Sunday, December 5, 2010

Song Of The Week: 12/5/10

Song: "Castaway"

Artist: Jerry Cantrell

Album: "Degradation Trip: Volumes 1 & 2"

Year: 2002

This song is about feeling as if your alone at sea or on an island. In a literal sense, feeling like you're a castaway. If you look at this time in Jerry Cantrell's life, especially the situations involving his band Alice In Chains, the song could possibly be autobiographical. Cantrell never wanted to embark on a solo career. His first love was always his band Alice In Chains, but due to the failing health of frontman Layne Staley, Chains was in limbo. Therefore, with great anxiety, Cantrell went on that island and tried to make it on his own, battling his own demons along the way. In the early 90's, the Seattle music scene was all the rage and Alice In Chains, along with Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Soundgarden, were at the forefront of the "grunge" movement. With great success came even greater trappings of fame. Perhaps none of the Seattle band was more greatly impacted by the effects of drug abuse than Alice In Chains. The grip of heroin took it's toll on Layne Staley the most. By 1996, Alice In Chains was a shell of it's former self. Though they just released their self-titled album shortly before, Staley's health made it damn near impossible to tour in support of the album. With Chains basically on hiatus, Cantrell began focusing on a solo career which would spawn two albums, "Boggy Depot" and "Degradation Trip: Volumes 1 & 2". "Degradation Trip" really found Cantrell focusing on where his musical career was headed amongst the turmoil and ashes of his former band. Just before the release of the album, Cantrell and the music world had to come to grips with the tragedy of Layne Staley's death in 2002. Though everyone saw it coming, the death of Staley really hit hard. Some years later, Cantrell and the remaining members of Alice In Chains got together and played a benefit show with various lead singers filling in. The spark that was once there returned and rumors of an Alice In Chains reunion began surfacing. They recruited Comes With The Fall vocalist William DuVall and began touring with their new line-up. In 2009, the band released "Black Gives Way To Blue", their first studio album in 14 years and their first without Layne Staley. Currently, Jerry Cantrell and Alice In Chains are on tour supporting "Black Gives Way To Blue".

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