What was Layne Staley’s Net Worth?
Layne Staley was an American musician who had a net worth equal to $5 million at the time of his death in 2002. Layne Stayley was best known for being the lead singer and co-songwriter for the rock band Alice in Chains, which he co-founded with guitarist Jerry Cantrell in 1987. Ironically, Staley and fellow musician Kurt Cobain both died on April 5th (in different years) in Seattle. Both musicians also famously struggled with drug addiction.
In an MTV interview, which didn’t surface to the public until almost a year after Staley’s death, Staley said he knew he was “near death”. The interview took place less than three months before the musician overdosed. The interview reveals that Staley’s father left the family when Staley was only eight years old and that Staley somehow believed that if he became a (famous) rock star his father would return. His father did indeed surface when he saw a picture of Staley in a magazine. Staley was cautiously optimistic and began a relationship with his father (who had been sober himself for only six years at that time). The relationship changed for the worse when his father went back to using drugs—they did drugs together and his father ultimately became dependent upon Staley for drug money, a situation that contributed to Staley’s downward spiral. Sadly, his father eventually kicked the drug habit and Staley continued to fight the addiction—until he lost his battle on April 5, 2002, when Layne Staley died of an overdose at the age of 34.
Staley was born on August 22, 1967 in Bellevue, Washington to parents Phillip and Nancy Staley. When he was seven years old, his parents divorced and afterward he was primarily raised by his mother and stepfather, Jim Elmer. He attended high school at Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood. Staley was raised as a Christian Scientist though he distanced himself from the church during his teenage years.
Staley was a fan of music from a young age. His interest in music began by listening to some of his parents’ music collection. He was a fan of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, The Stooges, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Van Halen, and David Bowie, among others. At the age of 12, he began playing drums and was a member of several glam bands in his early teens. In 1984, he joined some classmates in a band called Sleze. The band morphed into Alice N’ Chains in 1986.
Alice In Chains
With Alice ‘N Chains, Staley began performing around Seattle, primarily playing Slayer and Armored Saint covers. However, the group disbanded a year later and Staley joined a funk band. He asked his friend, Jerry Cantrell, whom he had met a year earlier at a rehearsal studio, to join the band too as a sideman. Cantrell agreed on the condition that Staley would also join his band. He eventually agreed. The resulting group also consisted of drummer, Sean Kinney, and bassist, Mike Starr. The band went through a variety of names before finally deciding to call themselves Alice in Chains. Staley got permission from his former bandmates to use the name.
The group completed their first demo in 1988, “The Treehouse Tapes.” Nick Terzo of Columbia Records’ A&R got hold of the demo and signed Alice in Chains to Columbia in 1989. The group released their debut album, “Facelift,” in August of 1990. The second single on the album, “Man in the Box,” became a huge hit. Staley’s vocals on the track are particularly noteworthy, as the song opens with an intense wordless melody that Staley created using his throat. The album went on to become certified double platinum by the RIAA for sales of two million copies in the United States.
After releasing the album, the band toured for two years. They then released the acoustic EP, “Sap,” in early 1992. They band also made a cameo in the 1992 film, “Singles,” and performed the songs “It Ain’t Like That” and “Would?” in the film. In September of that year, Alice in Chains released the album, “Dirt.” The album has since become the band’s most successful and also was very well-received by critics. It debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 chart and went on to become certified quadruple platinum. Staley himself designed the sun logo on the album’s inlay. Alice in Chains embarked on a tour after the album release, though it wasn’t a very long tour due to various members of the band having issues with drug addiction, including Staley.
In 1994, the group released their third EP, “Jar of Flies.” It debuted at number one. However, the band opted to not tour in support of the EP as Staley’s problems with drugs had grown more severe. After the release of the EP, Staley entered a rehabilitation clinic. He also began to work on side projects with other Seattle musicians like Mike McCready of Pearl Jam. Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees, and John Baker Saunders of The Walkabouts. Together they formed a band called Mad Season, which released an album in 1995.
Alice in Chains also released an album in 1995 called “Alice in Chains.” The majority of the songs on the album were written by Staley and the album was also award double platinum status. However, the band again did not tour in large part due to Staley’s addictions. They did record an “MTV Unplugged” episode in April of 1996, which was one of Staley’s last shows with Alice in Chains and was the first show the group had performed live after over a two year hiatus. Staley’s last performance overall was in July 1996 while Alice in Chains was touring with Kiss.
Staley did continue making music with Alice in Chains despite not performing.
Personal Life and Death
Throughout much of the 1990s, Staley struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. He did enroll in several rehab programs but never remained sober for very long. Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994 did scare Staley into being sober for a while but it ultimately did not last. Some of his friends, like Mike McCready, tried to help Staley by inviting him to join the band Mad Season which was otherwise composed of sober musicians. However, he always had access to drugs despite the fact that efforts were made to keep Staley off the road and away from drugs.
In October of 1996, Staley’s former fiancé, Demri Lara Parrott, died of a drug overdose, which Staley took extremely hard. Friends have stated they don’t think he was ever able to recover from the loss. He became reclusive and rarely left his condo in Seattle. Reports surfaced that he had slipped deep in addiction and had lost an extreme amount of weight.
On April 19, 1996 Layne’s accountants grew concerned after they noticed that he had not withdrawn any money from his bank account in two weeks. They alerted a former manager of Alice In Chains named Susan Silver. Susan then reached out to Layne’s mother who called 911.
Staley was found dead in his condo on April 19, 2002, though he likely died weeks earlier. The toxicology report revealed he had died from a mixture of heroin of cocaine, on approximately April 5, the same day Kurt Cobain died in Seattle eight years prior.