Who the Heck is That?

Sometimes, when expressing an opinion, getting the details wrong really hurts your argument. Makes you sound ill-informed. Ignorant. Foolish.

For example (you knew there was a “for example”, didn’t you?), the latest edition of The Onion has previews of upcoming shows here in Denver. Here is one such preview.

Layne Stanley? Who the hell is that?

See, the singer for Alice in Chains was Layne Staley. This Layne Stanley guy must be someone else.

For that matter, is it wrong for a band to carry on without its deceased lead singer? I have a hard time judging, especially when that singer killed himself. See, some people believe that it isn’t paying proper respect to the dead to ask someone to fill their shoes; I say that the singer wasn’t showing overwhelming consideration to bandmates when he offed himself. A band is a business and is it somehow wrong for the remaining members of Alice in Chains to want to continue to make a living from something that they worked for, too?

Jerry Cantrell is, I would say, as responsible for the sound of Alice in Chains as Staley was. His music and lyrics, his vocals, his distinctive guitar work all helped define Alice in Chains--something that is obvious to anyone who has listened to his solo albums, Degradation Trip and Boggy Depot. So, is it right that Cantrell should pay for Staley’s drug abuse?

The person who wrote The Onion piece obviously wasn’t a big fan of the “grunge” scene or of Alice in Chains in particular. Which is fine. That he or she couldn’t find the time to get the name of the lead singer right, though, speaks of ignorant--not informed--opinion. It’s no sin to dislike a musical style, a band, or a singer, but, as a favor to those of us of a differing opinion, be professional enough to get the details right.