ALICE IN CHAINS Drummer: ‘We Make Albums, We Don’t Make Singles’

PureVolume recently conducted an interview with ALICE IN CHAINS guitarist Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

PureVolume: Does anything tie all 12 tracks [on “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here”] together?

Sean Kinney: Well, we make albums. We don’t make singles. People don’t buy our singles. We don’t write singles. We’ll always make an album. We find a collection of songs. We record the songs we like and think about how we should sequence them. It’s not a concept album, but it’s a “full” record for us. We do that because we’re old. [laughs]

Jerry Cantrell: It’s an album. We grew up listening to complete pieces of work. Whether it’s the intention to do a concept record or whatever, it’s such a fucking undertaking. It really is. I don’t think a lot of people are very aware of what it takes to do a record from the get-go. You’re collecting ideas, getting together to play, working on pre-production, hiring somebody to spend six months locked in a room with you, and then you’re mixing. Then, you go out and tour it for a year and a half. It’s a chunk of time. It’s a piece of your life. Within that, there’s a lot of life lived — good and bad. It’s regular old life, but it all gets crammed into that fucking record. It gets compressed like a time capsule. That’s where we were.

PureVolume: What draws you back to [producer] Nick Raskulinecz?

Jerry Cantrell: Well, he’s just a great guy. We got really lucky meeting him. Dave Grohl introduced us to him on the last record. He’s like us. He’s that stoner kid that fucking loves rock. It really means something to him. It’s not about a paycheck. Obviously, it’s not about a paycheck or we’d all be doing different shit. There are other things to do in order to make a profit. It’s about the love for doing it and doing it right. It’s about being inspired like we were by artists we listened to when we were growing up. That’s why we do it. We wanted to be able to create music and maybe inspire some other people to do the same, becoming the next link in that chain.

Sean Kinney: A lot of producers nowadays will have a “sound.” One guy will do five bands that you might hear on the radio. You wonder why those bands sound the same, and it’s because the producer has this sound. He uses the same amps and drums. He uses the same guys. He’s helping write their songs. Nick doesn’t have his own “sound.” He’s a fan of music. For RUSH, he wants them to sound like the best version of RUSH. He wants our band to sound like us. His goal is to turn up the game on that. He doesn’t have this arrogance like, “This is me.”

Jerry Cantrell: That’s the mark of a great producer, and he can give it the “stoner test.” [laughs] It’s important. That’s not a joke.

Sean Kinney: He tries to gently push you towards the best of your band. Some bands need that when they’re trying to figure out who they are. We don’t need that. We’ve already kind of figured that out.

Read the entire interview from PureVolume.