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Alice N

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Subject: Sleze, Soulbender, Johnny Bacolas, Layne Staley, Second Coming
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Alice N

Alice N' Chains
(Clockwise from top left)
Nick Pollock, Johnny Bacolas,
Layne Staley, James Bergstrom
Background information
Origin Seattle, Washington, USA
Genres Glam metal
Years active 1986–1987
Associated acts Sleze, Alice in Chains, My Sister's Machine, Second Coming, Mad Season, Tanks of Zen, Soulbender, The Crying Spell, Lotus Crush
Past members Layne Staley
Nick Pollock
Johnny Bacolas
James Bergstrom

Alice N' Chains was an American glam metal band from Seattle, Washington formed in 1986 by former members of Sleze. Towards the end of their run as Sleze, discussions arose about changing their name to Alice in Chains.[1] However, due to concerns over the reference to female bondage, the group ultimately chose to spell it as Alice N' Chains.[1] They performed under this moniker over about a 12-month period and recorded two demos before breaking up on friendly terms in 1987.[2] One of its members ultimately took the name that he and his former bandmates had initially flirted with when he joined a different group a few months later that ultimately became known as Alice in Chains.


Vocalist Layne Staley, guitarist Nick Pollock, bassist Johnny Bacolas, and drummer James Bergstrom began performing in what would become the last lineup of Sleze in 1986 when founding member Bacolas rejoined after a brief stint in another band called Ascendant and took up the bass slot for the first time; originally he played guitar. After his return, Bacolas says the band began to discuss changing their name to Alice in Chains due to a conversation he had with Russ Klatt, singer from Slaughterhouse Five:

However, Staley's mother Nancy McCallum has said she still did not approve of this at first:

According to Staley, the reason they chose this name because they "dressed in drag and played speed metal".[4] The band performed around the Seattle area playing Slayer and Armored Saint covers.


Alice N' Chains recorded two demos known primarily as "Demo No. 1" and "Demo No. 2"; both from 1987. Physical copies of the cassettes are extremely rare as only 100 of "Demo No. 1" were made, although bootleg copies can be found on filesharing programs.

Pre-production for "Demo No. 1" began whilst the band were still calling themselves Sleze and with a different bass player named Mike Mitchell, who appears on the tracks "Fat Girls" and "Over the Edge" according to producer Tim Branom.[5] Recording for these two tracks took place at London Bridge Studio with the help of its founding engineer brother Rick and Raj Parashar.[5] A few months later, Mitchell left the band and Bacolas rejoined as their bass player. They added one more song called "Lip Lock Rock" to the demo before changing their name to Alice N' Chains.

Demo No. 1 track listing

  1. "Lip Lock Rock" – 4:24
  2. "Fat Girls" – 3:39
  3. "Over the Edge" – 2:43

Demo No. 2 track listing

  1. "Sealed with a Kiss" – 2:49
  2. "Ya Yeah Ya" – 3:11
  3. "Glamorous Girls" – 2:48
  4. "Don't Be Satisfied" – 3:27
  5. "Hush, Hush" – 2:29
  6. "Football" – 2:01

Post-Alice N' Chains

Shortly after Alice N' Chains broke up, Staley joined a different group of musicians led by guitarist Jerry Cantrell that eventually took up the name Alice in Chains. This band rose to international fame as part of the grunge movement of the early 1990s, along with other Seattle bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. Staley also formed the supergroup Mad Season along with Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready and Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin.

Following the demise of Alice N' Chains, Nick Pollock formed the band My Sister's Machine, taking up mostly vocal duties as their primary lyricist. He also later formed and sang with the bands Soulbender and Tanks of Zen, which is currently his primary musical endeavor.

Bergstrom became a founding member of the band Second Coming and was later joined by Bacolas, who replaced Ron "Junkeye" Holt on bass. Staley made a guest appearance on their debut album L.O.V.Evil. This band signed to Capitol Records in May of 1998 and recorded two more studio albums and one extended play before breaking up in 2008. Since then, Bacolas has recorded and released music with the bands The Crying Spell and Lotus Crush.


  1. ^ a b c Prato, Greg (April 2009). Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music. pp. 215–216.
  2. ^ Boehm, Mike (May 15, 1992). "MSM: Newest Vein of Gold in Seattle's Hard-Rock Quarry".  
  3. ^ Prato, Greg (April 2009). Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music. p. 216.
  4. ^  
  5. ^ a b "AlternativeNation.Net - The Origins Of Alice In Chains: A Retrospective". 2014-11-25. Retrieved 2014-11-25. 

External links

  • by Greg PratoGrunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music
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