By at 8:02 AM Thursday, August 20th 2009


Alice In Chains Check Their Brains

Alice In Chains, Music


Alice in Chains have unleashed their newest single, Check My Brain, to the masses. The single comes off the highly anticipated comeback album Black Gives Way To Blue – their first studio album in over 10 years, scheduled for release on September 29th and featuring the band’s new singer William Duvall.


You’ve already gotten a taste of BGWTB with A Looking In View, but now, like a giant rock beehive, the first proper single has arrived. Have a listen:

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It’s hard to pinpoint Duvall in either song, and perhaps that’s no accident, but the fact is that the man has some great pipes and serves Layne’s legacy as well as anyone can without sounding like an impersonator. After hearing the album in its completion last month, it’s difficult to say whether the die-hards will be satisfied; at times the record is more reminiscent of a Jerry Cantrell album than Alice In Chains proper, but it certainly has its share of hit-worthy rockers. Find out for yourself on Sept. 29.

Check My Brain lyrics:

So I found myself in the sun, oh yeah
A hell of a place to end a run, oh yeah
California, I’m fine
Somebody check my brain
California’s all right
Somebody check my brain
Check my brain

I walk these streets, I creep and I fall, oh yeah
When she sang I answered the call, oh yeah
California, I’m fine, somebody check my brain
California’s all right, somebody check my brain
Aaaaah tears have filled my bones
Aaaaah years expended gone

I hung my guns and put em away, oh yeah
The trick of the trade, and by the way, oh yeah
California, I’m fine, somebody check my brain
California’s all right, somebody check my brain

Aaaah tears have filled my bones
aaaah years expended gone

Check my brain, check my brain …


Meanwhile, On The Internet...

  1. Nick says:

    Would anyone go to a Nirvana reunion without Cobain? Probably but it would clearly be bullshit. Layne represented the core and the soul behind Alice in Chains, songwriter or otherwise. This IMO is a not too subtle attempt by Cantrell to regain a tiny bit of recognition and fame for the band which he helped create only to have destroyed by his partners drug fueled self destruction. Stick to the solo stuff dude, seriously Cut You In wasn’t too bad.

  2. That’s not exactly true at all, Nick. Jerry Cantrell was and obviously still is a major contributor to the core sound of AIC. It’s not as if he started singing after Layne died. Cut You In was pretty good, but this is much better. It’s possible to honor your dead singer and carry on. Shit, look at AC/DC. Brian Johnson picked up where Bon Scott left off and ran like hell with that ball. Back In Black sold 49 million copies and is still one of the best rock albums ever, and they haven’t stopped rocking yet fuckin’ 30 years later. More power to ‘em.

  3. zoopster says:

    Although I do have, from time to time, problems with bands changing lead singers and trying to continue on, (Thin Lizzy, Queen, Blind Melon, Van Halen…etc…)I agree with Johnny.

    Kurt was more than just the singer and songwriter in Nirvana, he was the sole guiding force, the reason behind the band, and it was his band, and so his death made going on impossible.

    It makes sense that Jerry would continue on, especially since he was one of the dual forces in AIC, and he obviously still has a few good ideas up his sleeve. I don’t think he is merely trying to cash in. I may be wrong, but my Rockdar tells me I’m right.

    Only time will tell if this experiment with a new lead singer goes the way of Van Hagar or AC/DC, just to name a couple of bands who changed lead singer mid way.

    Lest anyone forget, even the great Henry Rollins wasnt the first singer in Black Flag, and I dare anyone to talk shit about his contribution to that band. (granted it was gregs band and he was still in the lineup, but still).

    That riff is stone cold Alice in Chains, sounds great to me.
    Also, after listening to it a few times, I think Duvall is probably singing the high harmony on this song while jerry holds down the low end. I could be wrong on that though.

  4. Rich says:

    good tune but who will care..without Layne its pointless…and when you mention Brian Johnson and AC/DC, lets be honest here..Back in Black was the ONLY decent record BJ ever did (and they say that Bon Scott wrote most of the lyrics and that record anyway) and the following albums where mostly rubbish (Fly on the Wall anyone)…and Van Halen…please…Hagar again was rubbish, any fan will say Dave wa the only singer in the band…yes these bands with new singer Did continue to tour and release records but their artistic merrit is fairly futlie…

  5. Your opinions are null and void based on the sheer absurdity of your AC/DC statements. There’s just no reasoning with that logic.

  6. Lee says:

    Wow Rich, you sound you really know your shit. Jack shit that is. And anyone who uses the word “rubbish” more than twice in an article about a rock band not only is a bad and obviously close minded judge of music, but imo a shitty writer too(not grammatically speaking, but dude who’s your target audience, some “blokes and chaps who find drivel absolutely rubbish” :) Dumbass. Here’s a thought: It’s only pointless to quit creating music(or any other art for that matter) if you have nothing new to say. Well, Jerry’s been waitin’ a long fuckin’ time to say something. So let him have his say and shut the fuck up. And in regards to the Brian Johnson comment- Yo u obviously never head For Those About To Rock, and I’m not talking about the title song asshole. IMO Their best album ever, with or without Bon(Who I think is the greatest btw, and yes I know, quite a bold statement to make considering they made the legendary Highway to Hell)
    You know, I’m really stoned right now, but I’m pretty surer how I’d like to gather all my points for the outro to this rant.

