He joined in 2006 following the death of Layne Staley four years previously, and made his first studio appearance with them on 2009′s Black Gives Way To Blue. His second album with the band, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, is due on May 27.
DuVall tells GuitarPlayer.com: “I would say we’re still settling in – it’s always work in progress. There are a lot of things that we have in common, then there are a lot of things that set us very much apart from one another.”
He describes his role as “everything from writing riffs to providing counterpoint to what Jerry Cantrell is doing, to doubling what he’s doing, to playing solos. It’s really everything that you would expect from a two-guitar band.”
Under his influence AIC have become more of a jamming band than they used to be. “I’m told they didn’t really do a whole lot of that before – but that’s sort of where I come from,” he says. “I’ll start up something and see where it goes in rehearsal. That’s a different way of interacting, which is cool.”
The addition of DuVall’s guitar talents has opened up more possibilities for live shows, he believes. “Not only can we more accurately reproduce things from the previous albums, but we can also write in a way that lends itself to being presented in a two-guitar format onstage.
“If Jerry writes something that has five or six parts to it, rather than having to just pick one, we can pick at least two and add the most important piece of another part. We really present it very close to, if not exactly like, the record on a lot of songs.”
Meanwhile, Staley’s mother Nancy McCallum has launched a lawsuit against the band, claiming she’s owed 16% of their income and that they’ve tried to cut her out of payments.
Her attorney argues that, during AIC’s downtime, it was her work that kept their legacy alive. The band’s representative says she tried to illegally trademark their name, and that she’s been paid more than she was actually entitled to.
They say they’re not cutting Staley’s heirs out of their share of songwriting dues, and that when they liquidated the late singer’s share of the business it was valued at $341,000 – even though they’d paid McCallum $705,000 since his death.