by -

Jimmy Shoaf, who is in this picture with Layne Staley, has confirmed that the picture is from October 31, 1998 backstage at Jerry Cantrell’s show at the Showbox in Seattle. There have been rumors for years that Layne was backstage at the show and this confirms it. This is also around the time that Alice In Chains recorded “Get Born Again” and “Died.” Thanks to Melanie for her help with this story.

  • lala

    thx for this relevant news

  • Kelley

    Right on..I was actually there..went to both shows…thought this could be the case. Jerry almost had Layne come up and sing..but Layne wanted the night to be about Jerry.

  • cosmicatomic

    It’s amazing that Layne could write and sing Get Born Again/Died in this condition. I can’t believe THAT voice can come out of that frail body.



    big news. awesome that you were able to confirm this. thanks brett. i know that ive been thinking about layne constantly since this image surfaced, glad you found the origin


    Wasn’t confirmed by some guy that this was from 2001 or something like that? Did he make the whole story up?

  • steve

    I can’t tell if everyone’s being sarcastic with their “huge news” comments.

  • lala

    no. this is big news.

  • Nanette

    Thanks Brett,

    And everyone that left comments or questions. I had been thinking about Layne and AIC since the picture came up too. Motivated me to take a leisurly trip over to youtube and see some videos I had not seen before. It was all great, good time stuff.

    It makes me laugh the videos that are from the 90’s concerts, if you remember the video cameras back then were the size of an 24 pk of beer. they would not be easy to get into a concert if you did not have permission.

  • John

    Same here for me , couldn’t stop thinking of Layne since the picture had surfaced .

    Fuck it , so sad … I’ll be doing my best to go to the layne staley tribute show in Seattle this august ..

  • nevernamed

    That’s pretty cool, but that means the search must continue for something more recent!

  • nevernamed

    so now we must find out when this was..

  • Aliceinchainhead

    NEVERNAMED is one of the guys suppose to be Layne Staley?!?!?



    The guy with the hat, you must be blind if you don’t recognize him. XD

  • John

    It’s from 1997 .

  • NicB115

    Jerry’s set list from that night. With all the Alice songs being played, wonder if layne was singing along to him self.

    Devil By His Side
    No Excuses
    (Alice in Chains song)
    My Song
    What the Hell Have I
    (Alice in Chains song)
    Heaven Beside You
    (Alice in Chains song)
    Got Me Wrong
    (Alice in Chains song)
    Them Bones
    (Alice in Chains song)
    Keep the Light On
    Settling Down
    Cut You In
    Brain Damage / Eclipse
    (Pink Floyd cover)

  • NicB115

    My very first show wan Jerry solo in 2002. He opened with What The Hell Have I? It’s amazing that will always be my first song I’ve experienced.

  • Sickwit_it

    Well good that you confirmed it. Now people wont be making shit up when it comes to this pic. Also people that were saying but didnt some say he had his arm amputed or that he had a cane. You must be stupid to even believe that shit without having it be confirmed. Some people will believe anything. Idiots.

  • billy

    that cantrell setlist looks amazing, too bad he can’t throw in a few of his songs when touring with chains

  • Marcelo

    Get born again is one of my favourite AIC songs…
    RIP Layne…. you’re terribly missed

  • elle

    Cool Thanks for finally confirming it. :)


    Brett – When you first published this photo last week, I made some negative comments towards your decision to publish the photo, and I would like to apologize. I’ve been following the stories on this photo, and I would like to commend you on your hard work in getting to the truth on this. I was wrong in my original comments, and I’m truly sorry for criticizing your efforts. Much respect to you.

  • Calvin McCain

    You are missed. RIP.

    Anyone have this bootleg of Cantrell’s show?

  • Stobbart

    But how did his hair grow some much from the grammy’s appearance?? Especially as unheathly as he was………..

  • Louderthanshit333

    So now Layne from 1999-2002 is unknown again. I hoped it was 2001, because this doesn’t look as bad as I was portrayed.

  • Robert

    Thanks for getting all the information.

  • nevernamed

    @Aliceinchainhead Layne is 2nd from the left. I’m not sure this is from 1997 for sure.. some claim its new years eve 1999. he has short hair (anyone can get a hair cut), but I do think he looks a little more pale and gaunt looking….. worse than the 1997 grammy photos.

  • nevernamed

    @Stobbart hair grows regardless of health..

  • Ace


    DEFINITELY not 1997. I’d say 1999-2001 based on appearance alone.

