Sunday, March 17, 2013

Layne Staley and the Tale of The Orange Shirt

    "Know me broken by my master" 

         I've been trying to find a way to tell this story the "right" way. I think it's because I have never felt that it was my place to write about Layne, so understand that this isn't easy for me; his death after already losing Andy and Demri pretty much left me numb and gave me an excuse to be totally self-destructive. So please do not ever think a day goes by that I don't hurt, but thankfully there are some good memories that make it slightly more bearable.
  The grunge look is a funny, funny thing. So here's the story behind this hideous orange shirt that looked horrible on Andy but somehow Layne made look awesome. I was already living in L.A. and had been with Alice through most of their time recording Facelift and now was a resident, fully living the Hollywood life. In case any of you still think bands make money or get rich after they are "famous," think again. They never had any money. Trust me, I would know, because when they did, they gave it all away.
Layne had called me to get away from the bar scene and wanted to stay at my place. After a long conversation with a slightly worried Demri (yeah go figure, a taste of her own medicine ha ha ha), we were able to relax. I remember really worrying about him because I told him to take a hot bath because there was no one around, I was leaving for a while, and it was a really killer shower, so I just wanted him to be comfortable. I came back in the room to get my jacket and I could hear him crying in the shower.
I immediately thought of the night Andy took acid and freaked out and cried and was in the bathroom all night, saying "I'm gonna die." I don't think I ever knew the right way to deal with other addicts. I would either freak out or I was the worst codependent ever.
I never brought it up to him. And sometimes I wish I had. We spent the rest of the night talking about music and to keep him away from my roommates, he slept in my bed. If there was ever anyone who was always a gentleman with me, it was Layne -- so no, of course nothing "physical" happened -- that wasn't Layne's trip anyhow, he was all about the world of the mind. Every thing that came out of his mouth was thought out. I have truly never met anyone quite like him.

So the next morning, it was raining. I noticed he didn't have a jacket and I said, "Well take this shirt at least." I  had bought it for Andy (probably the day I bought that stupid pink cowboy hat) and it looked horrible on him. Layne smiled and put it on. I always knew that he would wear it for something special just like I knew I'd never have that time with him again.
Layne was a complicated yet simple guy. I hate how he suffered but I am grateful to have known him and also grateful for how he fell for my supposed good taste in clothing because it made for an epic video! Andy didn't leave me alone. He left me with great friends that would wear hideous orange shirts to pay tribute to him and to the suffering I was enduring in his absence. And if nothing else, just to know it would make me smile. Like I said, a true gentleman.