2:40am and I’m listening to ‘Rooster’. I’ve just realized I’ve barely written about one of my favorite bands, Alice in Chains, nor Dirt, one of my top 10 albums ever. It’s intolerable, yet at the same understandable. How come? Apparently this justification is contradictory, but after giving it some thought I came to the conclusion that I have to be in a certain mood to enjoy listening to this album.
Dirt is not easy, and I’m not talking about the music. Dirt has something not many records have, and it has to do with the essence, the attitude, and its insanity.
It was fall 1993, when I was first introduced to it. I had heard of the band, knew few singles, but hadn’t dug into their stuff yet, mainly because I couldn’t afford buying a CD as I do now, and second because I didn’t know anyone who liked them and could encourage me to give Dirt a try. Until he turn up, and described it as one of the most overwhelming albums ever recorded under the most terrifying influence of hard drugs. Impossible to resist the temptation I had to listen to such threat for my ears and my innocent mind. Drugs were a taboo and something really out of my scope, so in some way this was kind of bait. As soon as I gathered some dough I went straight to the record store and got y copy, which is still with me.
I remember the first time I listened to Dirt at my grandmother’s (I was living with her already), in my study room. I was sitting on the armchair motionless, doing nothing but getting pervaded with those guitars, those stunning melodies of Staley and Cantrell, and that dose of pain and anguish so present in every second of the album. It was a devastating experience. too much intensity I wasn’t used to. After that I called my friend to tell him I had listened to it, and when he asked me about how I was feeling, I confessed I was scared.
Think about it. Song titles such as ‘Junkhead’, ‘God Smack’, ‘Sickman’, ‘Rain When I Die’ were completely opposed to the will to live of a teenager. I was in shock.
It took me few days to put myself together, musically speaking, and play Dirt again. Those following hearings finally got me hooked, as the finest heroine or any super addictive drug would do, and since then (classic) Alice In Chains and I have been together.
As I’ve said before, I have to be in a special mood to listen to this album. I’m in that mood lately, exhausted, frustrated, stressed and mentally blocked. Dirt is like a fix, not exactly of happiness, just the opposite, but for some weird reason it works as a pain killer and helps to feel relief.