Seal, the renowned British R&B singer, has recently shared his love for grunge legends Alice in Chains, revealing how the band was “really significant” to his life. This unexpected revelation came during his appearance on Amoeba Records’ internet series What’s In My Bag? in celebration of its 800th episode.
Seal picked several classic records, including Neil Young’s Harvest and Kate Bush’s The Hounds of Love, but it was Alice in Chain’s 1992 sophomore effort, Dirt, that stood out. In his discussion of the band, Seal gave a detailed analysis of their significance, drawing parallels between them and traditional R&B.
“Facelift was the first one, and it had ‘Man in the Box’. This band were really significant for me. Because when I left England at the beginning of my career, grunge had just kicked off. I remember coming to Los Angeles and being in a cab and talking to the driver. And we got talking about music. He said, ‘What kind of music do you like? What are you interested in?’, and I said, ‘Well, I’m really curious about this grunge thing; I really like it.’ He said, ‘Who are the bands?’ I said, ‘You know, I love Nirvana, of course, and I like Pearl Jam.’ And he said, ‘Oh, they’re cool. Have you heard of this band called Alice in Chains?’. I went, ‘Well, no’, and he put on ‘Man in the Box’, and that was it.”
Although Alice in Chains and Seal may seem like an unlikely pairing, their mutual love for music has brought them together. Seal’s appreciation for the band sheds light on the influence and impact of Alice in Chains on the music industry, despite their unique sound and approach to music.
“I heard Layne’s voice, Layne and Jerry singing together with those close harmonies, and yes. And so, out of that whole grunge period, they were by far, by far, my favourite and, I think the most underrated. There were some great songs on here, the obvious one being ‘Rooster’, which Jerry wrote about his father coming home from Vietnam. I love the artistry, obviously, but there’s a real sexiness to their music. It’s dark, it’s beautiful, it’s melancholic, but it’s really sexy, and it’s weighty.”
It’s always refreshing to see artists appreciating music outside their genre, and Seal’s admiration for Alice in Chains is a testament to the band’s versatility and musicianship. It’s exciting to think about the unexpected collaborations that could arise from artists exploring genres outside their comfort zones.