Alice In Chains bassist Mike Inez refutes the view that grunge killed hair metal – because the two genres are beyond comparison.
Inez says Seattle grunge bands spent years perfecting their sound while hair metal acts were more focused on girls, clothes and haircuts. But, he insists he did love the LA hair metal scene while it lasted.
Inez tells Lucas H Gordon: “The difference between the LA scene — I was born and raised here — and the Seattle scene is, Soundgarden was a band for 10 years before they got signed to a major label. So they had a lot of time to get together and gel as a band.
“Even all the bands like Nirvana and Alice In Chains in their early days and Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone – they had a lot of time to jam together before they released their music to the world. So I think that was very important.
“Where here in Los Angeles, they were just trying to mix and match bands by ‘Oh, we need a bass player with long, blonde hair,’ or ‘We need a singer with curly hair.’ They were just trying to do that.
“So the music started lacking, I think. But I’ll tell you one thing about the LA scene – there was more girls in the 80s here than I’ve ever seen anywhere in my life. It was a really fun time to see that.
“I was very young at the time, but it was nice to see that. To see bands like Van Halen play a backyard party, or Motley Crue play the Whisky. It was really cool to see these bands. Me and Slash are the two only rock stars, we’re the only two guys born and raised here. It’s funny. Everybody else comes here, but we’ve been here the whole time. We’ve seen it come and go.”
Inez also discusses the deaths of former AIC members Layne Staley and Mike Starr through drug overdoses, saying addiction is a problem in all walks of life and not just in the music business.
He adds: “Drug addiction is beyond music business. Whether you’re a washer-dryer repairman or a mechanic – alcoholism and drug addiction seems to go through all walks of life. It’s a pretty crazy business we’re in already. It’s such a shame when your friends pass away so young. I mean, we’re supposed to all grow old together. It’s just sad.”
Inez was given his chance in the big time by Ozzy Osbourne, for whom he played bass from 1989 to 1993. He says he sees The Prince Of Darkness as a father.
He says: “If Ozzy needed anything, not just musically, but if he ever needed me for anything, I would be the the first one there. Ozzy is like one of my fathers.
“He taught me a lot about this business and about how to play big stages and how to get a good bass tone. I mean, Ozzy is so smart. He’s smarter than people think – he’s a very wise man. We have such a good relationship.”