The striking Alice In Chains frontman is in fine spirits as we talk about finally kicking off his EU/UK solo tour in support of his magnificent ‘One Alone‘ solo album, which he was forced to postpone due to the fallout of Covid-19.
Since then, DuVall has been keeping busy writing and recording as well as adding some new material to his setlist, which will be getting an airing this coming Monday for the first show of the tour in Dublin’s Academy Green Room.
OD – The last time we spoke was back in 2020 just as the world was on the brink of shutting down due to the pandemic. What have you been up to since then, as I’m assuming there is a lot going on creatively?
DuVall – I’ve been catching up with a lot of my family as I’ve never had two solid years in a row that I’ve not had to be on the road, somewhere. This has been the longest period of inactivity when it comes to touring, since I was fifteen years old.
A lot of time was spent trying to plan for the future, both personally and professionally. But within that time, I’ve been doing a lot of writing. I’m also releasing a new album in June. It’s not a complete studio album of all new material, but a live album that was recorded back in November with a full electric band.
OD – Tell us more about this and how it came about…
DuVall – Well I was invited to perform at ‘Welcome to 1979‘ studio in Nashville by the owner, Chris Mara. He has a business where he build and refurbishes tape machines, lacquer cutting etc. They are a really rare facility, and I’m sure one of only a handful on the planet that do such things. You can create everything in that place. From recording, to mixing, mastering, you name it.
Check out the video of ‘Rockslide‘ recorded at ‘Welcome To 1979‘.
They [Welcome to 1979] have a recording summit every now and again, where they invite engineers from around the world to observe and check out their place. One of the perks about the summit is that they put on a live session with a small audience, and last year, they asked me to do it.
The cool thing is, the participants in the summit don’t know who is going to be performing until the moment that the record button is pressed. So, I was really happy to do it, but I didn’t have a band to accompany me, so I had to scramble to put a band together, which was a lot of fun [Laughing].
The unique thing about this performance is that they [Welcome to 1979] are cutting the lacquer live as I’m doing the show. Basically, it’s the same way records used to be made back in 1930’s. It was an incredible experience but a little stressful. If anyone messed up, we would have had to go back and do it all over again.
OD – I’m assuming that this was the first time you have recorded under circumstances like that?
DuVall – Yes! I was a very surreal experience and also, a very rare situation to be in. I was very honoured to be involved with this. I’ve done live performances, recordings, on TV and Radio, etc, but never live, and straight to lacquer. There is no fixing anything. What I play is literally going straight to record.
This will be a very cool album and it’s due for release on June 10th. The official title is ‘11.12.21 Live in Studio Nashville.‘
OD – I’m guessing this will be a very limited release…
DuVall – Yeah, it’s gonna be limited to about 25o copies for the USA, 250 for the UK and 250 for Europe. It’s gonna be really cool. We’re gonna try to get it all out on June 10th.
OD – With regards to the Neon Christ re-issue that came out last year. In hindsight, did you find that whole process a labour of love?
DuVall – Absolutely! It was a love letter to those kids that we were back then. It was a very transformative part of culture in my opinion. There were so many bands that were booking their own tours, releasing their own fanzine’s, tape-trading, etc. We [Neon Christ] were in the perfect place to take advantage of all of this.
It was such a liberating and creatively fulfilling time in my life and one that I think shaped so much of who I am today. I was a great honour to be able to go back to those original tapes, treat them properly and give it the love that it deserved.
OD – With the tour coming up in a matter of days, have you found that the songs matured/changed to how you plan to perform them live, or have you added anything to the setlist over the last few years during the lockdown period?
DuVall – That’s an interesting process and it’s ever ongoing [Laughing]. In terms of how things sound, there will be subtle differences here and there. For this tour, I’m looking to play some material from Giraffe Tongue Orchestra [side project featuring members of, The Mars Volta, and Mastodon] also, so that’s something that wasn’t in my original setlist back when I first announced the dates in 2020.
During the height of the lockdown, I did some live-streaming events and one of those shows was exclusively Giraffe Tongue Orchestra music, so, I had to rearrange the music as it’s a totally electric album. But, the process got me thinking about my own setlist for the tour, and I figured some of the GTO stuff should be included.
I’m just so excited to finally get this tour underway. It’s one of those situations where I don’t really believe that it’s gonna happen until I’m standing on stage [Laughing].
I’ll be kicking off this run of dates in Dublin, Ireland so I’m so happy about that. I love Ireland and it’s always been a great place for me and Alice In Chains. We kicked off our last EU ‘Rainier Fog‘ tour there… I think. We got to stay there for a few days prior to the show, and it was just a good time for us all.
We all really love Dublin, as it’s a great city and a killer place to start a tour. I can’t wait to play there in a few days.
Last September DuVall has joined up with drone/stoner/doom metal icon, and Southern Lord Records founder, Greg Anderson on a dark, ritualistic new song “We Who Walk In Light“, under the moniker ‘The Lord‘ [listen below].
OD – Let’s talk about the collaboration you did with Greg. Are there plans for more music from you guys, or was it a case of, ‘one and done‘?
DuVall – We just recorded that one track. I’m really glad that we managed to do it. We both worked on Neon Christ together and from that, we decided to have some fun with this project. There wasn’t really anyone else that I was considering to partner with when it came to Neon Christ remastering/re-issue. I was planning to do it on my own.
I was looking for the facility to handle the whole process and I had just found ‘Welcome To 1979‘ and Greg reached out to me and asked me if I was interested in re-issuing Neon Christ. The timing was perfect. Greg has the connection with Record Store Day also, and all his experience with Southern Lord Records, so, it made perfect sense. Then he [Greg] asked me to take a look at this project and see if I could add anything to it, and I was like: ‘Totally!“
The other great thing about that collaboration, is that all the proceeds we raised, went to charity. The money was spent on providing instruments for prison reform projects, which I was totally on board with from the get-go. It was just a win-win situation and I’m so glad that it all worked out.
OD – Can you give me any kind of updates on Alice in Chains new music?
DuVall – Right now, we’re just coming out of the lockdowns and we’ve all been busy doing our own thing. Jerry [Cantrell, Alice in Chains guitarist] is out on tour at the moment for his solo album and I’m doing my thing. We have plans for some live shows in September/October, and I’m sure that will blow-off the cobwebs and we’ll start looking at some new ideas for the next AIC album.
We had a lot of time imposed on us and I think we’re going through this period of catching up on things that we had planned for 2020/2021, and we’re all finally getting to do that now. So, it’s kind of like a stop-gap and we’re just dealing with all of these stock-pilled projects that we had planned a few years back, so once we get back up to speed with things, and we get these dates underway in late Summer, I’m sure it will spark a whole bunch of ideas for the next Alice In Chains studio album.
William DuVall will be performing in Dublin’s Academy Green Room on Monday, April 25th. Tickets are on sale NOW via this ink.
His solo album ‘One Alone‘ is out now.