"Angry Chair" as written by and Sean Kinney Layne Staley....
Sitting on an angry chair
Angry walls that steal the air
Stomach hurts and I don't care
What do I see across the way, hey

See myself molded in clay, oh
Stares at me, yeah I'm afraid
Changing the shape of his face, oh yeah
Candles red I have a pair

Shadows dancing everywhere
Burning on the angry chair
Little boy made a mistake yeah
Pink cloud has now turned to gray, oh

All that I want is to play
Get on your knees, time to pray, oh
I don't mind, yeah
I don't mind, yeah
I don't mind, yeah
I don't mind, yeah

Lost my mind, yeah
I don't mind
Can't find it anywhere
I don't mind, yeah

Corporate prison, we stay yeah
I'm a dull boy, work all day
So I'm strung out anyway

Loneliness is not a phase
Field of pain is where I graze
Serenity is far away

Saw my reflection and cried
So little hope that I died, oh
Feed me your lies, open wide
Weight of my heart, not the size, oh

I don't mind, yeah
I don't mind, yeah
I don't mind, yeah
I don't mind, yeah

Lost my mind, yeah
I don't mind
Can't find it anywhere
I don't mind, yeah


Pink cloud has now turned to gray
All that I want is to play
Get on your knees time to pray, boy


Lyrics submitted by Ice

"Angry Chair" as written by Sean Kinney Layne Staley

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Angry Chair song meanings
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  • +20
    General CommentI created this account just to clear up some confusion. I'm highly disappointed and appalled at how much crap and how little sense is in these comments. First, props to who nailed it- Drink the Poison pretty much nailed it, and Got Me Wrong gets a 4 out of 5 from me, but everyone else is too distracted by pornography to use more than three braincells.

    In General: This song provides a glimpse into the mind of a heroin addict. It is not about the drug; it's about the person and his struggles. Unlike most other AIC songs, the music AND lyrics were by Layne Staley. This is a major distinction from the other songs written by Jerry Cantrell. And what an amazing song it is.

    "Sitting on an Angry Chair"- The chair that Layne sits in when he's on smack. **NOT** a childhood timeout chair (who the fuck sings about being in timeout??), nor an electric chair. Was Layne ever on death row? NO!

    "Angry walls that steal the air"- Also heard as "stills the air". Layne's surroundings are quite hostile, and there seems to be a sense of timelessness (probably induced by the drug). Even though he describes the chair and walls to be angry, Layne is the angry one, presumably angry with himself.

    "Stomach hurts and I don't care"- His stomach pain is excruciating, but he deals with it because it comes with the high.

    "See myself molded in clay. Stares at me, yeah I'm afraid"- These lyrics are cryptic, but in general, think of it as a confrontation with himself, perhaps in a dream. It's creepy to see yourself, and even worse if you're made of clay and staring back at yourself.

    "Changing the shape of his face"- too creepy to explain. This lyric is so dark.

    "Candles red, I have a pair, Shadows dancing everywhere"- This is too simple to fuck up. He has two red candles on his chair. The dancing shadows are the flickering flames of the candles, which means there's no other light in the room. Can you connect the dots? Can you put together a good picture of what's going on? Don't forget the angry walls and no air...... very dark and gloomy lyrics, and the music matches this.

    "Burning on the Angry Chair"- The riddle here is this: what's burning, the candles, or Layne? (use your noggin- answer it for yourself)

    "Little boy made a mistake. Pink cloud has now turned to grey. All that I want is to play."- His mistake was using heroin for the first time, and the price was lost innocence. Layne uses the word "boy" several times in this song (why? use your noggin). On a related note, Layne reprises the "Pink cloud has now turned to grey" lyric in the song "Artificial Red" with Mad Season.

    "Get on your knees, time to pray"- Cryptic lyrics again, but this definitely refers to religious and/or demonic pressures.

    "I don't mind, yeah(x4), Lost my mind, Can't find it anywhere, but I don't mind"- This part of the song is the first break from the harsh stinging guitar riff. Basically, Layne feels like he's gone crazy, but there's a lot more to this...

    "Corporate prison we stay, I'm a dull boy work all day, So I'm strung out anyway"- If you don't listen to these lyrics with the music, you'll never receive the full intensity of the message. This has nothing to with drugs, this is simply the same corporate pressures that we all can relate to, and he's just sick of it. Cantrell's solo that follows this line is loud, fast, and sick.

    "Loneliness is not a phase, Field of pain is where I graze, Serenity is far away"- This has to do with deep depression. As someone who has experienced clinical depression where my body physically hurt for no reason, I relate to these lyrics, and can actually recall the same feelings by listening to this song and remembering that time in my life.

