Alice In Chains saw their stellar 1990 debut album Facelift turned 30 today, August 21st. The band themselves will be honoring the outing with a thirty-day look back at the album which will eventually culminate in a deluxe 30th-anniversary edition deluxe box set for the record. The band commented:
“Over the next 30 days we will be celebrating 30 years of Facelift, our debut album released August 21, 1990. Follow along each day to see exclusive interview clips, live performances, and first peeks at our forthcoming Facelift vinyl reissue deluxe anniversary box set, which will be announced and available for pre-sale soon. We are looking forward to sharing memories with you over these next 30 days. To start, featured here is an original Facelift promotional poster from 1990.”
Ahead of that, Spin caught up with several of the band’s friends and peers to discuss what the album meant to them. Among those who shared their thoughts are:
Kim Thayil (Soundgarden)
Brandon Boyd (Incubus)
Phil Anselmo (Down, Superjoint, etc.)
Dallas Green (Alexisonfire, City And Colour, etc.)
Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth)
Ben Burnley (Breaking Benjamin)
Robb Flynn (Machine Head)
Jami Morgan (Code Orange)
Bryan Funck (Thou)
“We shared management, so at that time, I probably would’ve gotten an advance of the album. By that point, we had a demo cassette of earlier Alice in Chains, which was a little bit different — a little more rocking, and kinda had something in common with what was happening in L.A. at the time. When we heard the demos for Facelift, it was a totally different story. It’s heavier, darker and had some definite components of what was going on in Seattle then.
I didn’t know that we would become successful or if Alice or Pearl Jam or Nirvana would become successful. We loved all those bands and thought they were great, but it didn’t fit the model at that time on rock radio or MTV. It was hard to anticipate it being that successful commercially because that was not the musical fashion at the time.
My favorite song on the album is “It Ain’t Like That.” I always gravitate towards that song, and it’s one of those songs I wish I had written. Usually, when I love a song, it’s like, “Man, why didn’t I think of that?” Not always. There are great songs by Sly and the Family Stone that I love, and have loved since I was a kid, but it would not fit my writing style. But when I heard that riff, I thought, “Oh man, that’s the coolest thing.” I love the groove. I love that’s its slinky and psychedelic, and I’ve had the opportunity to play that song with them onstage. That was fun, to be able to go up there and play that riff.
There are a couple of things that are very distinctly Alice in Chains. One is that harmony between Layne and Jerry — that interval, that was their thing. They influenced probably hundreds of successful commercial bands that have copped that harmony. The other thing is Jerry’s bend – writing riffs with this particular sort of slinky and druggy bend. He incorporates that into a number of riffs, and those are identifiers for me. If I hear a new Alice song or album, I can distinguish it from their imitators when I hear that riff, that bend.”
You can read more tributes to the record over at Spin. https://www.spin.com/2020/08/facelift-turns-30-musicians-salute-alice-in-chains-debut-album/