Alice In Chains has used Las Vegas to bookend its tour schedule this year. The Seattle-based metal/grunge outfit made its first appearance of 2016 in a pair of April dates at T-Mobile Arena opening for Guns N’ Roses.
“It was really such a great honor to be a part of such a historic couple of shows with GNR coming out for their inaugural gigs,” Alice In Chains vocalist William DuVall said. “That was awesome, it felt like such an event.”
Now Alice In Chains enters its final week of touring with a headlining spot at The Joint on Saturday night. We caught up with Duvall as he prepares to finish off his first decade with the band.
Do you have any other lasting memories of the shows at T-Mobile Arena with GNR? The backstage compound, where our dressing rooms were, there was this big spot on the floor and everyone was like, “What is that?” Someone from the arena said, “There was a big party in here last night and Nicki Minaj threw up right there.” It was like pink and had glitter it in. It was like, “Wow, this place is brand new. They’re still putting dry wall up in certain places, and there’s already been a party massacre.”
You went on to play a handful of stadiums with GNR. What was that like? It’s extremely rare for a rock band, particularly an American rock band, to do that level of business so that in and of itself was amazing. It transcended rock, even transcended music and became like a sporting event to be in a place of that size. The scale of it was really a trip. It was remarkable, we loved playing places of those sizes.
Coming up in the punk and hardcore scenes, did you ever aspire to play stadiums? It certainly wasn’t something I imagined doing back then. Part of me would have looked on it with some suspicion, but part of me had some real fondness even back then for bands that were starting to play big places. I remember going to see U2 in ’83, ’84, the first time they played the Omni in Atlanta. And I saw Springsteen’s Born In The USA Tour. I think it really came down to what the music was like, if it was speaking to me or not. So I’d like to think that the 16-year-old me would look at the me now and say, “Hey, he’s alright.”
Do principles from the 16-year-old you still inform your music today? It forged me and made me who I am, so I carry it with me all the time. I carry the same attitude, the same aggressiveness on stage for sure and I carry the same mindset into songwriting for sure. I think it’s especially evident in the stuff I’ve done with Giraffe Tongue Orchestra (a side project featuring members of Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon and Jane’s Addiction). That album just came out, and I’m so proud of it. I think it shows the entirety of my career, from punk to progressive to pop, all encapsulated in one album. It was a rare opportunity to get to do something like that.
You’re also working on a couple music documentaries. What’s kept you so engaged and active after more than three decades in music? I just have an absolute need for self expression, and to challenge myself. It’s just what I do, part of who I am. I couldn’t change it.
Alice In Chains with the New Regime. October 1, 7 p.m., $40-$300, the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.