May 4, 2002

Past Layne

"Like the coldest winter will
Heaven beside you... Hell within
And you wish you had it still, heaven inside you"

Alice in Chains, Heaven Beside You


"Let the sun never blind your eyes
Let me sleep so my teeth don't grind
Hear a sound from a voice inside"

Alice in Chains, Grind


Two US-based musicians just died. Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes of TLC and Layne Staley of Alice in Chains, RIP.

TLC was really fun and I enjoyed their music. I don't know if they will regroup after Left-Eye's passing. They have changed the group's composition before, in the early days.

"When the teacher put the ruler down on my hand
I laugh!"

Mad Season, I Don't Know Anything


Staley's music was, for all intents and purposes, the droning background during my last days in high school. When I heard of his death, I naturally recalled those days. I remember the old bleachers and how my coleman always fell from it. I recall too, the predominantly brown football field, the smell of the swimming pool. Yes, OK, the classrooms too.

"Am I the only one who remembers that summer?
Oh, I remember
Everyday each time the place was saved
The music that we made
The wind has carried all of that away"

Mad Season, Long Gone Day


I recall the thin white wafers we took from the sacristy before these were consecrated. It didn't taste much, but it had the delicious feel of adolescent impunity.

I recall the CAT. I remember how we oiled our boots to cheat the inspectors (works everytime!). I remember the bivuoac and the embarrassing stuff we just laugh about now. We didn't laugh at all then.

I recall the smell of grease and oil in the automotive shop. I remember the way we all seemed like sure, definite individuals even in our uniform black shirts. I remember the spark plugs, the camshafts, the endless measuring of torque, the names we called each other, our smiles.

I recall the last days. I remember how we tried to take a souvenir from everywhere, a book from the library, valves and bolts from the shop, the pockets we stripped off each others' white polo jackets. And we left with each other more than we thought.

More than we care to acknowledge.

"I don't know anything
I don't know anything
I don't know anything
I don't know who to be"

Mad Season, I Don't Know Anything


Unlike most of the others, I heard Staley apart from his band Alice in Chains. I heard his tunes in Mad Season, a band he set up on the side with Pearl Jam's Mike McCready. Only through Mad Season would I grow to like Alice in Chains.

That, and Kahlil Gibran.

"My pain is self-chosen
At least so the prophet says"

Mad Season, River of Deceit


Layne Staley is dead and to date rumors that he died of drug overdose has not yet been confirmed. Our memories have always been bound with songs. Some we sing ourselves, most other people play for us.

We know loss even when we do not really know the lost artist because we have played their tunes to the rhythm of our lives.

"Long gone day
Mmmmm, Who ever said
We wash away with the rain?"

Mad Season, Long Gone Day