LAYNE STALEY’S MOTHER SAYS SHE HASN’T SPOKEN TO ALICE IN CHAINS IN 10 YEARS, COMMENTS ON THEIR RIGHT TO THE NAME

Published On April 6, 2012 | By Brett Buchanan | Alice In Chains, Headline

Kidd Chris spoke to Nancy McCallum (Layne Staley’s mother) on Atlanta’s Project 9-6-1 morning show yesterday. Here are some quotes:

“I had no connection to [Layne and Alice In Chains'] music, I had no idea, because I just didn’t get it. So when he came home I wanted a regular relationship with my son, I wasn’t interested in how other people saw him at all and he was very humble. He never talked about it other than to tell me he had an interesting life.”

“Frankly they never disbanded the band, it’s a business. It took me awhile to figure some of these things out. I felt for the fans’ sake they might want to move on with a different name just so people didn’t criticize them for moving on using Layne’s name. But I also understand that they are the musicians and there is no Alice In Chains without them. They had every right to do what they did. Do I hear from them? No. Do I care about what happens to them? Absolutely. I have invited them to come to the house many times. As Layne’s friends I would just want them to tell me funny stories that they remember, so for 10 years that has never happened. I’d love it if somebody picked up the phone, and said Nancy, I’ve got to tell you something funny that happened when Layne was in Berlin. I would love if that would happen, they were his friends first and I think the industry keeps them from pursuing some kind of connection with their friend’s Mom, and they’re moving on.”

“I have kept connected with the fans, it’s been very important to them and it has opened my eyes to Layne’s world. I didn’t think about depression, he was quiet and he was intense, and I didn’t know that he was probably struggling with depression.”

“The interviewer asked if Demri Parrot’s death (Layne’s girlfriend and the love of his life) in October 1996 is what made Layne get really bad off and Nancy said, “No, it was bad before that.”

“Then [Layne] became reclusive, and it was really hard to keep a sense of what was going on. I had no intentions of laying down any ultimatums that would push Layne away from me. That’s a mother’s right is to hold that place in her life with her child.”

“Let’s not forget that Layne and Kurt Cobain both passed away on the same day, April 5th, 8 years apart. And we won’t forget that Layne lost his dear friend Mike Starr and many other wonderful and talented musicians, and fans. I hear from parents who have lost their children, I hear from friends who have lost their parents, I hear from people who have lost their friends. There is just no good thing that comes out of drug addiction.”

Like this Article? Share it!

About The Author

Bio: Brett hosted the BWR podcast from 2004 to 2009, interviewing pro wrestling, MMA, and entertainment stars like Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Rob Van Dam, Christian, Danny Bonaduce, and DDP. Brett opened GrungeReport.net in May 2009. The site changed its name to AlternativeNation.net in June 2013. Brett also owns Concertfy.com. Reach out to Brett at; brett (at) alternativenation.net

47 Responses to LAYNE STALEY’S MOTHER SAYS SHE HASN’T SPOKEN TO ALICE IN CHAINS IN 10 YEARS, COMMENTS ON THEIR RIGHT TO THE NAME

  1. Nanette says:

    I have to most respect for Nancy. I do not know her but what I have read paints a picture of a very kind and self-less woman.

    As fans we all miss Layne’s voice, music will never be what it once was without him.

    Nancy lost her only son, I cant imagine the pain, the anger, the sadness associated with losing a child.

    I wish for Nancy, the stories she want to hear about her son, peace, and last but not least the return of the love she has shown for Layne’s fans.

  2. steph says:

    Alice in Chains was at the LSF Tribute concert in 08. Of course, I am not privy to the conversation that Nancy had with Jerry & Sean at that time, I venture to say there WAS conversation.

  3. Tampalou says:

    Taken way out of context. Nancy only said she has been inviting them to her home for ten years, not that they have not spoke. Think you need to change the title…..

  4. Louderthanshit333 says:

    Do you have anymore photos from that Dinner Brett? I saw a few a while back alleged to be from 96, and Layne looks great there.

  5. Robert says:

    I huge props to Nancy.

