Despite never officially disbanding, Alice in Chains had become essentially inactive by the end of the ’90s, due largely to Layne Staley‘s debilitating heroin addiction. Still, the grunge titans’ specter loomed over guitarist Jerry Cantrell when he released “Cut You In,” the lead single from his debut solo album, Boggy Depot, in January 1998.
After filming an MTV Unplugged special and opening a handful of dates on Kiss‘ reunion tour in 1996, Alice in Chains went on an indefinite hiatus as Staley disappeared from the public eye, suffering a slow, agonizing demise that culminated in his death in April 2002. With his band stuck in limbo, Cantrell began working on material for his first album in 1996. He made his debut solo excursion that same year with the single “Leave Me Alone,” which appeared on the soundtrack to the Ben Stiller-directed black comedy The Cable Guy, starring Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick.