Hi y’all. Here we go.
I was born September 5th, 1993. Kurt Cobain was still alive and grunge music was all the rage. I had no knowledge of drugs, alcoholism, rehab, anger, anxiety, and depression. All I knew was how smile, laugh, and occasionally poop.
Then came the pre-teen years. I felt a lot of things and all of them I couldn’t explain. I was constantly shy, pulling my hair out, and frustrated. I felt misunderstood and alone. I felt hurt. But oh how I tried. I tried to be happy, blend in, and pretend that nothing was bothering me. It didn’t matter all the hell I was dealing with at home; I was a Christian with a roof over my head and friends and family who loved me.
Then I heard the song ‘Rooster’ by this band called Alice In Chains. I didn’t much understand the meaning of the lyrics, but I knew I liked the song and I wanted to hear it a lot. Then came Nirvana. Everything changed.
It took a while before I heard Alice In Chains again, but when I did, it was ‘Down in a Hole’. I was older and the lyrics hit harder. I loved the singer, I loved the music, and I loved the song. I needed to hear more. Of course, no one in my family knew who they were. I brought up the song about a rooster that wouldn’t die, and they all thought I was talking about an immortal rooster. I was annoyed to say the least.
It took some time before I found about Layne. That not only was he an amazing singer and writer, but also a troubled soul. All the hell that he went through, and at the end of the day, all he wanted was to help people out of the darkness that he couldn’t get himself out of.
Layne passed away on April 5, 2002. Eight years to the day after Kurt Cobain. Both of them were vocal about their struggles with their depression, drug use, and pain. They both were also vocal about trying to stop others from going down the same road they did.
I obviously didn’t know Layne personally, but I’ve seen the videos and heard the stories. He was a sweet man, had a big heart, hated Nazis, had compassion, and wanted to leave the world a little better than he left it. He would’ve been 50 today. Thank you Layne. Thank you for your sense of humor, your wise words, your art, and just letting us get to know you for the little time that we had with you.
I hope you’re with Mike, Kurt, Chris, and Andrew now. Resting easy and rocking out. You were my first piece of light in tunnel filled with darkness. You helped keep me on the straight and narrow when all I wanted to do was quit. The more I learn about you, the more I wish I would’ve gotten a chance to meet you and thank you in person.
You will always live on in your lyrics, our hearts, and the many wonderful memories you created.
Happy 50th Birthday, Mr. Man
“My bad habits aren’t my title. My strengths and my talents are my title”