out to the audience and gives it his all every night. He's well prepared and works hard.
"We all just blast it out every night now, and it's great."
ALICE IN CHAINS' fifth studio album, "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here", sold 62,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 2 on The Billboard 200 chart. The disc followed up 2009's "Black Gives Way To Blue", which was the group's first all-new collection of material in 14 years.
"The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here" is ALICE IN CHAINS' second album with William DuVall on vocals.
"The big difference between 'Black Gives Way To Blue' and 'The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here' is that we played more than 250 gigs in 43 countries leading up to 'The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here'," Inez said. "We felt like more of a unit, and we had less anxiety about what we were doing. With 'Black Gives Way to Blue', there was a question of 'Are we doing the right thing, playing without Layne? Is this going to work?' It was more natural and comfortable."
Mike also spoke about ALICE IN CHAINS' current North American tour and upcoming shows in Europe with METALLICA.
"We've been rehearsing and breaking in our stage set this month," he said.
"We've been touring through Australia, Singapore, Japan and Europe, so it's really great to be back in the States to play and travel in our own tour bus.
"We're all doing great. It's still just four guys making a lot of racket, and we've got a fantastic crew helping us out.
"It's a blessing for us to be able to travel around the world and have people show up to hear us play."
He continued: "No matter where we play, it's all the same for us, even if we do an acoustic leg of a tour.
"We've played with the heaviest bands and acoustic acts out there, and we just do our thing and live in the moment.
"Every show is different, but we always run into old friends and fans, so it's always a pleasure.
"We've been doing this for more than 25 years, and if we ever get to a point where we don't enjoy it, we'll just stop."