  • Ace

    Now we have to confirm just what the hell Layne was supposed to be dressed as for Halloween.

  • elle

    I kind of think that he looks like he’s dressed as a paparazzi, glasses, hat, big lense camera.

  • Ace

    Great call! Didn’t notice the camera.

  • allforlayne

    I wonder who sang with Jerry at that show. I don’t think he did it all by himself. Duvall? Layne could have witnessed a show with him singing? Puzzled. And sad to think he was’nt on stage.

  • Kelley

    Comes with the fall opened up..and yes..William sang Layne’s parts. Should we pretty amazing..but ended real shitty. Jerry was doing a solo to close out the show and someone threw something..hit the mike stand…which hit Jerry in the face. Jerry said “fuck” tossed his guitar down and walked off stage.

  • Kelley

    Correction…I believe it was DeGarmo that sang back up to Jerry…not William.

  • Liz

    It’s so great to have this confirmed. I never heard the rumors that Layne was at that show….but I can’t imagine how amazing it would’ve been if Layne had come up and sang with him. How epic that would have been. I guess Layne was really done with performing and wanted to be in the background. RIP Layne.

  • ImZetKaa

    @John – it seems to me that he’s got pink hair in that picture… if so, the pic might be from 96-97… i think that he looks much better than in the picture from helloween 98 (non – native english speaker)

  • redhead

    hair grows, just at a slower rate. mainly it thins out and/or falls out-swim hair is falling out a lot due to heavy use of alcohol and heroin.

  • ILoveLayne

    Oh this hurts my heart–he looks like a little old man. I think it’d completely break my heart to see any pictures of him later…I try to imagine what he must’ve looked like in the picture that was taken with his nephew, Oscar, and it makes me so sad.

  • Koji

    could be a wig since it’s halloween…

    • brad defrates

      He is not wearing a wig.. There are two other pictures where he has the same long hair from 1998 or 1999 in one he is blowing out candles on his b day cake in the studio for get born again and died. In the other one he is with his father. Rip layne… You really were an incredible talent and beautiful soul… Proud you were such a big part of the Seattle scene and our Seattle community.

  • Millz

    If your thinking a lot about Layne latley, as some of us are, why not not donate to the Layne Staley fund and help recovering heroin addicts with this horrible disease.

  • Angelyn

    Respectfully appreciative GrungeReport for all the hard work you put into the site and for confirming for us fans the authenticity of this photo of Layne and the additional details of where/when.
    Keep up the great work!

  • Stobbart

    Nevermind hair does grow but they are saying this was after the grammy’s and im sorry but someone in his poor health it would take longer to grow. Unheathly people do not flourish as healthy ones. This photo is later than 98

  • Wachee

    the grammy’s was in feb ´97. Layne’s hair had already grown a bit by then, give it another 18 months if we assume this photo is halloween ´98, it’s quite possible he’d have this long hair by then. plus, there are numerous of testimonials that Layne actually had long mousy brown hair at the end. (replying to the halloween wig theory).

    a side note: getting curious. you guys have seen the photo with Layne and Phil, I think it’s from Rubio’s book. people have been discussing weather it is a pic from the reclusive years. seeing this photo imho there is a striking resemblance. the long hair, very pale skin, the glasses i think match, clean shaved.there are better quality ones out there but this is what i found when googling it:

  • Tim


    The pic you posted is from 1996 when Alice was playing on a Kiss reunion tour. Thought id let ya know.

  • Robbie

    I have been following this story as I play drums in an AIC cover band, and I believe NEVERNAMED’s photo would be from 1997, as Layne still has pink hair, which he was seen with at The Unplugged show in late 96. Its a sad story people, but some people just love getting fucked up and you can’t stop them no matter how hard you try. I have a Kerrang magazine from 1995 where Layne openly states that he still loves to ‘get fucked now and again’. He sang about it, he spoke about it, he did it. It was his choice and he knew what fate awaited him. Lets just let him rest now and remember his awesome voice/lyrics

  • Robert

    The other mystery photo I believe is around New Year’s Eve 96/97. He actually looked worse in that photo then he did in the Halloween 98 photo. The shorter pink kind gives away.

  • Ace

    Layne did NOT have pink hair on the Kiss tour in 1996. Therefore the 2nd mystery picture – – is not from the Kiss tour. I am convinced it is from 1999-2001 until someone proves otherwise.

  • jon
  • cantrell


    This picture is from the Would video , indeed he wears the same t shirt.

