Elton John and Alice In Chains go together like...well, what do they go together like? No matter: Sir Elton sings on Black Gives Way To Blue, the title track on Alice In Chains' upcoming album, due 29 September.
The unlikely pairing on the stirring tribute to Alice In Chains' late frontman Layne Staley, who died in 2002 after a long history of heroin abuse, came about when guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell thought that the song could use some piano.
"A friend suggested we call Elton," recalls Cantrell. "I remember laughing and saying, 'Yeah, I'll get right on that.' But I decided it was worth trying and wrote Elton an e-mail explaining what that song means to us - that it's a real, raw open-hearted song for Layne."
Band were "blown away"
The band sent John the track and were "blown away" when he responded, saying that he thought the song was beautiful and that he wanted to be a part of it.
Says Cantrell, "Elton John is a huge influence on me as a songwriter and having him on that song is an amazing honor for us."
For his part, John reveals that he's "long been an admirer of Jerry Cantrell" and when he asked me to play on Black Gives Way To Blue, "I was very flattered and couldn't resist. It was a great recording session with Alice In Chains for a beautiful song."
Asked about the session, Cantrell says it was done in Las Vegas while John was fiinishing his Red Piano residency. "We flew there and hung out for a few hours," says Cantrell. "Walking into a studio and seeing the sheet music for that song on Elton's piano made it meaningful on so many different levels. The whole experience was pretty magical."
Black Gives Way To Blue is Alice In Chains' first new studio release in over a decade, and their first with new lead vocalist and guitarist William DuVall.