Honoring the Late Layne Staley at MadLife with Grind

On July 14, 2018 MadLife Stage and Studios in Woodstock, Georgia hosted the Alice in Chains tribute band Grind to a sold-out crowd. This talented band continues to tour around the world on the wings of not only their musical skill, but their remarkable resemblance and sound to Alice in Chain’s original lineup.

An Interview with Gary Allen, lead singer of Grind

As a tribute band, I am sure you get a lot of mixed feelings from people. Some may see you as fake and unoriginal while others view you as talented musicians that are keeping great music alive. How do you address this?
I feel fortunate in that I seldom hear anything negative. Most people that experience what we do in tribute express positive feedback and we are so thankful for that.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band? 
Well to be honest, me. While we developed, I made many mistakes that thwarted any progress as a band. From not being a good bandmate or band leader/manager to taking offers that weren’t in the best interest of Grind. It took a considerable amount of time for me to learn how to respect and treat my band and to put us in a position to sustain ourselves from a business and logistical standpoint.

What was the first album that you added to your personal music library?
Van Halen II.

What was your most recent addition to your personal music library?
Ghost – Prequille.

What was your first live music experience? Which venue and which artist(s)?
Van Halen. Keil Auditorium St.Louis.

If you could cover one album in your music library which would it be?
Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance.

What artist(s) do you wish more people had in their music library?

How long have you all known each other? 
Rob has been with us for around 3 years. Bill, Dave and I have worked together on and off for over 10 years.

When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
2011. A common desire to celebrate the memories of Layne Staley and Mike Starr and the music of Alice in Chains.

What can you tell me about your instruments? 
Rob plays Bogner, Mesa, Paul Reed Smith, Gibson and more. Dave has always played Tama and Pro Mark and Bill plays Fender and Ibanez basses.

What are some of your favorite local venues? 
We continue to perform nationwide and abroad. We have so many favorites but a few are Orange Peel Asheville, Agora Cleveland and The Castle Theatre Bloomington.

Which songs do you like to perform? Do you have a set play list or does it change often?
We change at times but my favorites include Nutshell, Rooster and Sunshine.

What are your rehearsals generally like? 
We have been together long enough and have played enough shows that we rely on each other to prepare personally. We play as close as possible to exactly what was originally recorded so we all know what to expect from show to show.

What is your ultimate direction for your band?
I just hope to continue. We are so fortunate to be able to play any number of great venues around the country and beyond. We are very humbled by that luxury. We feel like we still put on a good show and most importantly, we do well for the client in the process.

What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Know what you are getting in to. There has never been a tougher time for musicians than today. You have to be very creative and patient if your goal is to grow a product and survive it. Most of all you have to work hard. Very hard.

How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
Tour dates, audio, video and our complete history via Facebook.

Any last words? What do you want people to know about you?
Our mission is to pay tribute and to remember. We are humbled to continue to do so.

Carey Hood Written by: