Yo Ho, WeRCatz here!
This September 29th, the second album of rock band Alice in Chains, Dirt, marks 30 years after its initial release. After their triumphant debut album Facelift (1991) which features the tracks “We Die Young” and the acclaimed classic “Man in the Box,” Dirt would propel Alice in Chains to fame. However, this would be the last time that the original lineup would play together as original bassist Mike Starr would be fired in early 1993.
Recorded during the Los Angeles Riots, the band had to leave Los Angeles for a while before returning after the riots settled down. Lead singer Layne Staley quickly went back to using heroin after he checked out of rehab. Drummer Sean Kinney and Mike Starr were battling alcohol addiction. These issues were part of the album’s themes: drug addiction, heroin, depression, death, and war are just some of the main themes. After Dirt’s release, many critics consider this to be the best album in the band’s catalog.
“Rooster” was written by guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell. He wrote it for his father who served in Vietnam; “Rooster” was Cantrell’s father’s childhood nickname by Cantrell’s great-grandfather because of his “cocky” attitude and hair that resembles the rooster’s comb. This brought father and son closer. The music video was pulled from MTV’s rotation and was heavily criticized by Alice in Chains and fans, citing that gangsta rap videos glorified violence and death while “Rooster” portrayed history with realism. This track would be one of the band’s signature songs.
“Them Bones” talks about life and mortality. Simply put, enjoy life but use your time well, and then that’s it. The time signature helps the riff pop out.
“Would?” is dedicated to Cantrell’s friend Andrew Wood. Wood was the lead vocalist for the band Mother Love Bone; Wood died in 1990.
“Angry Chair” is one of the few songs written completely by Staley. This song is part of the band’s repertoire.
I loved this album back when it was released and it stands the test of time. Some of Dirt’s tracks are featured in the MTV Unplugged episode featuring Alice in Chains. This is certainly Alice in Chains’ best effort.