Thirty years ago, on January 25, 1994, to be precise, Alice in Chains released the EP “Jar of Flies,” which served as a bridge between the masterpiece “Dirt” and their latest self-titled album, reaching the top spot on the charts in the United States.
The jar of flies mentioned in the title referred to an experiment conducted by the guitarist and songwriter Jerry Cantrell during his school days. It involved filling two jars with flies and overfeeding those in the first jar while underfeeding those in the second jar. The result was that the first group multiplied and then died due to overcrowding, while the second group survived longer.
In the cover photo taken by Rocky Schenck in the living room of a house, a young boy was indeed looking at a jar containing some flies that had been captured by a photographer’s assistant in a stable (Schenck is also, among other things, a director of some of the band’s videos). “The flies kept dying, the child complained, and my assistant kept catching new ones,” the photographer recalled five years ago. “The album was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Recording Package category… and I still have those jars.”
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To celebrate the album’s thirtieth anniversary, Romanus Records produced 150 transparent vinyl records with dead flies inside. The challenge, as mentioned on their Instagram, was capturing the flies. The Romanus team, no strangers to such inventive releases, had previously produced a vinyl with red blood-like liquid inside for Mötley Crüe.
The Alice in Chains vinyl records are already sold out, as are the limited edition box sets containing a jar with red light and fake flies, and the tricolor vinyl released by the band. However, you can always step outside and catch your own flies to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of this great EP.
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