Alice in Chains’ William DuVall Credits Jimi Hendrix + Ace Frehley for His Musical Start
While many know William DuVall from Alice in Chains, the singer-guitarist's influences are wide. During a chat with DuVall for this edition of Gear Factor, he singles out some rock guitar heroes, while also pulling from punk and metal.
"It was actually the Band of Gypsies record that did it for me," DuVall recalls of Jimi Hendrix's musical presence early in his life. "I heard it when I was 8-years-old. My cousin brought it over when he came to live with my mother and me. It was great. I didn't even know what Hendrix looked like because the album was missing a cover. My cousin went to the library and photocopied some old Rolling Stone magazines and brought 'em back and I was like, 'Oh, he looks like us.'"
But While Hendrix may have spurred his interest in guitar, it was another mysterious figure who took it to the next level. "Ace Frehley was important, because as much as Hendrix was this sort of shaman, ethereal being that was no longer living, who was everything you would want in terms of someone who would capture the imagination and he was this remote mysterious figure you could never get to know, Ace Frehley was in the here and now," says DuVall. "He's the Spaceman, and he's ethereal as well, but it was a bit more approachable for a rudimentary player like myself." Watch as DuVall also showcases a bit of one of Frehley's influences, Chuck Berry, and how the Spaceman made the sound his own.
DuVall also credits Henry Rollins and Black Flag for playing a big role in his development as his tasted began to grow. "The only person who was really kind of projecting a sexuality in the underground music scene that I knew of who was really doing it was Henry Rollins. Rollins influenced a lot of people and he doesn't really get the credit in my opinion," says DuVall, who then pulls out a couple of Black Flag favorites for the viewing audience.
As for his own career, William goes way back to pull out his "broken hearted teenage love song" "The Knife That Cuts So Deep," a track that was a clear departure from the thrashy music he was playing at the time with Neon Christ.
Digging into the Alice in Chains catalog, William confirms it was "Would?" that first garnered his attention before he even joined the group. He then quickly riffs through some of his moments from the band, including bits of "Check My Brain," "Last of My Kind" and "Looking in View."
And closing out this session of Gear Factor, DuVall plays a bit of his current solo single, "Til the Light Guides Me Home." He warns, "If you are not totally together, an acoustic guitar will stop you dead in your tracks. It shows no mercy. It is ruthless," before rocking a bit of the track.
Duvall is currently promoting his solo album, One Alone, which came out earlier this month. You can pick up your copy and check out all of his solo dates here. In addition, Alice in Chains' Rainier Fog album is available at this location. Check out the riffs that have rocked William DuVall's world in this edition of Gear Factor above.
Top 25 Replacement Singers in Rock + Metal