  6. dakotablue says:

    Perhaps Nancy turned a blind eye, and I’m not trying to bash her but just point out that some of the things she says here are kinda unbelievable. She didn’t know Layne was struggling with depression, after his dad left when he was 8 and someone called and told Layne his dad was dead? That would be a big red flag for me, as his mom. Then after he holed up in his condo, it was “hard to keep a sense of what was going on”? Well, he wouldn’t answer the door or phone, had accidentally lit his hair on fire nodding out and was becoming a skeleton–DANGER, DANGER, DANGER! I know she loved Layne but I suspect her definition of “never pushing him away” was to never confront him or even talk to him about his drug problem and the problems that led to the drugs. Sorry if I offend anyone with my opinion.

  7. Getaway Car says:

    As much as I love Jerry Cantrell. I get the feeling that he is a bit of a self centered asshole. Does anyone else agree?

    My opinion is just based on his tough relationship with Layne while he was alive and on what other musicians have said about Jerry over the years. I also read somewhere that the AIC song “No excuses” was penned by Jerry in relation to him and Layne’s unstable friendship.

    No disrespect to Jerry, I just though would put this out there for discussion.

    • sandra cantrell says:

      I have know Alice In Chains for 28 years ,I met them in Ontario as we took a flight to Washington to this bar we picked up on this guy by the name of Layne Staley he was cool I was Jerry girlfriend at the time. but the more I got into Layne I was hooked on him our relationship lasted for 15 years off and on but one I called Layne and asked him where he was he said he had a job to do in gaum in two days .I got down there the night before the concert We ended uop talking one on one our in the oon light on the beach nothing but talking the words came out of my mouth I was in love with him and then at the concert he interduced me as his wife he was amazing man I went alone and did my job we sang all the songs we had recorede in the oast we got back on the plane went to Washington were he lived they had another job to do don in guam Iwas staying at his mom house waiting for the day I had to go pick the guys up from the airport We already had a baby that was a 1 year old name ryan well I went home back to Tennessee were I lived one day he came walking to my door he had met his son for the 3rd tie but not as being at home so he stayed for a year we watched the kds while I worked so one day bhe wanted to go back home to seehis parents buy this time I got a call bout 4 years later as mhis son had turned 10 years old we wanted to see me again so I went to get my man again We start living togrther and here are again in loe again as I didn\’t want to leave I stayed for a couple of months he sid we needed to have a nother child I told him I couldn\’t have more kids my tubes are tied we went to a clinic and we paid down to have a xhild formed we went hoe did all the requireents we went ack and looked at the work they had done well we saw the egg splitting into two we looked at the doctor and said what happened he said you are going to have twins you have a boy on this side and a girl on the left I was shocked I believed that he got upset a little knowing he had 2 kids coming instead of one well he was seill in his drug seen and was begging e to let him get him another hit he got it alright it cost him his life him andMike both lost their lives to drugs but I believe that Mike took him out himself

  8. GrungeAttack says:

    dakotablue you are just guessing and have NO idea what she did. So just stop saying anything about her. She is not the one who injected drugs in to his veins, He did it to himself. All the responsibility is his.

  9. steph says:

    At the point Layne was hiding himself away and withdrawing from society, he had made his decision and knew what he was doing.(I believe the condo was specifically purchased by Layne :( ) I don’t believe that is in any way Nancy’s fault, nor is she to be held at a higher responsibility than Layne is. I truly believe that Nancy thought Layne would pull through…and really at that point in time it was probably a mothers defense mechanism more than anything. Even if you don’t agree with the way she handled herself or the situation, all I can say is “walk a mile in her moccasins.” The fact of the matter is there was NOTHING she could do to make Layne get help. Regardless of the “danger” signs, the laws are not written to help the addict or their family. I refuse to fault Nancy for not being as co-dependent as I think she should have been.

  10. Aaron says:

    Hopefully the band reaches out to Nancy more, perhaps an event with the band could bring them together. props to her, she’s a strong woman.

