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Layne Staley, Angry Chair: A Look Inside the Heart & Soul of an Incredible Musician Paperback – 1 Feb 2003
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If Kurt Cobain's journals weren't tragic enough, try Angry Chair, a biography of Alice In Chains' Layne Staley. -- Rolling Stone, March 6, 2003
Layne gives the author his blessing to reveal the harsh truth behind heroin addiction. Layne finally reveals where the journey started. -- Metal Hammer , May 2003
From the Publisher
In April 2002 the music world lost a truly great musician. The Staley Family lost a son, brother, uncle...they will never forget. Now read the serious truth about Layne Staley from his own words and the words of his closest family members during the last year before his death.
You already knew Layne was once on top of the music world as the frontman for ALICE IN CHAINS...cranking out memorables songs: "Man In The Box," "Angry Chair," "Junkhead," "I Can't Remember," "Rooster" and "Dirt"...among many others. But how did he really get there? Find out.
What was life really like for the patient, disciplined, loving Layne?
Why did his world turn so dark when he was only 8-years-old?
How and why did he come up with such shocking music?
What did he intend it to mean? Find out. The Author respectfully peers into Layne's life to explore these and other questions. The book's goal is to discover Layne's innermost feelings and motivations. Rock Writer Adriana Rubio also explores The Renaissance Era to demonstrate the connection between Layne's artworks and that historical period. The reader quickly discovers Layne was no ordinary rock singer.
Top customer reviews
There are some interesting things in the book: some of Layne's own artwork, an early C.V., and lots of direct quotes, both from Layne and his immediate family. These things make the book worth having.
I recommend this book, not because of any intrinsic merit the book may have - it doesn't - but because there is a real shortage of information out there on Layne, and the author at least went to the trouble of collecting various materials together to give all the knowledge-hungry Layne fans out there some rare insights into his personal life.
There's a good book to be written on Staley out there somewhere.... this aint't it.
The most disappointing part of all the book is that she managed to interview Layne's mother and sister and yet there is nothing in this book that tells us about the real Layne - as the book states. Instead the author told us about what she ate for dinner there and how complex her meals are because she suffers from anorexia.
Actually - she even interviewed Layne on the phone - or so she claims - we arent told anything else about the interview. She claims he told her something she promised she would take to her grave with her. Her claim to fame "I was the last person to interview Layne Staley before he died"
Big porkies if you ask me - I seriously doubt what she said - probably because it's so badly written!
Oh - I do forget - there are pictures of pots Layne made as a child in school. Wow. If that's what you want to see then great - buy this book. But remember this book is purely about the author - who went to visit Layne's mam and failed to find out anything interesting.
Conclusion - Don't buy it!
At times overly self-referential (Rubio's asides to her own problems with anorexia seem out of place) and never less than sycophantic toward Layne Staley, this isn't cutting edge investigative journalism. Nor is it a warts and all unauthorised biography. It is very subjective, and Rubio frequently climbs onto her soapbox about certain issues, such as drug abuse.
No, this book is the kind of book you'd imagine your own aunty writing about you. Much of it is devoted to information garnered from interviews with Layne Staley's mother, though you get the impression these were fond chats about the man rather than intensive grillings. At the end of the book, Rubio even refuses to comment on Staley's death out of respect to his family.
However, it's the involvement of Staley's family that makes this special. You can't imagine professional biographers getting so intimate. This leaves the book with certain unorthodox advantages, such as family photos, reproductions of Layne's artwork, plus diary entries and work-in-progress song lyrics that evoke memories of Kurt Cobain's recently published journals.
At the end of the day you're left with the impression that Rubio very much adored Layne Staley. There are so many cynical cash-ins around for notorious bands like Alice In Chains, so it's nice to find one that's honest, heartfelt and a fitting tribute as well.
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