Grind (song)

"Grind" is a song by American rock band Alice in Chains and the lead single from their album Alice in Chains (1995). It serves as the opening track to the album but, despite being its first single, did not experience the radio longevity of some of its contemporaries. The song was included on the compilation albums Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999), Music Bank (1999), Greatest Hits (2001), and The Essential Alice in Chains (2006). Jerry Cantrell sings lead vocals on the song with Layne Staley harmonizing with him.

Alice In Chains Grind.jpg
Alice In Chains Grind.jpg

Lyrics

"Grind" seems to address the various rumors that surrounded the band at the time. The opening lines, "In the darkest hole, you'd be well advised/Not to plan my funeral before the body dies", seem to be addressing the rumors that the band had broken up and the many rumors of vocalist Layne Staley's death that had occurred frequently around this time. In the liner notes of 1999's Music Bank box set collection, guitarist Jerry Cantrell said of the song:

That was pretty much at the height of publicity about canceled tours, heroin, amputations, everything, thus it was another "FUCK YOU for saying something about my life" song. Any single rumor you can imagine, I've heard. I've been dead a few times, Layne's been dead countless times and lost limbs. I get on the phone every time I hear a new one, "Hey Layne, radio in New York says you lost two more fingers." "Oh really? Cool." I'd spoof The Six Million Dollar Man; "Since technology's moved on it only cost us 2 million to put Layne back together and we got better parts."

Jerry Cantrell - Alice in Chains - Roskilde Festival 2010.jpg
Grind was written by guitarist Jerry Cantrell.

Release and reception

An early cut of the song was leaked to radio prematurely, so the band released it via satellite uplink a few days later to combat illegal versions being played in rotation. The song peaked at number seven on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, number 18 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks and reached the top 30 in the UK. "Grind" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1996.

Editorial reviews frequently singled out the dark, compelling lyrics of the song. Jon Wiederhorn of Rolling Stone noted, "'Grind' shimmers and shudders beneath a web of trippy wah-wah guitar and half-distorted vocal harmonies, and features one of the album's many hook-filled choruses." Allmusic's Steve Huey regarded the song "among the band's best work" but also noted that the less refined tracks on the album make the defiance of "Grind" sound "more like denial." Regarding band rumors, Jon Pareles of The New York Times commented that the song advises against believing "what you may have heard and what you think you know."

Music video

The music video for "Grind" was released in 1995. It is a live-action video. The video features the band underground of an old building where Sunshine the Dog is (who is on the cover for Tripod), the old man from the video for "Enter Sandman" by "Metallica" is also featured in the video. It was directed by Rocky Schenck, who had previously directed the "We Die Young", "Them Bones", and "What the Hell Have I" music videos for the band. The video received heavy rotation on MTV in late 1995. The video is available on the home video releases The Nona Tapes and Music Bank: The Videos.

Appearances in other media

The song was released as downloadable content for the Rock Band video game series on January 12, 2010.

Cover versions

It was later covered by alternative metal band Hurt at the Layne Staley Tribute 2008.

Track listing

No. Title Length
1. "Grind" 4:45
2. "So Close" 2:45
3. "Nutshell" 4:19
4. "Love, Hate, Love" 6:26

Personnel

Chart positions

Chart (1995) Peak
position
Canada Top Singles (RPM) 53
Canada Rock/Alternative (RPM) 3
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 23
UK Rock and Metal (Official Charts Company) 1
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard) 7
US Alternative Songs (Billboard) 18

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