Layne Staley ‘The Dragon’ Written Before Death?


Nancy Wilson from Heart has revealed that she wrote a song about late Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley slowly dying in the late 90’s before he actually died, and she is finally releasing it.

She told Face Culture, “I wrote that song so long ago, in the early ’90s, when I was friends — I still am friends — with Alice In Chains guys and all the Seattle explosion, all of my buddies in Seattle. It was a song that never really worked inside of the Heart format — it just didn’t live as a Heart song; it just didn’t really work for Heart for some unknown reason. So later when I was on hiatus from Heart for a couple of years and I made my other band called Roadcase Royale, we were recording an album and we put ‘The Dragon’ on that album. The album was called ‘First Things First’.

And it was really a great song, and I thought it finally found a good home on that album. And the guy from the record company at the time, when I was doing this new album, he said, ‘Would you please put ‘The Dragon’ on this album?’ because he loved the version that we did with Roadcase Royale. I said, ‘I’m happy to do that song on my solo album too.’ It’s just a song that finally found its place to live. It’s finally in a good home; that song found its home.”

Nancy said she saw Layne’s death coming, “Yeah. It was a very interesting situation in the early ’90s in Seattle, because there were a lot of those guys around that time which were all battling with their own addictions. Even Chris Cornell later, as it turned out, he had his own issues later on. But that was the time.

And Layne Staley was one sweetheart of a person who you could really see his weakness for his addiction and how much it appeared, from a distance, that he was not gonna survive it. And it took a long, long time, but it was really obvious that he was not going to win that contest. So that’s why I wrote the song at the time when he was still around; I wrote it then.”

Nancy never played the song for Layne when he was alive, “It was too personal. I shared it with Jerry Cantrell, who’s a great friend of mine, and I said, ‘I still wanna finish the song. This song needs another part.’ And I played it for him a couple of different times in a few different situations. I think he just didn’t wanna be part of it because it was too painful for him — ’cause Layne was his brother mainly. So I just figured out how to finish it on my own, and it finally found its home.”