When you really like a certain band, you often have a vivid memory of the first time you listened to them. Anthrax‘s Scott Ian recalled the first time he heard Alice in Chains in a new interview, admitting that he initially thought they were a hair band, but was blown away.
Ian told Metal Hammer that his first exposure to the Seattle rockers was when Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer were choosing who they wanted to support them on the American leg of their massive Clash of the Titans tour. Dave Mustaine gave Ian a CD copy of Alice’s debut album Facelift to listen to.
“I hadn’t even heard of them, and I thought it was some hair band. And I put it on in the car on the way home and I was blown away. I could not believe how fucking good it was,” he remembered. “It was not thrash and it was not ’80s hard rock. They had the riffs, the hooks, the vocals, but there was this pop thing to it – I mean, ‘Man in the Box’ is a straight-up pop song in terms of arrangement, but it’s so fucking heavy. Like, Black Sabbath heavy.”
Alas, Alice were invited to join the Clash of the Titans tour, which ran from May through mid-July of 1991. Setlist.fm notes that their average setlist included 7 songs on that tour, opening with “Would?” — which would initially come out the following year on the soundtrack for the movie Singles — and closed with “Man in the Box.”
“I remember the first show they played on the Clash of the Titans tour, and I expected them to just be up there shoegazing, but they were jumping around, headbanging, Layne [Staley] was in the crowd’s faces. He’d jump in the crowd and fight people,” Ian remarked of Alice’s performances.
“There’s this myth of darkness around them, but those guys were just fucking goofballs. We stayed in the same hotels every day, there were many, many nights spent drinking with them, we’d go fishing with them. But when came to facing down thousands of Slayer and Megadeth and Anthrax fans, they would not back down. I had such respect for that then, and I still do today.”