Kurt Cobain isn’t the only grunge icon getting postmortem love these days. Two years after Layne Staley died of a drug overdose — autopsy reports indicate he passed away on the eighth anniversary of Cobain’s suicide — several acts have offered songs memorializing the Alice in Chains frontman. Let’s trek through the tributes.
PEARL JAM, ”4/20/02”
WHERE TO FIND IT Hidden at the end of ”Bee Girl” on their rarities/B-sides double album Lost Dogs. METHOD OF TRIBUTE No drums. No bass. Just a guitar and a stark, bitter Eddie. HEAVIEST LYRIC ”So sing just like him, f — -ers/It won’t offend him/Just me/Because he’s dead.” DOES IT SOUND LIKE AIC? Not so much. It’s even more stripped-down than Jar of Flies. RANDOM FACT Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready joined Staley in the mid-’90s side project Mad Season.
WHERE TO FIND IT Their latest, 14 Shades of Grey. METHOD OF TRIBUTE A densely layered grunge ballad offering a message of rebirth. HEAVIEST LYRIC ”So to me you’ll never fade/Your life you gave/My life you saved/Your name was Layne.” DOES IT SOUND LIKE AIC? The haunting harmonies and mystical, sludgy guitars are dead-on. RANDOM FACT Lead singer Aaron Lewis’ daughter Zoe Jane — who’s referenced in the song — was born on the same day Staley died.
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, ”Layne”
WHERE TO FIND IT On the just-released Hangover Music Vol. VI. METHOD OF TRIBUTE An anguished slow-burner that occasionally flares into a full metal dirge. HEAVIEST LYRIC ”Oh, I’m just bidding [sic] my time/’Til I wave good-bye.” DOES IT SOUND LIKE AIC? Vocalist Zakk Wylde whips out a pretty creepy vibrato. RANDOM FACT AIC bassist Mike Inez plays on another Hangover track.