Alice in Chains’ dark and brooding sophomore effort Dirt was one of the definitive albums of the grunge era. As the album nears its 30th anniversary later this year, guitarist Jerry Cantrell reflected on when he and his bandmates made it, and claimed it was the “most focused” they have ever been.
Corn Dirt came out after Nirvana It does not matter made the world start paying attention to Seattle, Alice was actually the first Seattle band of this period to have a Billboard 200 Top 50 album chart with their debut face lift, which was particularly popularized by the hit “Man in the Box”. So by the time its sequel was released in September 1992, grunge was already at the forefront of the music industry.
But it was much deeper and more serious than Face lift.
“Well, dark…it is what it is,” Cantrell told Metal Hammer of Dirt. “It’s probably the most focused record we’ve ever been on, the most complete record we’ve done, it’s a brutal record with real strength, and I mean that in a really good way. People cared, he was talking about a time and a place, we really never punched What’s good and bad, it’s good artistically, but it’s bad because if you go to be that honest, you’ll have a hard time living it. It’s an incredible record, it’s probably our crowning achievement.
The record peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and is their most commercially successful album to date. However, they followed a string of chart-topping releases thereafter, including their 1994 EP pot of flies, which was the first EP in history to reach No. 1.
“In many ways, it may have become as definitive for our careers as Dirt. A lot of people really liked this EP, the only one to reach #1, it’s pretty wild,” the guitarist added. “We knocked Mariah Carey out of #1 – a proud feeling for us! She was married to Tommy Mottola, who was the president of our record label, so I’m sure it was a fun night at their house that week! Mariah says, ‘Who the fuck are these guys?!’ Haha!
“It was just a good window of five or six years where rock was king, and it doesn’t happen that much, when even pop people celebrate rock and that’s the number one thing. C was probably the last time that happened.”