That Time Philip Anselmo Sang for Alice in Chains

In 2006, Alice in Chains were beginning the current phase of their legendary career. During their second appearance back from hiatus, the grunge icons appeared on VH1 with Pantera’s Philip Anselmo and Guns N’ RosesDuff McKagan to perform a rousing rendition of “Would?.”

The death of Layne Staley seemed to put the final nail in Alice in Chains’ coffin back in 2002, but in 2005, a tsunami benefit concert brought Jerry Cantrell, Sean Kinney and Mike Inez onstage together for the first time in nine years.

“It was no grand plan,” Jerry Cantrell recently told Lars Ulrich about the benefit. “It was just something that kind of like we did a thing and then we thought, well, let’s take another step. And then we did another thing and then, all right, we’ll take another one. And it was just that sort of incremental things strictly going by feel, which is how this band has always operated.”

Thus, Alice in Chains slowly began to resurrect, and by the end of 2006, the Seattle legends had performed a total of 84 reunion gigs in North America, Japan and Europe. Performance No. 1 of 84 took place on March 10, 2006, at VH1’s Decades Rock Live television special. The show was booked to honor Heart, but Alice in Chains’ return quickly became its top story, bringing Anselmo on vocals and Duff McKagan on guitar into the fold.

The weight of this landmark performance seemed to manifest in Anselmo’s facial expressions. Instead of his tough onstage persona, Anselmo can be seen bracing himself and holding on to his earpiece to make sure his vocals were perfect. The rare vulnerability of Anselmo speaks endlessly to the otherworldly talent of Layne Staley and the challenge any vocalist would face by filling his shoes.

Of course, some backlash came as Alice in Chains continued with a “replacement” for Staley, but the band members later explained their decision. “What is this ‘You can’t replace Layne’? We’re not replacing. We’re playing our songs, man,” Kinney said, while Cantrell added, “Who’s somebody else to tell us we can’t be with somebody? You get divorced and what — you can’t be with anybody else? Somebody dies in your family, you can’t continue to live on?”

Watch Anselmo and McKagan perform “Would?” with Alice in Chains in the video below.

Alice In Chains – Would (Ft Phil Anselmo , Subtitulado al español ) Live HD

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See Photos of Philip Anselmo Through the Years

You may know him as the deep voice behind Pantera, Down, Superjoint Ritual, or as the leader of the Illegals. Philip Anselmo has quite the resume as a controversial heavy metal frontman.

Anselmo was born on June 30, 1968 in New Orleans. After dropping out of high school in the 12th grade, he went on to join a few bands for the next couple of years.

Pantera were already a few albums in back in 1987 when their original frontman left, and a 19-year-old Anselmo was given the job. They released Power Metal the following year, but it wasn’t until 1990 when they put out Cowboys From Hell that Pantera would really be on their way to claiming a stake as one of the most important bands in metal history.

After several albums, Pantera disbanded in 2003. Anselmo dedicated more of his focus to Superjoint Ritual during this time, and then shifted his priorities to his supergroup Down a few years later.

The vocalist had his share of struggles over the course of his life, between losing his former bandmates, battling substance abuse and acting contentiously in public. But the impact he’s had on the metal genre as the leader of Pantera is unarguable. His latest project is Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals, and they generally perform Pantera covers live.

Scroll through the gallery below to see Anselmo throughout the years.

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