Late Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley’s mother Nancy Layne McCallum recently told Northwest Music Scene.
“In 5th grade, he borrowed his Uncle Bob’s trumpet, so that was his first instrument. Then, our family friend Fred loaned him a drum set, and he loved the drums. He wasn’t really into the trumpet but the drums he loved. And then, our neighbor sold him a drum set and he changed his middle name to Thomas, because he admired Tommy Lee (Motley Crue).”
“There was a little band in high school and I have to laugh because I didn’t even know. It kept changing members and houses. I don’t think we ever realized that in their minds, it was a band (laughs). Then, his step-brother Ken came to the house one day and said, ‘Hey, some of my friends are looking for a singer,’ and Layne said, ‘I’m not a singer,’ and Ken said, ‘Oh, just go try it out anyway.’ Ken drove him over and he tried out with a band called Sleze. They had a lot of people signed up and (Layne) was the 7th one to be interviewed and they said, ‘Shut down the auditions. We’ve found our singer.’ That’s the story as I heard it.”
“So, he was in Sleze for a while, then they became Alice ‘N Chains. Layne did some backing vocals with other bands. The Seattle scene was very tight, and these kids all helped each other out, singing in the background. It was very much of a brotherhood; a fraternity.”