ALICE IN CHAINS guitarist Jerry Cantrell recently spoke to Neala Johnson of the Herald Sun about the band's participation in Australia's Soundwave festival which kicks off next month.
"I don't think there's one of us who expected to be where we are today," he said. "We started from a very cool place — Sean [Kinney, drums] organized a benefit in our home town to raise some money for the tsunami relief, and it was a hit.
"It was a pretty heavy moment, playing together for the first time since we had lost Layne [Staley, late ALICE IN CHAINS singer who died in 2002], but it was also really cool to see our fans' reaction — that was really inspiring. It led to the next step of us saying, 'That was fun, why don't we get together and just play in a room?'
"So we did. And that led us to William [DuVall, current ALICE IN CHAINS singer], who was a friend of mine for several years. And that led to the tours, which led us to writing. And the material we were coming up with was really cool . . . so here we are today."
"Am I worried we're gonna fall on our face? Dirty our memory? Is that what I'm worried about?" Cantrell asked.
"Fuck no, I'm not worried about that at all. If we didn't believe in what we're doing, and why we're doing it, we wouldn't be doing it.
"The reasons are all pure to us, and as long as we stick to that we can't go wrong. People will say whatever they're going to say, but they're not inside this band."
"There's no replacing Layne, and we're not intending to replace Layne," Cantrell added.
"William performs the old material very well, and very respectfully — not trying to be Layne — but we don't even feel like Will is a new lead singer of ALICE IN CHAINS.
"There's also myself, who's been a big part of the vocal sound in this band with the support of Layne. Layne was really instrumental in me growing as a vocalist.
"So we feel like we've added a really talented member in Will and the unit is strong, we're growing together."
"This chapter is equally as important as any chapter in the book on ALICE," he said.
"This is about living. It was of course a crushing loss to lose our best friend and partner. But it's a common human experience.
"What's important in life is when you get thrown off the proverbial horse: after you're done nursing your injuries, it's time to get up and continue to live."
ALICE IN CHAINS entered a Los Angeles studio in October with producer Nick Raskulinecz (FOO FIGHTERS, RUSH, STONE SOUR, TRIVIUM, SHADOWS FALL, DEATH ANGEL) to begin recording its first all-new studio effort since 1995's self-titled third album.
ALICE IN CHAINS has mostly stayed off the road since 2007, but played at a radio station festival in Peoria, Arizona on September 20.
Watch ALICE IN CHAINS performing "Them Bones" live at Germany's Rock Am Ring 2006: