Red Hot Chili Peppers Tried To Save Layne Staley Before Death


Today is the 17-year anniversary of legendary Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley’s death, but just a couple of years before he died from a drug overdose on April 5, 2002, former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante tried to save his life.

Around 1999/2000, Bob Forrest and John Frusciante tried to help Alice In Chains frontman Layne Staley get clean. Forrest recalls the story in his book Running with Monsters: A Memoir. Forrest had gained a reputation at the time as being someone who could communicate with addicts, and he had helped Frusciante get clean in 1998. Frusciante was hesitant to visit Staley because he didn’t think you could really preach to somebody about getting clean, but Forrest was adamant about trying to help him.

Forrest called back Staley’s mother Nancy and told her that they’d try to help him, though he told her he didn’t know if it’d work. Nancy responded, “Layne’s got an odd sense of humor. I told him that John had gangrene once. He said, ‘In his arm? That’s terrible, Mom. John’s a guitar player. He needs his hands and arms. Me? I’m just a singer. I can get by without them.’ I know he was joking, but I don’t like to hear stuff like that. Can you try to talk sense to him?”

Forrest agreed to, and he and Frusciante visited Staley at his Seattle condo. Forrest says that Staley’s mind clearly still worked but that he was “a million miles away.”

Bob: “Hey Layne. What’s going on.”
Layne: “Nothing. I know why you’re here.”
Bob: “Your Mom’s worried, man. You don’t look too good.”
Layne: “I’m okay, though. Really.”

Staley was playing video games while they talked, and “pretended” to listen according to Forrest. After Forrest and Frusciante left, Forrest said, “I don’t think he’ll come out of this.” Frusciante said, “It’s his life, man.” Staley died from a drug overdose on April 5, 2002. Forrest said that for a long time he had thought love could cure addiction, but he said that he loved Layne Staley and it didn’t save him.

  • Willie Jones jr

    I remember the news reported finding “a body” at Laynes house. I had hoped that it wasn’t his and I was not totally surprised. Saddened, but not surprised.
    Its a shame that he couldn’t come out of his addiction.

  • brett_ray

    Yeah they really tried to save him … I can really feel the effort here. Shitty writing

    • Cheetah Chrome

      What else is there to do? What would you do? The addict had to want change, really want it. Lane didn’t.

      • brett_ray

        I’m just saying, the article didn’t really emphasize any urgency.

    • Shawn

      AN seems to firmly subscribe to the quantity over quality model of content creation. This is actually one of their less clickbaity posts where right away I knew this story was actually about Staley and Frusciante. But yeah aside from the writing I have no doubt that Forrest and Frusciante really did try to save him, but they know how hard it is to reach someone in active addiction and likely left once they realized Layne wasn’t having it. It’s a damn miracle that the two of them are still alive though, and a shame that Layne isn’t. 🙁

  • Rick Morrow

    And they did nothing for Jack Sherman and Dave Navarro at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

  • Pdidiy

    I Was the guy hired during Lollapalooza to keep him from getting drugs. Layne was ready to move from it and we built a good working relationship. Everyone seems to forget he even started to start a show with a suit on! James from TOOL tried to help him as well!

    • Shawn

      Damn that’s insane! I bet that was an awesome time to be around some great bands. I remember reading a story from Forrest about him selling drugs to Staley and Starr and then turning on the TV to realize he just sold drugs to Alice in Chains and his own band was in ruins.

  • Raj

    Sad he was in denial up until the end he was check out a long time before. He was visibly and drug sick during Unplugged they couldn’t tour the Tripod album and that was a full 7 years before. When he came back to record Died and Get Born Again he still had his voice. His final moments were going to a restaurant booth and nodding off to sleep.