    "Saw my reflection and cried, So little hope that I died"- What does it take for a man to cry? These lyrics mean whatever meaning you apply to them. Don't forget he saw himself molded in clay earlier.... (use your noggin)

    "Weight of my heart not the size."- This powerful lyric is the only light in such a dark song. Surprisingly, it balances out.

    Layne poured his deepest darkest emotions into his music. The people who so errantly attempt to interpret his music have not explored the darkness within themselves. That's where you need to go if you truly wish to understand AIC.



    UseYourNogginon December 29, 2010   Link
  • +6
    General CommentLoneliness is not a phase
    Field of pain is where I graze
    Serenity is far away

    Wow...
    Im_Nexton September 10, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentMy interpretation of this song is about drug abuse and loss of innocence. Alot of AIC songs dealt with drug use and this song is no different.

    Sitting on an angry chair
    Angry walls that steal the air
    Stomach hurts and I don't care

    Layne is sitting on a chair either already high or going to shoot up. It's an angry chair because he is angry at himself because of using drugs in the first place.

    What do I see across the way, hey
    See myself molded in clay, oh
    Stares at me, yeah I'm afraid, hey
    Changing the shape of his face, aw yeah

    He really sees himself for the first time and doesnt even recongize the person he has become due to drugs (which really begins to terrify him). It says it clearly when he sings, "Stares at me, yeah I'm afraid, hey/Changing the shape of his face, aw yeah"

    Candles red I have a pair
    Shadows dancing everywhere
    Burning on the angry chair

    He's probably just sitting there and wasting away high, or reflecting back on his life with drug usage or just has nothing else better to do.

    Little boy made a mistake, hey
    Pink cloud has now turned to gray, oh
    All that I want is to play, hey
    Get on your knees, time to pray, boy

    He says how he made the mistake of using drugs and how his addictions are tearing himself apart. In alot of AIC songs, he uses pink turns to gray which is a symbolism of drug abuse and how everything has gone downhill. Pink is a color that looks pleasant and happy but then it turns to gray which looks horrible and depressing. I'm not sure on how to interpret this part: "All that I want is to play, hey/Get on your knees, time to pray, boy" Maybe he wants to get rid of his addictions and just be carefree like a little kid but he cant because its so hard to do. Therefore, he has to pray to God to help him through it.

    I don't mind, yeah
    I don't mind, I-I-I
    Lost my mind, yeah
    But I don't mind, I-I-I
    Can't find it anywhere
    I don't mind

    This is the effect of using drugs, he lost himself and everything else important in life. He reaches a point where everything is so bad and unrepairable that he just gives up. He is delusional and he doesn't care anymore.

    Corporate prison, we stay, hey
    I'm a dull boy, work all day, oh
    So I'm strung out anyway, hey

    Corporate prison = job. He works all day and that makes me him feel dull. So he is high at work or/either he does drugs to take him out of his current state. Strung out = high on drugs.

    Loneliness is not a phase
    Field of pain is where I graze
    Serenity is far away

    All I have to say is wow these 3 lines are so powerful. I wish I could write like that. Yeah anyways... basically I think these 3 lines are self explainatory. He believes loneliness is not a phase and he spends his life in so much pain that he doesn't think anything will ever get better.

    Saw my reflection and cried, hey
    So little hope that I died, oh
    Feed me your lies, open wide, hey
    Weight of my heart, not the size, oh

    I love these 4 lines as well. Basically he sees how his drug addictions affects himself and how it deteriorates him and his relationships with everyone else that is in his life. He has no hope because there is no way he can fix things or fix himself because his addiction is so bad its beyond repair. I'm not sure how to interpret this part, "Feed me your lies, open wide, hey/Weight of my heart, not the size, oh"

    RIP Layne. AIC made great music and it is a loss that Layne is not with us today. IMO, AIC is so underrated and the media never gave proper recognition (of his music and death) and proper respect that he deserves. You will missed Layne, keep on rockin wherever you are.
    Got Me Wrongon December 28, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI didn't read through everything but this song is about the struggles of withdrawals and recovery. The stomach pain, the neurotic feelings. H withdrawal involves flu like stuff and insomnia, both of which tend to screw with the head. Anyone that's been in recovery knows that the "pink cloud" is the feeling of rejuvenation after having kicked that comes once most of the physical symptoms are gone. It's usually temporary, and in this case his pink cloud turned grey meaning that happiness has passed him by and he seems to be going back and forth between rationalizing using again and feeling shame for having those thoughts. It's a pretty accurate description of an addict's state of mind and struggles.
    buttmeaton August 05, 2014   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIm prolly wrong about this but the way i see it is that he is pissed off because of all the corporate bullshit that goes on and he dosnt want to be controlled by it but he has been sucked into it.
    NicoleInWonderlandon May 01, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is fun to analyze, and it happens to be my favorite. I miss Alice in Chains, it's a true loss. I feel like an ass putting my own interpretation on here, but to hell with it, I want to.