  7. Skwerl says:

    well i’m with dude on van hagar. fuck hagar. but for those about to rock is indeed pretty solid.
    as for alice in chains… i’ve had my doubts. it’s weird because layne lived those lyrics. i don’t know how i feel about some happy rock star singing ‘down in a hole.’ but johnny has seen them live and he’s heard the album. he tells me it’s legit, and i trust his opinion. so i’m optimistic.

  8. Ajay says:

    It sounds f’in great and better than 99% of the stuff out there. If this was a new band people would be flipping out over this. They can do whatever they want, isn’t that the point of rock and roll. If they toured behind Jerry’s name then people would get pissed about them playing old AIC songs, get over it.

  9. Destrus says:


    You don’t have to worry about some ‘happy rock star’ singing Down In A Hole. jerry wrote the lyrics to that song and actually sang the lead vocal on it as well. It’s Jerry Cantrell’s song…it just happened to be recorded by Alice In Chains but Jerry wrote the lyrics AND music for that one.

  10. In the liner notes of 1999’s Music Bank box set collection, Jerry Cantrell said of the song:

    Down in a Hole is in my top three, personally. It’s to my long-time love. It’s the reality of my life, the path I’ve chosen and in a weird way it kind of foretold where we are right now. It’s hard for us to both understand…that this life is not conducive to much success with long-term relationships.

    It’s hard not to imagine the lyrics coming from Layne, given his life situation and the way he owned the narrative, but point goes to Destrus on this one I guess. Can’t wait to see ‘em play today.

  11. Evil Bat Witch says:

    Skwerl, I have also seen the new AIC, 3 shows. Duvall is fantastic. The first show they toured (in 2006?), Duvall stayed back and let Jerry do his tribute to his fallen bandmate. Since most of the old AIC stuff was written by Jerry, the songs that Layne sang were heartfelt but not “his” heart.
    Van Hagar sucked.
    ACDC still kicks ass.
    Not so sure about Queen. Freddy was a magnificent talent.
    Nirvana? Kurt WAS Nirvana. That one’s never going to happen.
    This is another great track guys.Can’t wait for the album!

  12. Skwerl says:

    well i’ll be damned.

  13. Destrus says:

    It’s all good Skwerl. Honestly, I’ve been an AIC fan since I was in high school and they first came out. Somewhere I still have the old VHS tape that was part of the Facelift double pack that they sold with the CD and the VHS of them live/videos.

    I will never forget when they found Layne Staley’s body and announced he was dead. I was living in Richmond, VA and it was actually rainy that day…so I thought it was heartbreakingly poetic that it was the case…even though I’m pretty sure Jerry wrote the lyrics on that one too.

    Layne was not a major contributor to the lyrics until the final album, and only wrote about 25% of the lyrics on Facelift, Sap, Dirt, and Jar Of Flies. I don’t stand here to belittle his contribution to AIC, because he was one of the most powerful frontment of the 1990s, but AIC’s was largely Jerry Cantrell. He wrote about 85% of the music and the famous harmonies of AIC’s vocals wouldn’t be possible without Jerry’s voice either.

    Anybody who is a long time AIC fan knows that Layne KNEW he was on a path to an early grave and didn’t want to avoid it. I think he would be happy that Jerry, Sean, and Mike have found the strength to finally carry on and that Layne’s death won’t mark the end to the band that he helped to put on the map. I don’t think Layne would’ve wanted AIC to break up after his death…he was just looking for rest and peace that he could never find in this life.

  14. Destrus says:

    Edit: AIC’s sound was largely Jerry Cantrell’s doing. Layne was in the band from the inception.

    Also, Degredation Trip Vol 1 and 2 are fantastic if you’ve needed an AIC fix over the last 8 years or so. Jerry Cantrell, Robert Trujillo, and Mike Bordin. Good stuff.

  15. Skwerl says:

    yeah, i’m a fan of cantrell’s solo stuff- on that front, i’ve always said more power to him. i’m not in the ‘aic was nothing without layne’ camp; i know that’s far from true. i just took it for granted that those brutally depressing lyrics came from layne. being corrected on that helps me approach the new stuff with an open mind. not that i wouldn’t have done my best to anyway.

  16. IINM519 says:

    It’s astounding how closely Duvall replicates Layne Staley’s vocal style – at least in the context of this song. Layne Staley was a legendary, completely unique vocalist who can never be replaced, but I’m stoked to hear what sounds like the old Alice In Chains making music again.

  17. Mofo says:

    Wow, I about creamed my panties! mmmmmm

    Thank YOU!!!!

  18. johnny havoc says:

    Layne was great, but hes gone. the new music rocks. I’m glad they moved on. if layne was alive he wouldnt have been able to contribute because of his condition. atleast they have a good singer that doesnt cancel shows!! this guy plays guitar too. Jerry and layne sang a lot of tunes togther. so now the new guy and jerry sing together, still great harmonies. just enjoy it!!!

  19. Redman says:

    Hey IINM519, thats the problem! the song is great, sounds like layne, but when you hear this duvall guy and jerry live neither sounds close to layne. so my question is, why release an albmu that sounds like layne is singing? why not get a singer that sounds like layne or let duval sound like himself? Kinda creepy

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