What he didn't expect was that Seattle rock icons Heart would play such a crucial role in the band's transition.
The very idea of trying to remake the legendary grunge band following the 2002 death of singer Layne Staley was sacrilege to many. DuVall was sensitive to this, and he was bracing for backlash as his first public outing with Alice In Chains — a nationally televised VH1 concert honoring Heart — drew near.
DuVall tells Q104.3's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke that Nancy and Ann Wilson made a selfless decision the day of their concert that hugely impacted the way longtime AIC fans looked at the band's new lead singer.
The show was meant to be an all-star jam kind of thing, and the Wilson sisters invited many other major players in the rock world, including Alice In Chains, to be a part of the concert.
"Ann was supposed to sing with Alice — she was going to sing 'Rooster' and then I was going to sing 'Man in the Box,'" he said. "...It was a bit of pressure, obviously, 'cause it's my first public outing with this whole thing, and it's in an arena and it's on television..."
But the plan changed during rehearsal after Ann heard DuVall sing "Rooster" as the production crew was preparing.
"In the middle of the tune, I see Ann and Nancy show up in the wings," Duvall recalled. "Afterward, Ann was just like, 'You've gotta do that song! You've gotta do it! You've got to sing it!'"
It had been advertised that Ann would since with Alice In Chains that night, but she demanded DuVall be part of it too.
"It was fantastic because it guaranteed me a spot in the edited program," he said. "There was virtually no way I was going to end up on the cutting room floor at that point. It also served as the launch pad for everything that we were going to do afterward. And here we are now nearly 14 years later because of that launch. But I just thought it was really fantastic of her to do that, and I really appreciate it."
DuVall recently released his debut solo album, an intimate acoustic record called One Alone, which he has supported with a U.S. tour. He has more solo dates booked from February through April of 2020. Get all the live dates here.
Alice In Chains has no 2020 touring plans at the moment, but DuVall is certain the band will begin working on something this winter.
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