Layne Staley was an American musician who became famous as the lead vocalist of the Seattle rock band, Alice in Chain from 1987 to 1998. Also a member of the alternative rock supergroup Class of ’99 and Mad Season, Staley had a very difficult time since after the mid-1990s following his struggles with depression and addiction to drugs which would see him to his early death less than 10 years down the line.
Bio – Who was Layne Staley?
As already stated, Layne was an American musician. He was born Layne Rutherford Staley on August 22, 1967, in Kirkland, Washington. He dropped his middle name because he hated it to a point that he would get angry whenever anyone called him by the name. In fact, he changed the name to Thomas when he was a teenager, after Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe.
Since he was a child, Layne Staley had always loved music that he joined a rhythm band even before he was 3. By the time he was 9, he had already known that he wanted to become a singer. For his education, Layne Staley attended Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood.
By 12, the music star was already playing drums and soon afterward, he started playing for different bands. In 1984, Layne became a part of Sleze which was a glam metal band that had other members as Johnny Bacolas, Zoli Semanate, James Bergstrom, and Byron Hansen. It was this music group that would later become Alice in Chains.
With Alice in Chains, Layne Staley released albums like Facelift (1990), Dirt (1992), and the eponymous Alice in Chains (1995). He also worked with other bands including Heart, Mad Season, Second Coming, and Class of ’99.
Mom, Girlfriend, and Wife
One of the closest people to Layne Staley was his mother, Nancy Elizabeth Staley who mostly raised him alongside his stepfather, Jim Elmer. His father, Phillip Blair Staley and his mother got a divorce when he was only seven and it was after this that his mother went on to marry Elmer.
Although he was linked to a few women in the past before his death, he had never had a wife since he was never married. Also, at the time of his death, there was no record of him having any girlfriend. That said, he once almost got married to Demri Lara Parrott whom he dated from 1989 to 1994. The two were engaged for two years from 1992 to 1994 before the engagement broke.
Two years later, Parrott would lose her life following inflammation of the heart which was as a result of a heroin overdose. Still very much in love, this loss began the tragedy that would later befall the singer years later.
When did He Die?
Described as someone who was very shy and an introvert, Layne Staley had begun his decline from the latter part of 1996 and 1997. This was as a result of the death of his former fiancée, Demri Lara Parrott who died in October 1996 as a result of a drug overdose. This pushed him into a strong depression that he was even placed on suicide watch.
By 1999, things had gotten so bad that Staley was hardly seen. He would spend all his time locked up in his apartment where he was not only self-medicating but was also taking drugs. Apart from that, the Alice in Chains vocalist who had stopped answering the door remained at home painting and playing video games.
Around 2001, he was said to have almost joined Audioslave, a claim that would later be denied by the group’s guitarist Tom Morello. It was said that at the time, Staley was about heading for rehab so that he could go on to audition to be a part of the group.
On April 19, 2002, the decomposing body of the singer was discovered in his home by his mother, her ex-husband, and the police after his accountants pointed out that the singer had not made any withdrawal from his account for the past 2 weeks. Following an autopsy, it was reached that he had died two weeks prior to the day his body was found on April 5. More so, the cause of death which was classified as accidental was said to be acute intoxication as a result of a combination of heroin and cocaine.
A day before Layne Staley died, his former bandmate in Alice in Chain, Mike Starr came to see him. According to Starr, Staley was not in good health at the time, but he refused to call 911. The two men argued and Starr stormed out while Staley called him back not to leave that way. Starr continued to blame himself for the death of the singer for not doing enough to save him even though Staley’s mother insisted it was not his fault.