Alice In Chains singer/guitarist Jerry Cantrell revealed how Sean Kinney first rejected reuniting the band without Layne Staley prior to the idea of a tsunami benefit show in a new Vice interview.
“Everybody was affected by the tsunami, even if you weren’t personally affected by it. Across the world people were holding benefit shows and raising money. After Layne had passed, we were, ‘That’s it. We’re done. We’re not gonna fucking do this again.’ [Prior to that] we’d had a conversation here or there, there and I was like, ‘We didn’t leave it in a good place. Maybe we can invite our friends, do a limited run thing. And we bring Layne with us—we honor our bro, and also honor ourselves and the people that supported it.’ And Sean wasn’t that into it.
Then the tsunami happened. And Sean called me up and said, ‘Let’s do it for this thing.’ And that’s what we did. We made some money for the cause. But for our purposes, that was a really heavy night to stand up there without Layne and play those tunes. It was fucking heartbreaking. But it was also very triumphant and cathartic.”
“I commend him for sticking it out. He’s earned the right to be here. He was there for the right reasons, to make the best music we can. We toured for a year and a half, and then we were going to put it to bed. But you get creative guys together and shit’s gonna happen. So we started writing tunes. At the end of that period of time we had a lot of tunes, and it sounded good. It sounded like us. The first consideration was making sure that we were OK with it. So we just started working on it. It’s a really important record.”