  11. GenXLady says:

    It is always easy in retrospect to look back and see things that could have been done better. Whether or not Nancy did enough to help Layne, I am sure she did the best she knew how to do at the time. It sounds as if she really didn’t understand depression and addiction, and didn’t have a textbook response to it. As far as Jerry, or the other AIC guys, they were all dealing with their own levels of drug abuses. If Jerry was addicted as well, do you really think he had the clarity of mind and behavior to see Layne’s addiction accurately? Don’t forget he was watching his life’s dream, AIC, slip away with Layne’s addiction. I am sure that created all kinds of conflicted emotions in him. Maybe he is an asshole, maybe not. I have no personal idea or knowledge. After all is said and done, I think that underneath all of the circumstances, that all of these people truly loved Layne. It is not as if anyone purposely wanted him to succumb to drugs. I would bet that all involved sometimes look back and wish they had done this or that differently, because what if…? And don’t forget Layne himself. Being an adult in charge of his own life, he had to want it and fully commit to it on some level. As adults, with our ability to choose, we are our own biggest influence.

    • james says:

      my sentiments exactly … thankyou! I’m sure most people understand that Layne was not a god,just a a little godlike for us at the time,He was a great guy who made us understand emotion at a delicate time when everything seemed a little fckd.What a voice, What a time…laid down i remember you !

  12. yumm says:

    Dakota blue stfu. You werent there youre making a conclusin on some fucking book and some comments she made. Thats not even 1% of the whole story. There is nothing anyone can do now, Layne is gone and never coming back. And that fucking sucks

  13. Brett says:

    The impression I got was she hasn’t really talked to them since the funeral, and was interested in seeing/talking to them to hear some Layne memories, which is very understandable, because the one thing keeping Layne alive is the memories friends and family have of him. Obviously AIC have the right to move on with their lives, but it’d be nice for Nancy to see them talk.

    If anybody has proof they’ve spoken I’ll gladly change the title! I’d heard of Jerry/Sean making a brief appearance at a Staley tribute show back in 2008 but don’t know the details. It’s cool that they showed up.

  14. Kimberly says:

    @Nanette I’m pretty sure Layne wasn’t Nancy’s only son.. she did have another one but he died in a car accident in 2010. Although, he might have been Layne’s half brother and not blood related to Nancy.

  15. adrien says:

    @Kimberly I also heard Layne has a sister (who recently told her point of view on a Layne book story).. But I don’t know if it’s Layne’s sister or half sister(?).

    @Brett.. totally agree with you: “Obviously AIC have the right to move on with their lives, but it’d be nice for Nancy to see them talk.”..

  16. Slops says:

    I think she has at least been with them, because I saw pictures of Nancy with Jerry and Sean and that was really after Layne’s passing as well as a pic of Nancy, Phil (Layne’s dad) and Jerry…as well as Layne tribute show in 2008…I read somewhere that they were there.

  17. dakotablue says:

    hey yumm and GrungeAttack, I said right up front I was thinking these things, not that they were facts or conclusions. Also apologized if my opinion offended anyone. Obviously you two are offended and also very rude. I don’t care if you both express your thoughts as long as you’re not bashing me or other people who express their thoughts, so why don’t you have the same courtesy?

  18. Mike says:

    You simply cannot help somebody that won’t even help themself!! Its that simple…Nobody except Layne and Nancy know what steps were taken to try to cure Layne so any speculation on the subject is just that. You can beat yourself up and wonder what could I have done but it will just eat at your soul. Whats done is done unfortunately and the healthiest thing to do is to move on with the lessons learned. We all miss you Layne, you will live on forever through us!!!

    R.I.P. Layne Staley

  19. Mike says:

    @Genxlady I commented before I read your post and I just wanted to say that was very well put. At the core these men were like brothers. With Laynes addiction it became such a vicious cycle of rehab stints with very little effort on Laynes part. At some point Im sure Jerry put his guard up and tried the tough love angle. Drug addicts(heroin especially) are already walking on such thin ice already. I don’t have any doubts that Jerry loved Layne and wanted nothing but the best for his friend. Sadly Layne chose a different path.

  20. Riina says:

    It would be awesome if the AIC guys and Nancy would organize a yearly tribute concert (or even something) for Layne. That way, the new AIC would acknowledge their past and bring the fans at ease with this name thing, which is still obviously hurting a lot of people.

