Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell recently discussed Layne Staley’s original concept of the name being a homage to Guns N’ Roses and Axl Rose, before the band later slightly changed their name when Staley reworked the name after joining forces with Cantrell, Sean Kinney, and Mike Starr.
Ultimate-Guitar transcribed, “They came down; Mike, [Mike’s sister] Melinda and Sean, and we all ended up jamming together. I think Layne was mildly interested, but he wasn’t really involved. But then he started to listen to us play a little bit, and we picked a couple of covers to play first, like ‘Taxi Driver,’ something like that, or ‘Suffragette City,’ David Bowie. Layne’s had his band, which used kind of the same name, but it was more like Guns N’ Roses, Alice N’ Chains, instead of Alice in Chains.
He had this other band with another dude named Ron, which was kind of more, I don’t know, it was kind of like Dead or Alive kind of stuff, kind of glammy goth, kind of dance stuff or whatever, but still with some heavy guitars.
And he’s like, ‘Hey, I’m doing this thing with this other guy – you want to play guitar on that? And if you want to play a couple of songs with Alice too, that would be cool.’ I’m like, ‘OK, that’s cool, I’ll do that for you, but why don’t you sing with us too as well?’ So we made a deal with each other to jam on this third project between our two projects.”
Axl Rose has discussed his love of the Grunge era and 90’s alternative rock, though he has never discussed Layne Staley or Alice In Chains in detail, compared to his early admiration of Nirvana prior to his feud with Kurt Cobain. Guns N’ Roses frequently perform a cover of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” in honor of Chris Cornell. Soundgarden opened for Guns N’ Roses in 1992, and Chris Cornell later collaborated with Slash on the song “Promise” in 2010.