No Excuses

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"No Excuses"
Single by Alice in Chains
from the album Jar of Flies
Released 1994
Format CD
Recorded September 7–14, 1993 at London Bridge Studio in Seattle, Washington
Length 4:15
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Jerry Cantrell
Alice in Chains singles chronology
"Down in a Hole"
"No Excuses"
"I Stay Away"
Jar of Flies track listing
"I Stay Away"
(Track 3)
"No Excuses"
(Track 4)
"Whale & Wasp"
(Track 5)
Music video
"No Excuses" on YouTube

"No Excuses" is the lead single from American rock band Alice in Chains's third EP, Jar of Flies (1994). The song was included on the compilation albums Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999), Music Bank (1999), Greatest Hits (2001), and The Essential Alice in Chains (2006). The song was well received by music critics and was a charting success. It has gone on to become one of the band's most popular and well-known songs.


The song's sound (and that of the entire EP) is a departure from some of the band's better-known, heavier work. Guitarist Jerry Cantrell's subtle guitar riffs built around suspended chords (as well as drummer Sean Kinney's soft, syncopated drumming) help lend an unusually airy feel to the song.


The lyrics, penned by Cantrell, are thought to be about his unstable relationship with band vocalist Layne Staley, highlighting both their difficulties as well as their friendship. The final verse seems to come to a resolve in stating that Cantrell will "defend" Staley and that, should they grow further apart, he will "love (Staley) anyway."

Release and reception[edit]

"No Excuses" was released as a single in 1994. "No Excuses" found moderate airplay on alternative rock radio and is considered by music fans and critics as a grunge staple. "No Excuses" peaked at number 48 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart, making it the only Alice in Chains top 50 song. Although Alice in Chains fared well on mainstream rock radio, "No Excuses" was their only song to hit number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart until "Check My Brain" in 2009. "No Excuses" peaked at number three on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Ned Raggett of Allmusic said that the song "proved in spades that Alice in Chains were far more than oppressive doom-mongers" and added, "Topped off with a catchy chorus, it made for another high point for a band seemingly blessed with them."[2]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "No Excuses" was released in 1994 and was directed by Matt Mahurin, who had previously directed the "Angry Chair" music video for the band. The video features actor Max Perlich. The video is available on the home video release Music Bank: The Videos.

Live performances[edit]

Alice in Chains performed an acoustic version of "No Excuses" for its appearance on MTV Unplugged in 1996 and the song was included on the Unplugged live album and home video release.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "No Excuses"   4:16
2. "Brother" (from Sap) 4:27

Media usage[edit]

"No Excuses" was chosen as a playable track on the popular video game Guitar Hero: Metallica and was also released as downloadable content for the Rock Band series. "No Excuses" was also featured in the Daria episode "My Night at Daria's" during the first commercial bumper.


Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1994) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 Airplay[3] 48
US Mainstream Rock Tracks[4] 1
US Modern Rock Tracks[4] 3
US Top 40 Mainstream[4] 32
Preceded by
"Deuces Are Wild" by Aerosmith
Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks number-one single
March 26 – April 8, 1994
Succeeded by
"Keep Talking" by Pink Floyd


  1. ^ Henderson, Justin (2010). Grunge Seattle. Roaring Forties Press. p. 95. ISBN 9780982341087. 
  2. ^ Raggett, Ned. "No Excuses". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  3. ^ "Hot 100 Airplay - Alice in Chains". Billboard charts. Archived from the original on January 14, 2009. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  4. ^ a b c "Artist Chart History – Alice in Chains". Billboard charts. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 

External links[edit]