LAMONT’S MUSIC NOTES-APR 19, 2019- ON THIS DATE IN 2002, LAYNE STALEY OF ALICE AND CHAINS WAS FOUND DEAD IN HIS APARTMENT IN SEATTLE WASHINGTON. AFTER NO ONE HAD HEARD FROM HIM FOR 2 WEEKS, POLICE WERE CALLED IN TO BREAK DOWN THE DOOR TO HIS APARTMENT. INSIDE THEY FOUND STALEY’S BODY SURROUNDED BY DRUGS, SQUALOR AND DRUG PARAPHERNALIA. STALEY’S 6’1” BODY WAS REDUCED TO 86 POUNDS, AND IN HIS HAND WAS A SYRINGE LOADED WITH ANOTHER DOSE OF HEROIN AND COCAINE. THE AUTOPSY AND TOXICOLOGY REPORT PLACED THE DATE OF HIS DEATH, WHICH WAS RULED ACCIDENTAL, AT APRIL 5. LAYNE STALEY DIED AT THE AGE OF 34.
I READ A GREAT ARTICLE ON STALEY’S LAST DAYS IN “GUITAR WORLD” MAGAZINE. THEY TALKED TO RANDY BIRO, A MUSICIAN WHO CONTRIBUTED VOCALS TO ALICE IN CHAINS ‘JAR OF FLIES’ EP. BIRO WAS AT A PARTY AND SOMEONE TOLD HIM THAT LAYNE STALEY WANTED TO SEE HIM. HERE’S HIS RECOLLECTION OF THAT EVENT:
“Great, where is he?”
“He’s right behind you.”
Biro turned around. “I’m looking past this really skinny, fucked-up looking guy trying to see where Layne is, and it was Layne. I felt really awkward.”
“He had a baseball cap on, he had glasses down to the end of his nose, and not very many teeth. It shocked me at first. It looked like death. It was gross.” Jim Elmer doesn’t know exactly when Layne’s tooth loss started, but thinks it was around 1995 or 1996 and said it was a gradual process.
Layne invited Biro to check out his condo, which was around the corner from the bar. He described Layne as being very proud about his home. Layne had a massive rear-projection TV. “The fucking thing was huge. I’d never seen a TV that big. He had gotten it through the label some way, and all he did was sit there and get high and play video games all day.”
Biro, who was clean, asked, “Wow, have you got anything?”—referring to drugs.
“Yeah, but I’m not gonna give it to you.”
“Because you’re clean. I’m not gonna be part of this. If you need to go do that, you do it somewhere else. I don’t want to be part of it. I don’t want you to end up like me again.” That was the last time Biro saw him.
LAYNE STALEY’S DEATH WAS SUCH A WASTE OF TALENT AND ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF A GREAT MUSICIAN THAT DIED WAY TOO YOUNG.
HERE’S STALEY WITH ALICE IN CHAINS AND THE VIDEO FOR ‘DOWN IN A HOLE’