  21. Daniannie says:

    I thought the title was very misleading. There’s a large difference between somebody saying they don’t hear from someone & stating that she hasn’t spoken to anyone in AIC in ten years. For one thing, how would she have been inviting them to her house many times if they hadn’t spoken to her in ten years?

    I miss Layne too. But I think it’s healthy for the band to move on & I respectfully disagree about having a yearly tribute. At some point, this kind of thing ceases to be respectful & starts moving into the area of morbidity. My father passed ten years ago too. At some point, we all need to move into the light & get on with things. That will probably never happen for Layne’s mom & I get that. But I think the guys in the band certainly should.

    My opinion only. :)

  22. L'Angel says:

    GexXLady: THANK YOU!THANK YOU!
    Nancy has seen Jerry and Sean (’08 tribute for sure and at least another) but do you really think that during such a busy night the 3 could have sat and TALKED? I doubt it. That said, Nancy totally understands why they may have a hard time connecting with her (as many other friends of Layne’s do). She is just saying “It’s ok, talk to me, I don’t hold you responsible for anything”.
    I would change the title too, it’s so dramatic and stirs shit. The convo was not about this, her last line would be more appropriate because that is what matters. Then again, it is your website and you do what you want.
    Nancy had 3 children, don’t forget, one of which was young.
    Let’s look at ourselves and ask “What do we know about addiction?”. Very little.
    Yes sure, Layne may have given signs but what was she supposed to do? Layne HAD to tour, HAD to record albums, he had a commitment with us, his band mates, the record company. He could not walk away from it and he needed that in order to get clean. He needed a new life style but he could not have it. Or better, he could but being the responsible man he was, he knew he needed to keep doing this. He was an employer. People were making money and feeding their families because of his talent, he had a commitment.
    What was another adult to do? You can’t in WA state lock somebody in, move in with them and watch that they don’t use. Even going to rehab is a voluntary act from the addict, you cannot force adults to do that.
    If it was that simple, it would not be a miracle when an addict recovers.
    You can’t understand a user’s mind even if you try with your books and degrees but you can get some knowledge about addiction and understand why it is so hard.
    Nancy, I love you so much.

  23. Grunge_Alabama says:

    dakotablue: I like the thoughts in your first post. It’s certainly quite possible. Those folks criticizing you need better reading comprehension skills.

  24. Ben Vaxx says:

    Wow thats some heavy stuff, glad she’s doing well :) And am I the only one who liked that she mentioned Kurt and Mike?

  25. 2012 MAYAN CALENDAR says:

    GOD BLESS LAYNE , MIKE AND KURT . IM SURE THEIR GRUNGE SOULS ARE NOW UP IN HEAVEN LAUGHING AT ALL US :(

    :) YOU GUYS MADE MUSIC THAT REALLY ROCKS HARD AND SPEAKS TO US ALL

  26. Kris says:

    None of us really know the inside details of anything. But I will say that I do think it would be a really nice gesture of Jerry, Sean and Mike visisted or met with her. They shared a common bond and that is their love and respect for Layne. The wounds and hurt will always be there but enough time has passed were they could get together and reminisce. I always found it admirable that Mike (Starr) had the courage to confront his demons/guilt with Nancy. It was a huge burden off his shoulders although I’m sure to his dying day he lived with it.

    Needless to say… Layne will ALWAYS be missed, cherished and incredilby respected. And, Nancy is a true epitomy of grace and elegance. She is a super lady!

  27. Cassis says:

    I agree with you Steph.
    Perhaps there has been conversation between Nancy and the band, ( at tributes and whatnot),but not the type of conversation that Nancy alludes to in this interview that she might like -with memories of Layne that might fill her heart in some way. And perhaps that’s not due to any negligence on the other band members’ parts, but just due to their not knowing she wanted to hear those memories, or, because they aren’t able to due to their on pain, or just out of unintended negligance. Who knows, it may be just a misunderstanding causing hurt feelings, we all live through that kind of stuff……how many of us want or need to hear certain things from our families or friends, only to find that we can’t always hear exactly what we want to….sometimes it’s hard to share memories, sometimes we block them out so that we can’t remember them ourselves, or sometimes we don’t realize how badly someone else needs to hear certain things, even if they are in our memory……communication doesn’t come easy! Hard to know what’s going on here for sure,but i think it’s safe to surmise that Nancy and the other band members all loved Layne in their own way, as others have said, and perhaps that’s the most important thing. I’m sad to hear that, for whatever reason, reasonable or not, Nancy doesn’t feel that she has gotten some memories about Layne that she would like to have.

