There’s an early clip of him pulling a Nazi skinhead onstage and smacking the snot out of him, which is pretty cool, and another where he talks about Tom Morello teaching him to play guitar. There are moments of optimism: “I wanna write a book, which I’ve been working on for a long, long time, about five years now,” he says in one clip. And then in another he talks about how Prince and David Bowie are his biggest idols.
But then we’re back to darkness…
Asked about heroin, he says, “You’re flirting with death and that’s probably what’s most attractive about it, the danger. But I beat it, I beat death. I’m immortal!”
He didn’t, and he wasn’t.
Asked if drugs help with creativity, he says, “No. I never created anything when I was in that state of mind.”
‘Are you happy?’ asks another. “I was getting there,” he responds, looking so far from happy that it’s hard not to cry.
In October 1996, Layne’s longtime girlfriend Demri Parrott passed away from complications of her own drug use, and the singer went into isolation, rarely leaving his Seattle apartment, his grief overwhelming. There were rumours of his death and that he had lost an arm due to gangrene. It was said that he’d lost most of his teeth. Remarkably, he recorded two more tracks with Alice In Chains in 1998, Get Born Again and Died, which featured on the Music Bank boxset, and then a cover of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall with the Class Of 99, featuring Tom Morello. In October of ’98, he made his last public appearance, and was rarely seen again. His body was found on April 18, 2002. He’d been dead for two weeks and weighed just 86lbs.