    "Sitting on an angry chair
    Angry walls that steal the air
    Stomach hurts and I don't care"

    ( The reference to the childhood punishment seems fitting as a mild reference, though I feel that he's in the midst of a drug high and it's making him sick but he will continue to do it, cause it feels good. Drugs work that way)

    "What do I see across the way, hey
    See myself molded in clay, oh
    Stares at me, yeah I'm afraid, hey
    Changing the shape of his face, aw yeah"

    ( Definitely see the part about the sculpture he made of him as a child. He's looking at it while under the influence or after the fact, and it scares and sickens him to see such innocence lost in himself. He's ashamed of what he's become-'changing the shape of his face')


    "Candles red I have a pair
    Shadows dancing everywhere
    Burning on the angry chair

    Little boy made a mistake, hey
    Pink cloud has now turned to gray, oh
    All that I want is to play, hey
    Get on your knees, time to pray, boy"

    ( Making reference to him being a child again, making a mistake. A dream he had of who he was going to be turned bad. An almost sarcastic reference to him wanting to play all day, and comparing it to his drug use and how it's ruined him. Better pray he can still save himself, but he let's that almost apatetic sarcasm through just enough to wash away any chance of reformation.)


    "I don't mind, yeah
    I don't mind, I-I-I
    Lost my mind, yeah
    But I don't mind, I-I-I
    Can't find it anywhere
    I don't mind "

    ( Apathy towards the tragedy of his life, bittersweet feeling)


    "Corporate prison, we stay, hey
    I'm a dull boy, work all day, oh
    So I'm strung out anyway, hey "

    ( Stunning lyrics. He's saying that in life you're doomed to a corporate imprisonment, you must work all day and all your life, just to live. He finds it better to be in an alternate reality, why not be strung out on drugs while you're wasting your life anyway.)


    "Saw my reflection and cried, hey
    So little hope that I died, oh
    Feed me your lies, open wide, hey
    Weight of my heart, not the size, oh "

    ( He looks in the mirror one day and it all unfolds on him. The realization of how much he's wasted is too much to bare. He knows he's doomed, but he'll let people go ahead and try to tell him that it's not too late to change and save himself. " weight of my heart not the size" is a reference to an old Egyptian legend... evidently when a ancient Egyptian died, I believe probably a royal or one that was high up, maybe even a god or goddess... their heart was measured against the weight of a feather, and that is how they were rewarded. So if one's heart is big, but it is weighed down by a life lived badly, it is not as worthy. ( I'm hoping I got the reference correct, I'm only going by what I can remember I was told of the legend) These lines are pretty deep.)

    Very prophetic song lyrics I think, amazing how he seemed to be complacent to his impending doom
    WinterOnyxon April 17, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAngry Chair is part of a cycle of songs on the album "Dirt" that tell a story. You really can't get its meaning completely unless you listen to it within context. (One of the great things about listening to a full album in order instead of just downloading individual songs--albums can tell a story and great ones are more than the sum of their parts. "Dirt" is certainly such a record, you must listen to the whole thing as one entity to "get" most of the songs fully.)

    Anyway, "Angry Chair" is part of the cycle on "Dirt" that deals with heroin addiction. It starts with "Junkhead" (which very sarcastically and darkly presents the mindset of someone first getting into heroin use and thinking it's wonderful), then goes through Dirt -> Godsmack -> Hate to Feel which chronicle the user's realization that he's hooked and that heroin is destroying him horribly. Layne said in interviews that one of the reasons he wrote so personally about his experiences with heroin was to warn other people off, prevent them from making the same mistake he made. (I'm sure that is the "little boy made a mistake" in this song. He messed up, and now he's realizing that his mistake is costing him his health, sanity, and life.)

    I think this cycle of songs works as the best warning against drug use I've ever heard (and is the reason I will *never* touch the stuff). But you can also relate to it and find meaning even if you are not into drugs. Just in a more general sense, the idea that you've lost your innocence, that you've made mistakes that are destroying your life, that you look in the mirror and can't stand what you've become, the horror and desperation, why is your life turning out like this, how did this happen ....? Innocence lost, basically.

