Alice in Chains' “Man in the Box” is one of the greatest metal hits ever. The single was originally released on Alice in Chains Facelift (1990). Facelift was Alice in Chains debut studio album and also remains one of the greatest in metal history. Ozzy Osbourne has stated that Facelift is one of his favorite albums of all time. Each track is a classic. Facelift begins with "We Die Young" and ends with the comedic “Real Thing.” “I grew up, went into rehab. You know the doctors never did me no good. They said son you're gonna be a new man. I said thank you very much and can I borrow fifty bucks?” "Bleed the Freak," "Sunshine" and "Sea of Sorrow" are some of our favorite tracks. We also recommend listening to the demo album.
That is why we were so psyched when we heard The Merkins parody of “Man in the Box.” The Merkins have released many hysterical covers of well-known songs. What if the Backstreet Boys were serial killers? The Slashstreet Boys is one of The Merkins best acts. “I'll Kill You That Way” rocked the internet in 2018 when it was released just before Halloween. The ensemble croons: “I’ll set you on fire with gas and a lighter.” Psychopathy has never sounded so groovy. The music video doubled as an ode to the Halloween film series.
The previous year, "Slashing Bodies" was The Merkins' big contribution to the Halloween season. “I’ve got every knife I wish to come and cut you like a fish.” Check out The Merkins' cover of Danzig's "Mother," which was released under the mock band name Jason in reference to Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees. “Mother, do you wanna crush heads with me?”
The Merkins’ “Man in the Box” cover was released under the fiction group name Pinhead in reference to the antagonist in the Hellraiser films. In this Hellraiser-themed video, the actor portraying Layne Staley is dressed as Pinhead. The rest of the crew appear in costume as cenobites as well. This cover brilliantly captures the essence and sound of "Man in the Box.” “Hell, hell, hell. I'm the man in the box. Scary with my pins.”
Although the Hellraiser theme is amusing, we miss: “Feed my eyes, can you sew them shut?” The original video was shot in a barn and features a reaper figure, who lifts his hood to reveal he is Jesus with his eyes stitched shut. Layne Staley subsequently had a tattoo of this figure tattooed on his back. The video, directed by Paul Rachman is reminiscent of the work of symbolist auteur filmmaker Maya Deren. The clip was directed by Paul Rachman. We love seeing Layne Staley, Mike Starr, and Sean Kinney looking awesome and healthy. Our biggest complaint about The Merkins video is that aside from the Staley-inspired character, the other actors fade into the background. We love the awesome leather scale patchwork '70s-style jacket that Jerry Cantrell wears in the original.
Alice in Chains, even after Layne Staley’s death, remains one of those bands that knows how to make music videos and the visual arts reflect the soul of their music. The “Grind” music video is a true example of excellence. This was shot by the highly accomplished Texas-based photographer Rocky Schenck, who photographed the covers of Dirt (1992), which features Mariah O’Brien of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) and was released on the same day in history as Stone Temple Pilots' Core. Schenck also photographed the cover art for AiC's Jar of Flies (1994). Watch the video he directed for Jerry Cantrell’s solo single “My Song” from Boggy Depot (1998).
For more Alice in Chains humor, watch the Nona Tapes, which also begins with Jerry Cantrell getting down and dirty at a stable:
In case you are wondering whether Jerry Cantrell can still pull off a pink tweed pencil skirt and a fuchsia pussy-bow blouse, here's your answer:
In memory of bassist Mike Starr, who passed away in 2011 after participating in Dr. Drew Pinsky's abusive Celebrity Rehab like many other participants, watch Steel Panther recognize him in the crowd. Steel Panther and Mike jammed along together to "Man in the Box" in this 2010 performance: