William DuVall is an American musician. He is best-known for having become one of the lead vocalists of the grunge band Alice in Chains in 2006, which was necessary because of the death of Layne Staley in 2002. Besides said band, DuVall is also associated with other acts that include but are not limited to Comes with the Fall, Neon Christ, and Giraffe Tongue Orchestra.
1. Born in Washington, D.C.
DuVall was born in Washington, D.C. Later, he moved to Decatur, GA with his mother and his stepfather because the latter had found a job in the Atlanta metropolitan area. DuVall still remembers the divided nature of the city, as shown by how the neighborhood pool was still segregated on a racial basis even though that had already been made illegal by then.
2. Survived a Car Accident As a Child
At the age of six, DuVall survived a car accident that involved him, his father, his pregnant stepmother, and his father’s friend Lox. His father was driving even though one of his legs was in a leg brace because of a workplace accident. Unfortunately, the leg brace broke, meaning that DuVall’s father became incapable of lifting his leg off of the accelerator. Said individual spent some time looking for the safest place to crash, which seems to have paid off because everyone managed to survive the experience.
3. Believes that He Was Saved By His Father’s Friend
DuVall believes that he was saved by his father’s friend Lox. A few seconds before the crash, he had asked to sit on said individual’s lap. After which, Lox held on tight, which DuVall believes prevented him from being either thrown through the windshield, thrown out of the sides, or a number of other unpleasant possibilities. As soon as the truck had come to a stop, Lox carried him out, fearful that the truck would explode. DuVall’s father wasn’t as lucky because he was impaled through the chest by a pole. However, he managed to survive the hour-and-a-half needed for the paramedics show up before cutting him out and then bringing him to the hospital.
4. Was a Loner As a Child
Speaking of which, DuVall has stated that he was a loner as a child. In part, this was because he was an only child for the first ten years of his life. However, he was also apparently living in a neighborhood that didn’t have a lot of kids running around, which contributed to him being a loner. Looking back, DuVall doesn’t regret it because as far as he is concerned, that provided him with a chance to develop his own inner world. Something that he considers to be quite important.
5. Used to Be Interested in Drawing
At one point in time, DuVall was very interested in drawing. As he told it, he used to enjoy drawing, creating characters, and coming up with stories because he wanted to become a cartoonist. However, DuVall eventually developed his interest in music, which became so strong that it overtook his interest in anything else.
6. Has Joked about His First Band Being Truly Punk Rock
DuVall’s first band was Awareness Void of Chaos, which consisted of him plus the two kids who would talk with him at school. Amusingly, one of his band-mates didn’t actually play anything but was convinced to get involved anyways after being told that “Bass is easy!” DuVall has joked about Awareness Void of Chaos being truly punk rock, which is presumably playing off of punk’s emphasis on accessibility as well as the DIY spirit. Two things that caused the founding editor of Punk magazine to comment that punk was a kind of rock and roll for people who didn’t have a lot of musical skill but nonetheless wanted to express themselves through music.
7. He Was Very Driven When Playing in Neon Christ
Later, DuVall became one of the founders of the hardcore punk band Neon Christ. In that time period, he was very driven, not least because he was constantly comparing his own band with the best of the bands that he was listening to. Something that spurred DuVall onwards because he felt that they were falling short most of the time.
8. External Pressure Contributed to the Breakup of His Second Band
There were a number of factors that resulted in the breakup of Neon Christ. However, one of them was external pressure from various sources. As Neon Christ became more and more prominent, that meant that more and more focus was put upon it. DuVall mentioned one of the band’s rehearsals being staked out by cop cars from three different counties, which was presumably connected to how punk was seen in a much more negative light in the 1980s than in the present time. Furthermore, he has mentioned things such as people invading their shows and rumors of Nazi skinheads having put a contract on them.
9. Has a Philosophy Degree
As strange as it sounds, DuVall has a philosophy degree with a particular emphasis on religion from Georgia State University. Those two subjects often go hand-in-hand, which makes sense because philosophy often looks into the same questions as religion. Indeed, the father of western philosophy Socrates is known to have questioned the nature of piety, asking whether the pious was loved by the divine because it was pious or the pious was pious because it was loved by the divine. However, it should be mentioned that this questioning was made known to us by Socrates’ student Plato, so it isn’t clear how much of this was the real Socrates and how much of this was the character of Socrates presented by Plato.
10. Got the Position on Alice in Chains in a Single Audition
Jerry Cantrell has said that DuVall managed to get the position on Alice in Chains after just a single audition. Similarly, Sean Kinney expressed the sentiment that the search was over after DuVall’s first rehearsal with the band, while Mike Inez has mentioned that he was won over because DuVall didn’t try to imitate Layne Staley. As such, DuVall became one of the lead vocalists for Alice in Chains in time for the band’s reunion shows in 2006, with the result that he has remained there ever since.