  28. 2012 MAYAN CALENDAR says:

    ALICE IN CHAINS IN MY HONEST OPINION HAVE REALLY DISAPPOINTED THEIR FANS THROUGHOUT THE LAST 10 YEARS , EVER SINCE LAYNE AND MIKE STARR LEFT THIS WORLD TOO SOON , THE BAND HASNT REALLY MADE ANY GREAT EPIC SONGS . JUST ANOTHER MEDIOCRE SEATTLE GRUNGE GHOST OF A ROCK BAND REALLY. I WISH JERRY CANTRELL WOULD BREAK UP ALICE IN CHAINS IN A MOST RESPECTABLE WAY. AND START OVER WITH A NEW BAND LIKE VELVET REVOLVER :)

  29. allforlayne says:

    The impression DAkablue has gotten maybe the same of many other people. When you hear someone say what Nancy says, you are legit to such an idea. Not that we can consider Nancy as a neglecting mother, Layne was an adult, he was rich, etc…. but the question “could anything more be done by the family ?” may rise.

  30. Mike says:

    @2012 MAYAN CALENDAR – Everyone is allowed to state their opinion and you have stated yours. Next time don’t use the f’n CAPS LOCK because you look like even more of an idiot(if possible) than you lead one to believe with your rant. If you are here to bash aic than get lost and go look for news on Velvet Revolver. To say they have done nothing in the last 10 years was your first mistake. You don’t know what the fuck they have been doing the last 10 yrs. and why would you? Youre certainly not a fan so why would you follow them. Did you expect them to put an album out right after Laynes passing. How selfish of you quit filling this comment thread with garbage…..And nice name scrub!!

  31. Cathy says:

    @Mike…sooo much word, dude. You took the words right out of my mouth. Thanks.

    Mediocre? Disappointing? It’s completely laugh that those two words would even appear any where in a comment regarding AiC or Jerry Cantrell. Seriously….laughable…

    Like the rest of us on this thread I miss Layne so much and wish every day he was still here with us. I love Nancy, God bless her for all she does to keep Layne’s memory alive and for how much she’s helped others fighting addiction. Heroin addiction is no joke.
    As for Jerry, Sean, and Mike there is not one shred of doubt in my mind they all loved Layne like a brother, more so than any of us on here and had tried everything they could do to help him.

  32. Jenna says:

    This just breaks my heart. To think that all she has left are memories and the stories people tell her. I would never do anything to push my son away either. Just can’t even imagine her heartache.

  33. Jenna says:

    I know Nancy would love to hear from them on a more personal level but honestly I don’t think it has anything to do with the music industry. They could be self centered rock stars that just want to move on with their lives but I don’t think so. There’s a number of reasons why they may have not contacted her. It could just be very uncomfortable and painful for them. Or maybe they don’t know how to approach the situation. Maybe they’re afraid she’ll start crying and they wont know how to handle it. Alot of guys freak when a woman starts crying especially when its an older woman. They are guys and guys just different than girls.

  34. Pedro says:

    I think Black Gives Way to Blue is awesome, as good as 90s AiC. And with that album they are honoring what Layne did.

    I agree with Jenna, I don’t think they are douchebags, just that they think it would painful to live it all over again… RIP Layne

  35. Andrew Corey says:

    :) Cool!!! It is a nice Blog. I am always looking for that kind of blog. I am really impressing to your band. I am looking for your next blog………..
    Tampa Movers

  36. I Support Nancy says:

    I really enjoyed reading the thread and listening to what Nancy had to say. I’m sure there are things she may wish she had done differently in hindsight. I think it may be the reason she does so much now to help so many struggling with addiction. As Layne fans, we’re lucky to have this woman who’s so accessible and willing to share her personal memories about her son. It’s easy to feel angry at others for not doing enough, but things other people do rarely help anyhow. And….he was a grown man.

