Rainier Fog is Alice in Chain's third album with William DuVall as lead vocalist, sharing vocals duties with Jerry Cantrell. It's also the band's first album in 22 years to be recorded in their hometown of Seattle. The album was partially recorded at Seattle's Studio X, the studio they used for their third and last album with the late Layne Staley. Jerry Cantrell explained to UK newspaper The Sun that the decision to return to Studio X came from a discussion he had with the band's drummer Sean Kinney.
"Basically, we heard it was likely to be shutting up shop soon. It wasn't because of the parallels with recording William's third album with us exactly where we did Layne's third album back in 1995.
We realized that later, and it was like, woah! We thought memories of Layne would come flooding back in there but once we opened the door it was just a matter of going to work, man."
The studio's past did influence William DuVall and he revealed in an interview with Kerrang! that "Never Fade" was inspired by his grandmother, the late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, and Layne Staley. DuVall explained:
"I think there was some residue from the past lingering, but the ghosts were benevolent, they were there to help, not hinder. I wrote the lyrics to the song 'Never Fade' right there in Studio X. I thought, 'I'm not leaving this room until I chase this song down.' I sang about the history, all the songs that had been written, all the arguments among bands and discussions about the future."
The song's music video is a continuation of the one for "The One You Know." Both clips were directed by Adam Mason (Cradle of Filth, Within Temptation, Dragonforce).
"Cleveland Rocks" was written by an Englishman. Ian Hunter wrote the song after touring America in the late '70s and finding that Cleveland was by far the most receptive city to his brand of Glam Rock.