Alice In Chains singer/guitarist Jerry Cantrell revealed in a new Rolling Stone interview that the title track “Rainier Fog” off of their new album was created as a tribute to the Seattle scene that launched the first wave of grunge bands by the end of the Eighties, including Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees and Nirvana.
“This song is a little homage to all of that: where we come from, who we are, all of the triumphs, all of the tragedies, lives lived,” says Cantrell, who took the title from Mount Rainier, which overlooks the region.
That group of musicians went through an intense experience together, and there were losses along the way, from Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994 to the 2002 overdose of Alice singer Layne Staley. On May 18th, Alice in Chains marked the grim anniversary of Chris Cornell’s death onstage at the Rock the Range festival in Columbus, Ohio, by closing the night with two Soundgarden songs, “Hunted Down” and “Boot Camp.”
“It’s a small town and we all knew each other. It means the world to me that I was able to spend time with the guy to create what we all created in the same town.” Cantrell adds of Cornell. “It gets really difficult to be the guy that has to talk about your dead friends all the time. … After 15 years of talking about my friends dying, you just really want to focus on life and moving forward because that’s really all I can control. I miss the hell out of all of them.”
The original demo for “Rainier Fog” was recorded at Cantrell’s house in Los Angeles, with the help of Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, who also came from Seattle. “He played bass,” Cantrell says, “and he loved that riff: ‘That’s your first single, man!’ I didn’t even have lyrics for it yet.”