"When you sign up for doing this, there's three things you do it for and that's sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. It's a pretty short list. And it's advocated. No one gets mad if you show up fucked up!"
"Ultimately, the only way Layne could exist was to hide, become a recluse" Sean told Metal Hammer in 1999. "He had a choice, to take it all on and keep getting beat down, or just to refuse it all and disappear. He chose the latter"
On getting back together.
"I think it's a bigger deal to other people. People don't know how our relationships work with each other, and with Layne and everything, because we've never really talked about it. The name Alice in Chains belongs to all of us. It took a long time to do it again. It's not something we just rushed out and did."
"Not too many bands stop after two number one albums back to back. We stopped because we love each other and we're really good friends and we didn't want to fall apart in public. If we'd carried on something worse would've happened and probably none of us would've been around today so we just made a decision and walked off from it and got on with our lives."
Did you believe Layne would have eventually been able to conquer his drug problems?
"Totally. Always. We never gave up. We were all there and we were all involved, and that's why we stopped doing [drugs]. A lot of focus is on Layne and he definitely had an issue… he was also the singer, but truth be known we all had issues to varying degrees and if we continued on, I don't know if any of us would've lasted. Because of that, Jerry and I made the decision to try to stay alive and support each other and work it all out and hopefully not do that. It ended up this way. It's a horrible thing to go through."
Responding to critics.
"No one's trying to relive the past and we're not trying to scam people out of their money, you know? That's not the deal. It's been hard times, but we're doing it together. The name's been part of our entire life. I don't know what the problem is! There's bigger issues than what the fuck we're doing. It's my name. Should I change it? Fuck off."
"Choosing to do this again was a pretty heavy thing. We got a lot to live up to, so if we weren't proud of what we were doing, if we didn't dig it, there wouldn't be much point."
When did you realise William was the right guy to enable you to be AIC again?
"That's a really tough thing. The problem we were finding when we started thinking about doing this is that you can't replace Layne. We never set out to replace Layne. That's not the way we're taking this. Layne's irreplaceable. William had been working with Jerry on his solo tours and he and Jerry sound great together. William does his thing and he's not trying to sound like Layne because he wouldn't be into that."
On playing again.
"It was a little strange. The first time we had Maynard from Tool and a whole bunch of people. It was cool to do it, but after that we started to talk about how we could maybe do it again. We've always kept in touch because we're like family, but we hadn't played in public for a long time. We did it for a really good cause so it wasn't just about that, but that's how it started to grow."
When did it get serious?
"We started getting offers and people saying, 'Hey are those guys playing again?' We were just testing the water and playing, and then it comes down to whether we want to pay tribute to something or whether we want to get ready to do it all again. It wasn't some big contrived deal."
What about people who say you're 'cashing in' on the whole 'nostalgic revival' thing?
"I hear stuff from people, like we were broke or something, but nobody's broke. We don't need to do this. We're not really egomaniacs who've got to be rock stars. If we were those guys we would've held it together and done this 10 years ago. If we were out to make money we would've done this a long time ago, but there is no money in the music business. People don't buy your records, they steal 'em! The industry is completely different from when we last made an album. So we're not doing this for money, but you've got to do something with your life, right? And this is the thing that we're happiest doing. It's the thing that ultimately gave us everything, but it's also the thing that put us through the worst shit in our lives. I've seen many people, Layne and many of my friends, die."
"For us, it's a continuation of what we did before. It just feels right so we're going to see where it goes. When our time comes, hopefully someone will tell us 'Hey, you're way too stupid looking to be doing this shit'. In the end I'm digging the record and that's all that matters. If you guys love really fluffy power-pop tunes then I'm not so sure you'll dig it."