Call it a comeback of a comeback! After Alice in Chains‘ 2009 effort ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’ landed Grammy nominations and enjoyed healthy sales amid the debut of new singer William Duvall, who replaced the late, great Layne Staley, the band is currently writing new material and working on the follow up. AIC should enter the studio early this year.

“We started writing last year,” guitarist Jerry Cantrell tells Rolling Stone. Cantrell didn’t plan on putting three years in between records, especially given all the momentum surrounding the band. However, a medical malady sidelined him. “I had shoulder surgery, Cantrell revealed. “I had to get some bone spurs and torn cartilage taken care of, so that put me back a little bit.”

Despite the surgery, Cantrell kept busy during the recovery process by writing the entire time.

The much-missed Staley remains on Cantrell’s mind, and the band’s, for that matter. “Layne’s mother’s been doing a show for Layne every year, and we give to that,” the guitarist says about his former bandmate, with whom he created some unforgettable, early ’90s grunge harmonies. “It’s good to remember your people. Life is very temporary, and we will be joining them shortly. Hopefully it’s not too soon, but it’s good. It’s some amazing people that should be remembered.”

This year will mark the 10th anniversary of Staley’s tragic death in 2002.