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 met up with Alice in Chains when he was dating the sister of bassist Mike Starr. Through Starr, he was introduced to Jerry Cantrell who introduced them both to Layne Staley. 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." Sean 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 was released September 29, 2009.
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 dog with three legs that always used to chase Sean around when he was doing his paper routes, it creeped him out!" 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. The dog used in the video belongs to Jerry Cantrell, named Sunshine, after the Alice in Chains song.
|Boggy Depot||1998||Columbia||Jerry Cantrell|
|Microfish||2001||Pied Viper Records||Spys4Darwin|
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