No Excuses (Alice in Chains song)

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"No Excuses"
Alice in chains no excuses.png
Single by Alice in Chains
from the album Jar of Flies
RecordedSeptember 7–14, 1993 at London Bridge Studio in Seattle, Washington
Songwriter(s)Jerry Cantrell
Alice in Chains singles chronology
"Down in a Hole"
"No Excuses"
"I Stay Away"
Music video
"No Excuses" on YouTube

"No Excuses" is the lead single from American rock band Alice in Chains' third EP, Jar of Flies (1994). The song was well received by music critics and was a charting success, becoming the first Alice in Chains song to reach No. 1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks, and spending 26 weeks on the chart.[2] It has gone on to become one of the band's most popular and well-known songs. 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'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."[citation needed]

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,[3] making it the only Alice in Chains top 50 song.[citation needed] 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[2] until "Check My Brain" in 2009. "No Excuses" peaked at number three on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.[4]

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."[5]

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. Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell are the only band members to be featured on the video.[6] It also features actor Max Perlich.[6] The video is available on the home video release Music Bank: The Videos.

Live performances[edit]

Alice in Chains performed the song for the first time at the Hollywood Palladium during a benefit concert for Norwood Fisher of Fishbone on January 7, 1994.[7][8]

The band 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. This was the last time the band performed the song with Staley.[9]

Track listing[edit]

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

In popular culture[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.[10]

"No Excuses" was also featured in the season 5 Daria episode "My Night at Daria's" during the first commercial bumper.[11]

The song was released as downloadable content for the music video game Rocksmith on December 12, 2017, as part of Alice In Chains Song Pack II, which also includes the songs "Rooster", "Nutshell", "Down in a Hole", and "Heaven Beside You".[12]


Chart positions[edit]


  1. ^ Henderson, Justin (2010). Grunge Seattle. Roaring Forties Press. p. 95. ISBN 9780982341087.
  2. ^ a b c "Alice in Chains | Chart History. Mainstream Rock". Billboard. Eldridge Industries. March 26, 1994. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Alice in Chains | Chart History. Radio Songs". Billboard. Eldridge Industries. April 23, 1994. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Alice in Chains | Chart History. Alternative Songs". Billboard. Eldridge Industries. March 19, 1994. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  5. ^ Raggett, Ned. "No Excuses". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  6. ^ a b "Alice In Chains - No Excuses". YouTube. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  7. ^ "Alice in Chains Setlist at Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, CA, USA". Setlist. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Alice In Chains - No Excuses - Live at the Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, CA 1-7-94 Part 4/4". Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  9. ^ "No Excuses by Alice in Chains". Setlist. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Alice in Chains - No Excuses - Rock Band 2 DLC Expert Full Band (September 29th, 2009)". YouTube. September 26, 2016. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  11. ^ "Jerry Cantrell - IMDb". IMDb. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  12. ^ "Rocksmith Remastered DLC 12/12/2017 – Alice in Chains II". The Riff Repeater. December 11, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2470." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  14. ^ "Alice in Chains | Chart History. Mainstream Top 40". Billboard. Eldridge Industries. April 30, 1994. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  15. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1994". RPM. Retrieved November 23, 2017.

External links[edit]