    Probably my favorite song ever.
    drinkthepoisonon September 19, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOk, I've read a lot of these and I'm about ready to scream. Ok, this song is a stab in the face of AA/NA rhetoric. "Pink Cloud" is referring to how a newly recovered addict feels about sobriety. In AA/NA there's a lot of spirituality and a lot of the people start their day by getting on their knees to pray. Also when you're detoxing, a lot of people pray not to die, which you think you're gonna, especially from heroin. In AA/NA they say that you lose your mind and addiction is insanity. Someone was talking about this song being about being on the toilet? Well, when you're a junkie, you don't crap for days or weeks even. When you're kicking, it's the worst pain to have a gigantic shit coming down the pike. But if you're about to shoot up you think you can hold it for a little while longer. Then it goes away. It's awful. Also think of the flicker of a lighter under a spoon in the bathroom with dim lighting in the mirror. You'll hopefully get it to a point.
    I like Alice In Chains because of my addiction, personal hell and it's nice to know I'm not the only one.
    ZRyhmeron May 04, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSome of you are half right.

    This song is about heroin, yes. But it is about heroin WITHDRAWAL!! In other words the exact opposite of begin high. This is not up for interpretation. Layne said it himself and I have personal experience with this subject so let this be definitive. My own theory is that this is about his first opiate withdrawal after some time sober. My reason for this is because there are several references to Narcotics Anonymous in the lyrics.

    I'm omitting any lyrics I find to be obvious

    I'll explain:

    "Sitting on an angry chair
    Angry walls that steal the air
    Stomach hurts and I don't care"

    A. You are not angry when you are high.
    B. You are angry (first line) claustrophobic (second line) in excruciating pain (third line) and yet strangely apathetic (third line) when you are in withdrawal.

    "What do I see across the way, hey
    See myself molded in clay, oh
    Stares at me, yeah I'm afraid, hey
    Changing the shape of his face, aw yeah"

    Only one point here, In moderate to sever withdrawal, and I'm sure Layne qualified, you WILL hallucinate, and it is NEVER fun. You are completely out of it.

    "Candles red I have a pair
    Shadows dancing everywhere
    Burning on the angry chair"

    A. Again, more references to the intense hallucinations.
    B. Burning. As in hell. Ask anyone who has been through opiate withdrawal what it was like and they will all tell you the same thing; It is like being in hell.

    "Little boy made a mistake, hey
    Pink cloud has now turned to gray, oh
    All that I want is to play, hey
    Get on your knees, time to pray, boy"

    Here's where it gets interesting for me. Particularly, the second line.
    A. Obviously, he made a bad decision when he was young, getting involved with drugs.
    B. A "Pink Cloud" is an expression in both Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. It is an optimistic term to describe peoples new found sobriety. Layne did have some sober time before this was written. Obviously, in the fit of withdrawal, that Pink Cloud has now turned Grey. Excellent insider lyrics here. The rest is pretty self explanatory.

    "Loneliness is not a phase
    Field of pain is where I graze
    Serenity is far away"

    First line is pretty obvious, Second line describing the pain he is in. The Third line, however, is a blatant reference to Narcotics Anonymous's Montra: Serenity. It is Faaaaar away. He was there once, but he has crossed a line.

    "Saw my reflection and cried, hey
    So little hope that I died, oh
    Feed me your lies, open wide, hey
    Weight of my heart, not the size, oh"

    Simply the despondency and depression of opiate withdrawal. The last line is interesting though. With drug abuse your heart swells. It can swell to several times it's normal weight. This ends up killing a lot of people. The size of a person's heart means they are good. The weight means they have been "bad" by using drugs.

    "Pink cloud has now turned to gray
    All that I want is to play
    Get on your knees time to pray, boy"

    Pretty obvious now, I think. Yet, he re-emphasizes the "Pink Cloud" of sobriety and the "Grey Cloud" of addiction. Excellent lyrics.
    duffoberryon April 07, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Commentactually everyone, when laynewasa child, he made little sculptures. he madea mall child(layne) sitting in a chair. the song is bout how he sees this self sculpture, but instead of seeing good little layne, now he sees how hes grown up and how heroin is ruining his life. thats why he sees himself across the way, lol. and its obviously about drug adiction because even though hes saying howit ade him alone and angry, he still doesnt mindbecause hes truly not helping himself stop in anyway. the love/hate relationship w/ drug addiction. anyone whos not a drug addict or an addict in some way will never fully understand alice in chains.
    stonedtemplepiloton June 28, 2003   Link

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