I Stay Away

Album: Jar of Flies (1994)

Songfacts®:

  • Lead singer Layne Staley wrote the lyrics to this song when he came out of rehab and was sober for a short time. When he started shooting up again, he wrote "No Excuses." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tim - Vero Beach, FL
  • The video, which was directed by Nick Domkin, used stop-motion animation to portray the band members as circus performers.
  • A string section and horns were used on this song, which is not typical of Alice In Chains.

Comments: 15

  • Clint from ColoradoTara, you are on point, love your interpretation and general thoughts on the meaning behind music, very cool.
  • Tedd from Lakeland I agree Marek, where do you get your facts. No excuses was Jerry Cantrell. Besides he was so on and off the Heroin So much how can you write such lame stuff. What we do know is when they recorded a song it was great. All the drug talk is there personal business. We all know how he died ,it sucks but that's life. You can't blame the band ,most everyone knows someone growing up that let drugs take over and what they were like unreliable, and they become somebody else, rich and famous doesn't make it different. I read recently Jerry said he new the band was falling apart and quickly, I took that as there was no getting him back from the H. Mad Season was all Layne lyrically great record but like a diary of the hopeless junkie ever.
  • Jay from Outaouais, QcAIC were big fans of Van Halen amongst others growing up. The the guitar riff in "I Stay Away" is a polished version of David Lee Roth's "Goodtimes"
  • Marek from Rybnik, Poland'when he started shooting up again, he wrote "No Excuses." ' - No way, man! All lyrics on Jar of Flies are written by Layne Staley except Don't Follow and No Excuses, which are written by Jerry Cantrell. Fact. You can find that info on wiki, discogs or original artwork.
  • Jimmy from Hastings, New ZealandJust listen to the final chorus --- I STAY AWAY repeated --- brilliant.
    AIC have been on my playlist for ever and i always go back to them when things get heavy.
  • Tara from Tucson, AzI don't think this song was written having anything at all to do with The Green River Killer. Interesting comparison, if that's what it speaks to you I think Layne would've thought that was pretty cool. That's what music is about...for your interpretation. You get to have it as for what it says to you. I think it's about his acceptance of being close to death though. "...travel south this year"....he thinks he's bound for hell. And soon. "Won't prevent safe passage here"...he's not going to rehab anymore, not trying to fight it anymore, it's got him. "So close a lady....shifty eyed shade", I think that's his description of how it makes him feel. Heroin is his "lady", his comfort...the shifty eyed shade is the cocaine mixed in. The drug is his love.
  • Matt from Fredericksburg, Vadrugs, phycotic woman / w.e./... good song wrighting hits on so many levels and alows the audiance identify with what they may be feeling at the time... a.i.c. is one of my favorites. RIP. pardon n e misspellings.
  • Greg from Slidell, Laelectric funeral is by black sabbath.what does that have 2 do with this song?
  • John from Cheyenne, Wyelectric funeral
  • Gema from Riverside, CaAgreed with Jonathan, though Layne did not right "No Excuses" that was Jerry.
  • Al from Philidelphia, Pavideo is bizarre,creepy,and AMAZING at the same time. one of the best videos ive seen and one of the best songs ive heard.
  • Jonathan from Edwardsville, IlAlthough that was very well written, "Bloodaxe", I'm pretty sure it's about their lead singer when he was sober for a while after rehab.
    In fact, that's exactly what it says at the top of the page.
  • Bloodaxe from Lincoln, NeThis is one of AIC's best. The strings underline the incredible acoustic guitar blend preceding the bridge and chorus to the lyrics "i stay away". The lead electric guitar solo is quite subdued and haunting, but it's too short, because it leads into asking "why you act crazy" lyrics at the last bar.

    But then it drops, literally drops, into that smooth acoustic guitar brilliance with the dynamic strings climbing to the summit of the song. And Layne "stays away". The juxtaposition of the beautiful instrumental chorus "I stay away", gets suddenly interrupted by dischord and you hear Layne singing "why you act frightened? I am enlightened!" The harmonies are purposely dischorded to show the danger in the song.

    I think this song is about the Green River Killer, a serial murderer in Washington state. The lyrics start after a beautiful acoustic guitar intro, with strings... "Yeah hey Yeah, want to travel south this year, I won't - won't prevent safe passage here". He's saying that he's not going to kill when he goes south of his "area". He's proudly pronouncing that he is going to "allow" people to live.

    He talks about his victim being "so close a lady" but she has "shifty eyes", so he thinks she is slutty and manipulative, so she's dangerous to his manhood.

    He sings about "staying away"... trying to fight the urge to submit to his demons.

    Then the lyrics talk about the killer's interpretation of his victim's reactions to his attempts to "woo" her. He's trying to tell her that he's "enlightened", and someday she'll "see" that his decisions are what she needs.

    Freaky creepy lyrics if you listen to them closely in relation to the music. It's such a beautiful song that is actually quite scary to me because Layne captures the mindset of this maniac. It's one of the few rock songs that literally goes schizophrenic, first with beauty (the killer wants to find a lady - purity) and then realizing that he hasn't found beauty in the woman (or prostitute) he has picked up, he disposes of her.

    It's somewhat like the Toadies "Possum Kingdom Lake" lyrics. Another song with very ominous overtones, but brilliant.
  • Randy from Colerain Twp., OhSo, is this song about drugs or a psychotic woman? I do consider this to be one of my top five favorite AIC songs.
  • Nick from Browns Country, Ohsuch a beautiful song by a great band, many memories of this song from younger years
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