    If he had pink hair photo must be from the unplugged era rather than from New Year´s ever. Layne didn´t have pink hair when AIC toured with Kiss in the summer of 96

  • Ace

    @jon – assuming you aren’t making a sarcastic joke, that photo is from the photo sessions they did for the Dirt booklet.

  • steve ma

    Thats not from the kiss reunion shows, its from new years 97 or 98 I don’t remember. One of the guys in the picture was outraged that the pic made it onto a layne staley facebook page.

  • FartHead


    Layne did not have pink hair on the KISS tour (July 1996) but he did have pink hair during the filming of Unplugged (April 1996) and he wore that same outfit (jacket and hat) in the video for “Heaven Beside You” (early 1996) so I would make the assumption that this pic is from around the filming of Unplugged.

    Up your Ace!

  • Sickwit_it

    The picture where you guys say he has pink hair. Thats not hairs its a pink bandana.

  • stash

    i think the picture of layne with the pink hair is from 1996 when aic were performing “again” live on mtv. this is indicated by the dress shirt and tie he wore both in the picture and taping…

  • nanette

    regarding the picture

    this has to be an older picture…..notice Layne still has his teeth.

  • jarofchains

    Nanette…he looks better in the original pic posted than the one you are talking too. The whole reclusive Layne era is really intriguing to me. To be honest though I think the halloween pic probably satisfied any of my curiosities though.

  • Louderthanshit333

    @ nanette Compare Layne’s teeth to the man next to him.

  • PiE

    Sickwit_it is right.
    Just noticed the blonde air behind the ear..the pink is from the bandana

  • Mom in the Box

    regarding the picture
    This picture just breaks my heart. Seeing what addiction can do to such a beautiful person is horrible. RIP Layne.

  • Robert

    This pic is probably now just after the unplugged performance based on the pink hair. Reports were that was from the New Year’s Eve 96/97.

  • Robert

    This pic is more painfully to see than the Halloween photo and addiction ruins a great person.

  • nevernamed

    There is no way that picture is from during the kiss tour. Layne looks thinner and more pale, his hair is curling out in that picture, but if you look at any of the kiss pictures you’d see his head was shaved on the lower parts.
    And who wears jackets in the end of june/july..

  • nevernamed

    this is Layne from the 1996 mini tour

    NOT the same time as the ‘new years eve’ picture.

  • Ace


    Here is a picture of Layne with the pink hair.

    Does that look even remotely like the man in the “mystery” pic in question?

    Sickwit_it appears to be right. It looks like he’s wearing a bandana with his curly hair hanging out the back. Even if he DOES have pink hair, this is something that can be done in 10 minutes in your bathroom. He could have dyed it pink again years after the Unplugged show.

    Brett, use your powers to try to confirm the date of the mystery photo.

  • elle

    Yea! that photo where Layne is in all black and smiling really breaks my heart too, he looks so small and frail, he looks happy but who knows :(

  • nevernamed

    Brett needs to use his powers. Either way, its good to see him looking happy there.

  • Jenna

    I don’t think he looks to bad in this picture. Just a little thin. His appearance was always changing anyway. I think it was just part of his intrinsic personality. I have never believed he was 80 or 85 pounds when he died. think about it people, he was like 5″10. I think his remains were probably 80 or 85 pounds. God rest his soul!

  • raven


  • mike

    So, what’s interesting to me about this is that it’s supposedly on Halloween after one of Jerry’s shows…

    One Halloween, ’98-’01 not sure which, he spent the the evening with the members of the band Cold. It was in Seattle, after a show they played with Jerry. Layne dressed as an old fisherman so as to not be recognized and brought a bottle of Jack Daniels.

    -Scott, do you remember any other details of that night?

  • chris

    Anterior to what Mike wrote, I’m glad someone else here remembers the Cold/Cantrell connection. I posted something about that on another one of these “Staley Reclusive Years” stories on this site. I’ve searched, but cannot locate the site, or even a quote from Scooter Ward (Cold frontman) about meeting Layne. It was definitely published, though, not too long after Layne passed. Most of the nu-metal shit-rock bands of that time (Cold among them) included a tribute to Layne on their albums. If you recall, 2002 is when nu-metal was in its dying days, but those bands still sold boatloads of records. The death of Layne Staley, a real artist who most all of those clowns parroted, gave them a chance to get their names in the papers again and try to curry favor with music fans who were around, or were conscious of the great music being made, during the grunge years by gushing about Layne’s influence on them. Not surprisingly, the stumpy fellow from Godsmack went on and on about how Layne inspired him to sing. One of the more surprising nu-metal interview soundbites came in the form of Scooter Ward, who recounted meeting Layne at the Cantrell show. The interview didn’t give specifics as to what year it was, but it was at a Halloween show that this happened. It’s safe to say that it was either in ’98 or ’99, since Jerry was probably playing shows both years in support of “Boggy Depot” and Cold’s star had just begun to rise around that time. I remember first hearing them in ’98 on a sampler CD I got at a Warped Tour date. In the interview, Scooter (yes, there is a goth named Scooter) Ward said that he didn’t realize it was Layne at first, as he had a mask on, but when he was introduced to him by Jerry after the show and the mask was off at that point, it was heartbreaking to see how rapidly he’d aged from hard living.

