Kinney's interest in music was developed at an early age. He got his first drum kit when he was 5. By the age of 9, he was keeping the beat for his grandfather's band, The Cross Cats, and traveling the Northwest playing small venues. Kinney grew up in Renton, Washington, where he attended Liberty Senior High School in the Issaquah School District.
Sean Kinney posing for Sabian in 2002.
|Birth name||Sean Howard Kinney|
|Born|| May 27, 1966
Renton, Washington, US
|Genres||Alternative metal, grunge, alternative rock, heavy metal, hard rock|
|Instruments||Drums, piano, percussion|
|Associated acts||Alice in Chains, Jerry Cantrell, Spys4Darwin|
Kinney met up with Alice in Chains when he was dating the sister of bassist Mike Starr, Melinda. Guitarist Jerry Cantrell wanted to form a new band after his band Diamond Lie broke up, so his roommate Layne Staley gave him the phone number of Kinney's girlfriend, so that Cantrell could talk to him and set up a meeting. Kinney and his girlfriend went to the Music Bank where Cantrell lived and listened to his demos. Cantrell mentioned that they needed a bass player to jam with them, and he already had someone in mind: Mike Starr, with whom Cantrell had played in a band in Burien called Gypsy Rose. Kinney then mentioned that his girlfriend was actually Starr's sister, and that he had been playing in bands together with Starr since they were kids. Kinney called Starr and a few days later he started jamming with him and Cantrell at the Music Bank, but they didn't have a singer. Cantrell, Starr and Kinney wanted Staley to be their lead singer, so they started auditioning terrible lead singers in front of Staley to send a hint. The last straw for Staley was when they auditioned a male stripper – he decided to join the band after that.
Since the band's inception, Kinney has been the only drummer. He also sang chorus vocals through a megaphone on the hidden song from Sap entitled "Love Song". The album was named after a dream Kinney had about the band recording some light acoustic songs for an album they name Sap, because it's "sappy."
Kinney plays a large role in the presentation of the band, having helped design artwork and stage setups for most of the band's albums and tours.
Through the decline in grunge popularity during the mid-nineties, Kinney was a member of a Willie Nelson tribute band. The tribute band also included Johnny Cash, Kim Thayil of Soundgarden, and Krist Novoselic from Nirvana. Kinney also played drums for his Alice in Chains band mate Jerry Cantrell's solo album, Boggy Depot. Four years later, he founded the short-lived project Spys4Darwin with friend and fellow Seattle musician Chris DeGarmo of Queensrÿche fame. Joined by Mike Inez (AIC's bassist since 1993) and Sponge vocalist Vinnie Dombroski, they recorded and released the 6-track EP, microfish, in May 2001.
In 2005, Kinney reunited with the other two surviving members of Alice in Chains—performing at a benefit concert for the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. On March 6, 2006, they again performed together at VH1's Decades Rock Live concert, honoring fellow Seattle musicians Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson of Heart. That night they played "Rooster" with Comes with the Fall vocalist William DuVall and Ann Wilson. DuVall joined Alice in Chains as lead singer shortly thereafter. Since that time, Kinney has drummed for AIC at numerous events and concerts. From May 16–17, 2009, Alice in Chains was part of the annual rock festival, Rock on the Range at the Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The album Black Gives Way to Blue, the first without Staley, was released on September 29, 2009. Their fifth studio album, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, was released in 2013.
In 1995, Alice in Chains was contemplating making a third studio album. When it was official, Kinney drew out artwork for the cover and liner notes. The cover features a three-legged dog, reason being, according to band lore, there was a three-legged dog named Tripod that used to terrorize Kinney and chase him around during his paper-work duty when he was a kid. In the music video for "Grind", it shows a three legged dog (similar to the one that allegedly used to chase Kinney) walking up a stairway with an elderly man.
|Boggy Depot||1998||Columbia||Jerry Cantrell|
|Microfish||2001||Pied Viper Records||Spys4Darwin|