Mark Lanegan, Screaming Trees singer, dies at 57 | Mark Lanegan
Mark Lanegan, a musician, has passed away at the age 57.
This singer, songwriter, and musician is best known for being the lead vocalist of Screaming Trees.
“Our beloved friend Mark Lanegan passed away this morning at his home in Killarney, Ireland,” read a statement posted to his Twitter account. “A beloved singer, songwriter, author and musician he was 57 and is survived by his wife Shelley. At this moment, no other information is available. The family asks everyone to respect their privacy at this time.”
American singer, who was born in rural Washington State, survived a battle with Covid-19 which put him in a coma that lasted for months. His memoir Devil in a Coma was published last December. It detailed his painful near-death experience that included a Covid-induced slip that fractured his ribs, and a hospital stay filled with recurring hallucinations.
“More and more this was reminiscent of an unending stretch in county jail that I couldn’t shake, with my trial date being intentionally undetermined, constantly moved around just to keep me inside,” he wrote in an excerpt published in the Guardian. “Whatever was in this shitwagon I’d caught a ride on, it was no fucking joke. I’d taken my share of well-deserved ass-kickings over the years but this thing was trying to dismantle me, body and mind, and I could see no end to it in sight.”
Once a long-time drug user and friend of Kurt Cobain, Jeffrey Lee Pierce of the Gun Club, and Alice in Chains’s Layne Staley – all of which he detailed in his 2020 memoir Sing Backwards and Weep – Lanegan was called “rock’s great survivor”.
By 12, according to his memoir, he was a “compulsive gambler, a fledgling alcoholic, a thief, a porno fiend”. He had a long criminal history, including shoplifting and breaking and entering, vandalism and insurance fraud, and 26 counts underage drinking. “I wanted excitement, adventure, decadence, depravity, anything, everything,” he wrote in Sing Backwards and Weeps. Lanegan was clean for over a decade by the time of Lanegan’s death.
In 1985, at age 21, Lanegan was working for a video store in his hometown of Ellensburg, Washingston – what he described as a “dusty, isolated cow town” – when he formed a band with his boss’s sons, guitarist Gary Lee Conner and bassist Van Conner.
Before their split in 2000, The Screaming Trees would record seven studio albums and rise to fame as part the grunge movement that was centered around Seattle in the early 1990s. (An eighth album, Last Words: The Final Recordings, which was recorded in 1998-1999, was released by drummer Barrett Martin’s label in 2011.)
Lanegan also embarked on a solo career during the peak of the band’s fame. His 1990 solo debut The Winding Sheet included appearances from Cobain and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, and numerous grunge figures appeared on subsequent releases Whiskey for the Holy Ghost, Scraps at Midnight and the collection of covers I’ll Take Care of You.
Langean wrote his memoir 2020 at the encouragement of Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain was a celebrity chef and television host who committed suicide in 2018. Lanegan wrote an obituary in the Observer for Bourdain.
“Anthony said, ‘There needs be a level of honesty beyond what you’ll be comfortable with for it not to be some crappy rock autobiography,’” Lanegan told the Guardian in 2020. “That was the last thing I wanted to do, ever. This might sound ridiculous, but if it’s not literature, I didn’t want to do it.”
In the wake of Lanegan’s death, many musicians, including those from the rock scene, made tribute to Lanegan.
“Mark Lanegan rest easy mate. A real singer,” tweeted British post-punk duo Sleaford Mods. “Oh no. It’s terrible to hear that Mark Lanegan has passed away. Safe travels man – you’ll be missed,” tweetedTim Burgess is a musician from the Charlatans.
“I am in absolute shock, a very beautiful soul has left this world. I love you brother,” tweetedAnton Newcombe, a friend of Anton Newcombe and fellow musician.
David Michael Gough, an English musician, uses the stage name Badly Drawn Boy. tweeted that news of Lanegan’s death “properly stopped me in my tracks. I’m absolutely gutted. I had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions. I was so in love with him that I was anxious to meet him again. He was a great gentleman and was very kind. One of THE great singers of the last 30 years.”
Lanegan was “a supremely gifted performer, songwriter, artist and author, and we are devastated to hear he has passed away,” his UK publishing house, White Rabbit Books, said in a statement postedTweet. “His art will endure and only grow in stature.”
Shelley Brien is Lanegan’s second spouse.