Seattle grunge legends Alice in Chains are making good progress on their upcoming album, according to longtime friend Ann Wilson of Heart.

In a conversation yesterday with Ultimate Classic Rock, Wilson mentioned that she had visited Alice in Chains this weekend at the recording studio where they're working on their new album, which currently does not have a title and is reportedly set for release in late 2011 or early 2012.

Wilson says that the band sounds "amazing" on the new material and enthused about guitarist Jerry Cantrell and the band, saying, "How can Jerry not sound amazing, but I mean, it really does - they're a monster."

We talked with Wilson about her previous collaboration with Alice in Chains on the band's 1992 EP release 'Sap,' on which she is featured prominently on background vocals on the songs 'Brother' and 'Am I Inside.'

An excerpt from our conversation follows:

You guys played an interesting role in the development of the new Seattle music scene in the '90s. One of my favorite musical discoveries was bringing home the 'Sap' EP by Alice in Chains and discovering that you were on it. It has such a wonderfully organic feel - how did that collaboration come about?

Well, it came about from just us all hanging out together in social situations. In Seattle, it's a pretty tight music scene, especially in those years. We'd all show up at each others gigs and then come back to usually my house, because my house is central. We'd hang out and I just got to know the Alice guys, especially Jerry the most at first.

We'd all be sitting on the kitchen counter, drinking beers and smoking ciggies and stuff. And then pretty soon, they were working and they had this song that needed a high voice and they wanted a woman, but not just anybody.

So they asked me and it was really fun --  it was like crossing over some kind of taboo line, you know, because we were considered to be an '80s band, but we weren't -- we were really just a band. I'm just the singer, I can go anywhere and sing. It was really great. I saw those guys just yesterday. I went over to visit them in the studio where they were working on some new stuff – they sound amazing! How can Jerry not sound amazing, but I mean, it really does – they're a monster.

It just has a great “weekend recording” feeling to it – it feels loose in a good way.

Yeah, totally loose. I didn't really learn the song, I just went there and they said “well, let's try this.” Layne was around and it was great.

Our full conversation with Ann Wilson, featuring discussion of new Heart material currently in the works as well as the circumstances behind her appearance on the new Sly Stone album, will be online soon. Heart is on the road with Def Leppard this summer, although a number of dates have been postponed or rescheduled due to the recent death of Joe Elliott's father.

Watch Heart Perform 'WTF'

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