The iconic Alice in Chains album “Jar of Flies” celebrates 22 years today. The EP debuted on January 25, 1994, through Columbia Records, and was the first EP in music history that made it’s debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. Recorded at London Bridge Studio in September 1993, current London Bridge Studio co-owner Jonathan Plum assisted in making the “Jar of Flies” album. The EP included singles “No Excuses”, “I Stay Away” and “Nutshell”.
In 1993 after returning home from tour which included Lalapalooza, the members of Alice in Chains found themselves evicted from their crash pad. Through some miscommunication, the band forgot to pay their rent and ended up with no place to stay. So, they took up residence at Seattle’s London Bridge Studios until they could sort things out. However, their stay yielded what would become one of the most influential album’s of the 90’s. Lonely, depressed and homeless, the band made the best of their situation and creativity flourished into what would become the Jar of Flies EP.
“I just wanted to go into the studio for a few days with our acoustic guitars and see what happened,” said legendary frontman, Layne Staley to Hit Parader. “We never really planned on the music we made at that time to be released. But the record label heard it and they really liked it. For us, it was just the experience of four guys getting together in the studio and making some music.”
The “Jar of Flies” title, Staley said, came from an experiment guitarist, Jerry Cantrell, conducted as a kid. Staley goes on to explain the experiment, “They gave him two jars full of flies. One of the jars they overfed, the other jar they underfed. The one they overfed flourished for a while, then all the flies died from overpopulation. The one they underfed had most of the flies survive all year. I guess there’s a message in there somewhere. Evidently that experiment had a big impact on Jerry.”
I think I can speak for a majority of 90’s alternative kids when I say “Jerry and Layne have definitely had an impact on us!” Thanks for 22 years worth of amazing, fellas! Rest easy Layne, we miss you.