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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Q&A with Alice In Chains’ William DuVall

By Jonathan Williams

William DuVall has been a fixture on Atlanta’s underground rock scene since the ’80s, first as a punker and later, in the ’90s, as a member of hard rock acts Madfly and Comes with the Fall.

After the 2002 death of Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley, guitarist Jerry Cantrell set out on his own, taking Comes with the Fall on tour not only as the opening act, but also as his backing band. DuVall eventually was asked to perform with Alice in Chains in a series of  shows that ended up being a tour of 23 countries in 2006. Though he’s been performing with the band since 2005, his inclusion on last year’s “Black Gives Way to Blue” legitimizes his place in the pioneering grunge metal band. As Alice in Chains comes to town for two sold-out performances, DuVall discusses his musical career and Atlanta’s rock scene.

Q: The shoes of Layne Staley are obviously big shoes to fill. Having already performed with Alice in Chains, did you have to audition for the part? Was there an official decision to find a new singer and have a reunion of sorts?

A: My first time singing songs like “Would?” was on Cantrell’s “Degradation Trip” tour in 2001 and 2002. I was playing guitar and standing stage left, but I was singing the same stuff I’m singing now. So our synergy was discovered and fortified then.

Playing shows for months at a time [in 2005 and 2006] really galvanized us as a unit, and at that point we were a band with our own collective chemistry. It’s been four years and city after city, country after country, people want to come with us.

Q: At what point did you start writing songs together?

A: That happened pretty much right from the beginning, on the road. During sound checks, long bus rides, in hotel rooms, music is being created. I’ve always been a main songwriter in any band I’ve been in, so I’m always coming up with stuff, as is [the rest of the band]. So by the time we finished touring in ‘07, we had a mountain of ideas, and that’s what we took into the studio with us.

Q: When you’re not on tour, you’re still seen at local shows from time to time. Who are some of your favorite local bands?

A: Dirty Pollyanna is a new band, but I’m excited about what they’re doing and their potential. Nico Constantine, the guitar player, is the visionary of that band, and he’s an old friend of mine. He was in Comes with the Fall when it first started, [and] he had a band called Program the Dead and I actually produced a couple of their records.

I’ll go see Dropsonic, too, no matter what’s going on. I’ve been around the world several times and I’ve never seen a band better than Dropsonic. A band like that should have a scene around it like Soundgarden did in Seattle. But I don’t see that happening unfortunately.

Outkast and Usher and all that is real cool, but we’ve always had great rock musicians. I’ve seen generations of them come and go and be ignored. Everybody that ended up doing anything unfortunately really did have to leave Atlanta to do it.

6 comments Add your comment

Pete

February 18th, 2010
8:49 am

I love the last line “Everybody that ended up doing anything unfortunately really did have to leave Atlanta to do it.”

I guess they didn’t realize that all they had to do to make it in Atlanta is get a “grille”, wear some heavy gold chains, rap about your “homies” & gun collections, refer to women as “bitches” and “ho’s”, and get arrested. And if you really want platinum sales make sure to do some jail time. The AJC will cover that on the front page on their website, giving you serious street cred.

The above worked for no talent losers like T.I. (TI = Total Idiot) and Lil’ Wayne.

We should all be so proud of the Atlanta music scene!

Shawn - TST

February 20th, 2010
12:05 am

Pete ,We are proud of our music scene!! Check out The Silver Tongue online, we have our great local Atlanta music scene covered!

Boogers floating in your soup.

February 24th, 2010
12:14 pm

The Atlanta music/ghetto scene is for S H I T.

SaintAnger

February 28th, 2010
4:46 pm

wow 3 questions? I am sorry but I was hoping for more of a q and a but oh well, i guess this is better than nothing. Thanks William and Jerry for brining AiC back together. You guys totally rocked the house friday night!!!!!!

Jonathan Williams

March 3rd, 2010
3:36 pm

The article I turned in was a bit longer, and the actual interview was much, much longer. I wish more of our conversation had made it to print and online as well. But thanks for reading, SaintAnger!

Crystal

March 19th, 2010
9:48 pm

Looking forward to a meet and greet with AIC coming up, was hoping to find a few answers on their favorite things, anything you found out that didn’t get to make it to print that you would be willing to share?