Voices in My Head

Everybody listen | Voices in my head...

I became an Alice in Chains fan upon hearing  "No Excuses" on the radio. It is one of my great favorites, not only from that band but any other.  Upon hearing it on the radio,  I immediately pulled over into a parking lot to listen without driving and so that I could make note of the artist. I never did that before, and I've never done it again (okay, once for a classical piece!).   I was hooked.  Still am.  People ask me what type of music I like.  I love classical music, and I love Alice in Chains.  Given my 'conservative' profession, I always get a surprised look when I mention AIC.  Not a reproachful surprise, but a "hey, that's cool" surprise.

Over the weekend while working on year end stuff, I purchased the new album (MP3), The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, clapped on headphones (my Beats that I bought at a crazy-low price as they were refurbished.  I don't know...they came in a new box, looked new, sound great (but I'm no head phone aficionado)).  So I listened many times through the album while working on my 'stuff'.  I typically work with quiet, as my work requires extreme concentration (or at least I need concentration to work--so perhaps it is just my odd proclivity).  

This was a new work mode for me, and I found that I could concentrate quite well (at least on most tasks, and where not, threw the headphones off), and that moving through the work was quite pleasurable.

I'm not much of a follower of any, and this band was no exception to that.  While I enjoyed the band's music, I was pretty much oblivious to any of the personal backdrop except to how it was expressed in their music.  I'm pretty sure that when Layne Staley died in 2002, it didn't register with me. BWMS (Busy working mom syndrome).

Taking a break from work, I did some internet research to fill in the blanks. In reading the various articles, I was struck by the deep humanity of these guys:  expressed in their commitment to each other through things most of us could never imagine; and the authenticity of their music, which didn't die with Staley.

And the voices in their collective heads are rooted in some very private and painful places.  Hard experience expressed through brutal honesty is the signature key of their music. The music resonates because hard experience is something that many of us share.  While the nature of the experience may be different, the vibrations of that experience in our being strike a similar chord.

Their music, to my ear, is a surprising mix of  heavy and light, consonant and dissonant, a surprising key, or an unexpected change in tempo.  They make their music; not that of another.  And they continue to do that amidst the swirl of unabated carping from so many (still after so many years) that the band is not the same since Layne is gone.  They seem to address these endless questions with a quiet dignity and accord a respect to those who feel that way that is nothing short of magnanimous. 

The bumps and struggles of life demand that we pass through transitions preserving the core of who we are.  I found the story of Alice In Chains' as the band, and as individual members of that band, to be a powerful metaphor of transitioning from old circumstances to new circumstances, and doing it with authenticity, courage and grace. And that ultimately, to be saved from ourselves by those around us who love and care for us,  demands that we cooperate and participate. Otherwise, there is no saving to be had; just enduring life until it is extinguished by whatever means.
I applaud their honoring the old, embracing the new and their sharing the voices in their heads with us.   If you've never seen their MTV Unplugged show, it is worth your time.  You can find it here. And if you like the music (theirs or another's), buy some and support your favorite artists.


Post a Comment