Alice In Chains singer/guitarist William DuVall discussed performing Soundgarden songs for Chris Cornell at Rock on the Range in a new Loudwire interview. He said he and AIC had been contemplating the idea before doing it.
DuVall insists that it was pure coincidence that they chose the first song off Soundgarden’s first album and the last song from Down on the Upside, the band’s final disc before they split in the mid-90s.
“It’s interesting that it worked out that way, that those two songs ended up being bookends for the first long chapter of their career. That was not intentional, believe it or not. After that fact, it was like, ‘Whoa, that’s really cool.'”
The singer-guitarist revealed, “The way it really developed is we wanted to do something and we didn’t really want to talk about it publicly. We just wanted to do it and let it speak for itself. Sean Kinney and I really wanted to do ‘Boot Camp,’ cause I always really liked that song and he always really liked that song. It might be my favorite on the Down on the Upside record. So it started from there and it became, ‘Can we work up that song?'”
He added, “Cantrell really wanted to do ‘Hunted Down.’ For one, he already knew it so it negated the need to sit down and learn something in the middle of a tour that’s happening, and also because it’s a jam. We’ve always loved it, I’ve always loved it, and they used to do it way back in the day. In the early club days of Alice, they would sometimes break out that song and jam it … so it made sense from all of those standpoints to do that song.”
According to DuVall, the band had been contemplating the idea for weeks, but first had to figure out how to work up “Boot Camp.” “Cornell would kind of write and tune the guitar to what he wanted to sing. That’s how you get into these alternative tunings from Soundgarden that make no sense outside of that particular song in a lot of cases. They were kind of a little bit taking a page from the Sonic Youth manual in that regard,” says the singer. “In my case, I’m looking at a YouTube video going, ‘Jeez, this is going to have to be an adaptation.’ In the spirit of Cornell and what he was doing in the first place, I’m now going to have to adapt this song to our circumstances.”