Pearl Jam Icon ‘Taught’ Layne Staley Singing


Pearl Jam Ten engineer Dave Hillis discussed working on Ten in a new Cobras & Fire podcast interview, and how Pearl Jam’s producer taught Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell about harmonizing in Alice In Chains.

The interviewer said, “Rick died tragically young at the age of 50. Any memories of him you’d like to share?”

Hillis responded, “Rick, he’s one of a kind for sure. Unique personality, especially amongst rock musicians. He was classically trained and all that.

“He wasn’t out to make anybody really like him necessarily, he would say his job is to make a great record for you. ‘I’m not here to be your friend,’ that kind of thing.

“And I remember him and Stone [Gossard, guitar] – we would drive Stone sometimes from the studio, and all the talks they would get into, Stone was like, ‘Just act like you like me,’ kind of half sarcastically, but kind of true.

“And of course they did. He had his way about him, and he didn’t really change for anybody on that, which was so meticulous, such a perfectionist, incredibly talented musician.

“All the bands that worked for him, it was his ability to play those piano parts and really teaching everybody, from Layne [Staley] and Jerry [Cantrell], how to really deliver their vocals and do harmonies.

“He’d write with them on harmonies on the piano, which a lot of people forget and don’t know. All those great harmonies, those all came from Rick, all that stuff was Rick sitting at the piano.

“He wouldn’t let anything get by, he was going to make sure that that song was the best song it could be, so he was impressive to work with, and – I pulled out of his toolbox all the time.” Ultimate-Guitar transcribed his comments.