Layne Staley Sad Alice In Chains Paycheck Leaks

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Alice In Chains singer/guitarist Jerry Cantrell discussed he and Layne Staley’s terrible early paychecks during their early days together in a new Gibson video, transcribed by Ultimate-Guitar.

“I met Layne at a house party, I think in West Seattle. I never met him before, but I’ve seen his band, and I remember the first time I heard him sing, I thought, ‘Man, that guy is cool, that guy’s got a great voice. I would love to be in a band with that guy.’

We ended up actually meeting not long after that; a couple of months after that, they played a show in Tacoma and I went to see it. Layne’s guitar player at the time [Nick Pollock] had met me and brought me over to the party, and I ended up meeting Layne.

He worked at a place called The Music Bank, which was a rehearsal hall, and it was 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 40-some rooms – it was awesome, it was one of the coolest things ever. Basically, we’d just kind of crash there and he worked the shift and let bands in and out of the rooms when they were doing gigs or whatever, and then lock everything up and make sure everything’s secure.

He met me at that party and we hit it off, and he’s like, ‘Man, Nick was telling me about your situation. If you got nowhere to stay, you can come and stay with me. I can probably even get you a job.’ And he did.

So I basically moved in with him at The Music Bank, which was underneath the Ballard Bridge, and I got a job with Layne. Layne would work one shift at work, and there was basically maybe four or five of us that would split shifts and kind of lived at the place, and each one of us got part of our pay. [Laughs] What a scam.

We didn’t get paid cash, we got a free room and after a while of us complaining, the guy who ran the place, named Dave, he might give us a couple of bucks here and there, but the fringe benefits were that he’d smoke us out all the time, and then we complained enough like, ‘Hey dude, we got to eat.’

So he started buying TV dinners. I’ll never forget this, he had all our names on a graph, and like – how many TV dinners you ate. You had to put a little checkmark every time you ate one, and a couple of us would cheat and not put it in there.”