Sean Kinney Says the ‘Door Never Closes’ On Alice in Chains [INTERVIEW]
Alice in Chains drummer Sean Kinney sat down with us for an exclusive interview at Rock on the Range and discussed at length his thoughts on the fans that want nothing to do with the current lineup of the band. If you were a fan of any incarnation of AIC, this interview is a must see.
Our Rock on the Range 2013 interview with Sean Kinney of Alice in Chains got off to a rocky start, with the first few questions not really heading in the direction we expected. After that, we asked Sean how he would address the fans of Alice in Chains that bash them online for continuing after the tragic passing of Layne Staley. What followed was an emotional and thoughtful conversation about the band’s past and present that Sean admitted he had never spoken about at such lengths. You can read his lengthy response to that question (which starts at around the 9-minute mark) underneath the video.
“I always have the chance to address those people, I mean, it’s personal choice. They don’t have to like it. We’re not designed for everybody. We never [begged] anybody to follow this or dig it. We do it because we like it. I get the passion that they have about our friends that are no longer here and that they’ve made a connection through music to that and I respect that, you know? I think It’s great that they care so much. But It can be off putting, you know? We don’t really look at that stuff. There’s always this [white noise] about things for the most part it seems like a minority mind set.
The fact is, like everybody here, they’re going to run up to the fact that people you love and care about and yourself won’t be here and what do you do then? This was never a solo project this is always a band. This is real to us. Those are really our friends, those are all my best friends. Nobody knows better of what do and how to handle this than us and were not doing it for the “money” … [the music industry] is dead. There’s not a lot of money, especially in rock and roll. So, I mean, we don’t need the money. We do this for the same reason we always did and more than half the reason I ever did this at all was bringing that that we did together — that was so important to us and that had a life of its own — to be able to bring them with us and the music and that’s important.
If people wanna close their minds to those things, these things will happen to them. It’s just not on a public forum where people have to deal with it. When your mom dies not everybody starts telling you, “you gotta change your name” and “how dare you go on living” and “you can’t be you and do things, you need to change your job and everything you spent your life doing… your career.” It’s just not well thought out, but it’s based behind passion and caring.
I have those same hopes too, you know? Trust me, nobody wished… nobody wanted it to be like this. It truly only affects — every single day — our friends, families and us in a real way. So we live with that and try to move on and how do we honor the past and honor who we are now — and it’s our past — and do that as men and that’s what we do.
I’m talking more than I know I have about this, I guess. When those guys were alive right? Mike [Starr] is on a TV show and everybody is talking shit about him for the most part, right? And when Layne was alive and we were doing this, we were very open about the lifestyles we lived and those lifestyles will end your life… and they have. Jerry [Cantrell] and I are just fortunate that it didn’t end ours either. It’s not like it was one guy doing things. We all lived a pretty toxic lives and that’s not rare to music. We’re not an exception to the rule, but the horrible facts are [that] these are the outcomes of those things.
Some of these people, back then, spent all their time chastising these people and trying to vilify us for what we were doing then and then when they’re no longer here, which I find is really nice, they come to accept that and hold them in a different regard. So I think that’s great, but it can be a little misguided sometimes.
In my fantasy, world maybe if those guys would’ve known that people cared like they apparently do now while they were alive would they have heard that. Would they have known. But these are the facts. This is reality. This is the reality we live with… it’s real to me, you know? Every day… there’s not a day we don’t think about that stuff and it’ll go on for the rest of our lives. This is why I do it. I’m not out here to play rock star and everything. We do this because were great friends and we spent our lives doing this and we still enjoy the music.
We have a pretty interesting past. We never took the easy road. We have a multi-racial band. We’ve had a female manager in the 80’s when it was ran by a bunch of old guys with cigars that ran these things that tried to treat her like a coffee lady [impersonates one of the aforementioned old guys] “Get me a coffee!” We just always seem to go our own way of dealing with things. We seem to take a less easy path, but it’s the path we’ve chosen and we do what feels right… and it’s important to us.
We’re not begging anyone to pay attention, we never were. If that’s how you want to live your life and close the door on something… that door never closes for us. We live with it every day. But I do appreciate their passion about it, it’s cool that something resonated with them in the work and the things that we did with our friends [that] meant that much to them and if it ends for them there, good.”
On whether they ever considered returning with a different name.
“It’s our name… we keep all our business very private we don’t correct the mistakes on Wikipedia. We don’t spend our time looking at things and correcting the mistakes while people try to write your history for you. We don’t have any interest in that. Truth is, it wasn’t owned by one … all four of us own the band name and when Mike [Starr] left, he gave up his rights. Layne, Jerry and I … it’s our name, it’s our business, it’s our career, it’s our music, it’s our thing we created.
We operate on what feels right and what our truths are and that’s all we can do. What would the difference be? We’d sound like us and play our songs. Either way you go there’s gonna be people that have a problem with what you’re doing. I don’t have a problem with what other people do, if it doesn’t interest me I just don’t pay attention to it.
I try to spend my time and energy on more positive things and things that I can actually do instead of online being mad at what other people do, but that’s cool. It must make people feel better to be anonymous. We’re not anonymous. I’m right here and I’m sure what I’m saying right now people will comment on and say I’m a dick. We don’t live and hide behind things. We live in the real world and really deal with stuff … if it makes that person feel more empowered so they’re not more of a jerk in real life to their family, cool. It’s just words and it’s easy to not pay attention. I don’t search after my band or Google myself. It’s not all good. You’re not going to find all [good things].”