  • Dave

    I’ve seen the 2 pics from the Grammy’s in 1997 and 2 more after where he’s wearing a silver jacket..Anyone seen those and if so, anyone know when they were taken, I read they were taken in October 1998 when he record Get Born Again and Died with Alice in Chains and in those he had short hair.

  • Nakato


    I know this has been sometime ago but I found the quote you were talking about.

    The Day Seatlle Died:
    “It was for Layne Staley actually. We were touring with Jerry Cantrell on the first record and we went to Seattle to play a Halloween show. Sean Kenny was with us and we wanted to meet Layne Staley because he was my idol. He was such a sick man at that point. They were like, “Man, he doesn’t come out of his house.” They finally got him to come out and get dressed up because it was Halloween. He got in a little costume and snuck in up there and nobody knew who he was. He sat down with me and hung out. It was amazing but at the same time, it was heartbreaking to see my idol looking like an 80-year-old man. It was really weird.” – Scooter Ward

  • Laura

    Okay, so mystery picture #1 was solved… What about mystery picture #2??

  • http://google george new photo of layne from 99

  • http://google george
  • dino

    This picture with long hair is not fake and this should be from 1998. Here is one from making of “Get born again” and “Died”:
    So, this picture george posted above must be later than 1998.

  • chris


    Thanks for digging up that Scooter Ward quote. It seemed like I racked the Internet’s brains for days to try to find that, but to no avail!

    That pic everyone on here wonders about has to be post-1998. Layne’s face is fuller in the ’98 pics, especially the one of him in the studio, and he looks younger then. I want to say that the friend of a friend who saw him described him as looking like “a homeless old man,” but said he was quite friendly, though. That was sometime in either 2000 or ’01. I’m sure that Layne’s looks fluctuated in those “unknown” years depending on how well he was able to keep his life and usage in check. He looks healthier in the recent photos we’ve seen from the “Died”/”Get Born Again” sessions than he does in the photo from the Halloween party from ’95 (I think) where he’s holding court with the rest of the band. He looks decrepit in that pic, just like he’s falling apart, and it’s sad to see in that pic where everyone else is partying, no doubt in various states of intoxication, yet Layne looks just “existant” there. Just sitting there with a blank expression on his pale face.

    Side note: I’m pretty sure “recluse” is the word journalists assign those public figures who’d rather not be bothered. Sure, Layne didn’t do much in terms of keeping a musical career going in his later years, but from what I understand, for the most part he was a fairly recognizable person around town during at least some of those years. Lots of people saw him here and there, several of whom have posted about it on the Internet somewhere. Aside from being physically unable at times to leave his house (assuming, in the last couple of years), I’m sure part of him probably enjoyed not having to be photographed everywhere he went or having to answer to media, and maybe even relished the “recluse” tag a bit. I mean, after all, he did name his slice of the AiC music publishing pie “Jack Lord Music,” after another well-known “recluse”.

  • anthony magda

    I’am not gay, or a wierdo, however my love of layne has only grown since we lost him… he and demery were personal friends, though I was in recovery when he died, I was running with d shortly before she passed… I did not see layne before he died, however watching d suffer like she did sucked!!! And so does heroin!!! If you can’t kick the stuff methadone is a viable option, though it IS ANOTHER ADDICTION, it is a managable one, and if used correctly it WILL NOT KILL YOU… layne was on methadone a couple of times when I knew him, it was SOOO HARD for layne, all the pain, and the MONEY, he was like a big brother to me, and I will continue to say he was a beautiful man both physically and spiritualy…I’am not gay, however I’am a freak, and I will love boh layne and d FOREVER… miss you both, soooo sad, drugs only kill and destroy the body and spirit, there relief is only temporary, there BAD EFFECTS are forever… JUST SAY NO… love ant….