    As for Jerry/Sean/Mike, I don’t think it’s fair to say they’re @ssholes. None of them can do anything without first talking about Layne. Although I get it, because Layne was freakin’ awesome, it’s got to wear on a person. I think they all want to be able to move on and not constantly be in the sad place talking about the loss of their friend, drug use, etc. There’s got to be some resentment on their end too. They all worked really hard and Layne derailed it. Having said that though, it would be nice if they’d reach out to Nancy privately.

  37. nordica8008 says:

    Thank you a lot for a very good blog.

    Nancy did what she did because she decided at that moment that was the right thing to do: I mean Layne, when he was a child, was told a lie about his dad’s death. Probably this loss (dad disappeared) and this lie (dad died) pushed Layne to heavy drugs later.

    Black/Blue album is really great! But I think better to change slightly or completely the name of the band. Layne was a unique vocalist and an original frontman, and without him it just cannot be Alice In Chains.

  38. Nicole says:

    To dakotablue:

    I don’t think “Nancy turned blind eye” BY CHOICE. Those who were closest to Layne knew that he better be left alone.

    In one of Layne’s remembrance site, his friend mentioned that the only reason why Layne continued to talk to him (while Layne ignored most his friends) was because he never pushed Layne to do anything he didn’t want to do (one of which is getting sober I guess). He said that this is only way to keep your friendship with Layne. This is why Mike Starr didn’t call 911, those who really loved Layne knew that it’s better to give him what he wanted rather than to have their relationship with him totally cut off. I think THIS IS THE ONLY WAY that they could still, somehow, look out for Layne. I think he said it all in Nutshell (and the Mad Season album).

    To Nancy McCallum:

    I hope you’re reading this. I’ve always wanted to write you a letter but I don’t know how to reach you. Something that you said on Celebrity Rehab helped me get up everyday and deal with long-term depression. And thank you for bringing Layne into this world. He spoke the words that I was so afraid to get out of my chest.

  39. Giorgio Montanaro says:

    To Nancy McCallum,

    we’ll miss Layne forever!
    Rest in Peace
    Just love and Alice in Chains

  40. Sunshine says:

    Nancy may have been a little blind to the situation, but I know Nancy would not have turned her back on Layne. Like most addicts, they keep u @ arm’s length at all times….they know what to say to make everything sound ok. So, unless ur right there, constantly. (And trust me….Layne wouldn’t let that happen! ). Then u think things are fine. Addicts are great liars. They will tell u what u want to hear.

  41. ozmoses says:

    You people are quick to judge and think you know a lot about shit you don’t..

  42. marzy says:

    The guys were probably not that close to Layne’s family so there might be some awkwardness there. Jerry should have changed the name, though, out of respect for Layne and all of us who love him. After all, Layne altered it when he joined AIC from his previous band. It hasn’t hurt Dave Grohl! He had enough respect for Kurt and their fans. Jerry I feel is a bit on the cold, calculating side-he’s always sounded a little selfish and self centered. Which isn’t to say he didn’t care about Layne on some level. Changing the name to “Alice Unchained” would have been good; keeping the Alice affiliation but unchaining Layne and also William from having to try to fill the Doc Martens of a legend. I was personally hurt by the ads for the tour using Layne’s voice and beautiful face to promote it. At the least it’s false advertising, but mainly it’s hurtful because our Layne won’t be there, and it reminds us how much we love and will always miss him. It’s a difficult week with the anniversary on Friday, and the special edition of Mad Season’s Above coming out. I think Layne was profoundly disillusioned, which made his recovery almost impossible. He went looking for the truth, and unfortunately found it. We love and miss you, Layne, always.

  43. devine says:

    I love it if people would stop making Jerry feel bad. He probaly didnt even know that was going to happen to Layne, and i think that Layne would not want you to be upsetting any of his freinds.

  44. Iwet says:

    A think so too.. She surely loved him, but she didn´t understand him.. It must be very hard for him.. No understandig of family, Demris death, drug addiction, depresions.. I so sorry about it… His life wasn´t easy. RIP Layne, we are remembering!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>