For fans of The Garage, myself and Founding Editor Gary Grant are card carrying members of Generation X, and we both share an interest in alternative music in addition to our passion for all things automotive. The 1990’s ushered in the age of the Grunge movement, whose epicenter was Seattle, Washington. At the top of the food chain was the seminal band Alice In Chains. With their album ‘Dirt’ from 1992, it went quadruple platinum, selling four million copies. Sadly, front man Layne Staley suffered from a crippling heroin addiction, but it was this addiction that was his source for the poignant, and oftentimes painful lyrics. Co-leader Jerry Cantrell headed an incredible band to boot, and the music was intense. Since my college days in the mid-1990’s, I have loved watching the last lap of Steve McQueen’s ‘LeMans’ to the music of Alice in Chains ‘Would?’. You have YouTube and iTunes. Try it. It works brilliantly, the grueling music against Layne Staley’s driven, tense vocals.
In MTV’s 1996 airing of Alice In Chains ‘Unplugged’, it was clear Staley was frail, and heartbreaking to watch. The death of his fiance from a drug related overdose was the final nail that pushed Layne over the edge. The commercial success of Alice in Chains was immense, but Staley’s addiction put a damper on capitalizing on it. Following the death of his fiance, Layne Staley purchased a penthouse condo in Seattle, and essentially became a recluse. The only people he would meet were his drug dealers and a small group of friends.
So the story of Layne’s Trans Am are a bit mysterious. There is no question this is his car, and it is for sale. Hit the link if you are interested. It is a 2000 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am with the high performance WS-6 package and a six-speed manual. The ad reads that Layne personally ordered the the car, optioned to the hilt. What I do not get is the car has 26,000 miles on it. Layne Staley was a recluse after 1997, never leaving his penthouse. When the police found Layne Staley dead, he was 6’1″ and weighed 86lbs. With a man that ill, how could he possibly muster the energy to drive a top-spec Trans-Am? Even so, the chance to own a car owned by one of the most iconic, and tragic singers of the Seattle grunge scene is tempting.