Alice in Chains drummer Sean Kinney looks back on recording the deeply frustrating, label exec-confusing classic that is Them Bones.
How did 'Them Bones' come together?
"I remember that one p**sing me off because it was a pretty straightforward sort of metal-edged tune. I remember working on it but not wanting it to be straightforward. I had to figure out what kind of groove to put on it. The grooves were disjointed, timing-wise. I remember getting pretty frustrated, knocking over the drums and wondering what I could do there. It took a little time to figure it out and make it more unique than it could have been. I had to wrap my head around it and once it clicks you think, 'Ah, I'm gonna try it this way.'"
Did you realise it would be a big hit?
"I think people latched onto it because we pick our songs, not the record label. The label would have never in a million years picked that song as a single. We were like, 'Yup, put that one out.' They didn't think it would be a hit but they put it out."
"The grooves were disjointed, timing-wise. I remember getting pretty frustrated, knocking over the drums and wondering what I could do there."
You were never a band to appease the label executives...
"It was the same with Man In The Box back then. Facelift  wasn't blowing up or anything, it had sold about 40,000 albums. When it came to the next single, they were really pushing one and we were like, 'No, this is the song.' They said it was a career-killer. We were like, 'Well it's our career, we wanna f**king kill it.' They weren't used to that. That song changed everything, it changed MTV and took off and the album sold half a million albums in a month or something. From then on the people doing the business realised that these dudes, crazy as they are, might know something."
Do you remember the kit you used?
"I've used DW kits on all of the albums. That one I still have. It had deeper toms. It was a 24" kick and probably a 14" rack with 16" and 18" floor toms. It's a purple sparkle kit."
Do you still play it the same way?
"It's under three minutes, so there's not a lot of time to turn it all around. Plus, because of the timing on it, it's structured around that. It's a cool one to play, it has energy. We have a lot of spaced out, bombastic tunes, so it has this cool energy and people seem to like it. It's one of our more metal-ish tunes. Sometimes we'll start a gig with it, it's a nice quick way to get warmed up."