Seattle grunge pioneer Mark Lanegan dies at 57

Mark Lanegan with Screaming Trees in 1992. (Photo: Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

Mark Lanegan – best known as the brooding, booming-voiced, Grammy-nominated leader of the Simple-Popular ’90s Seattle grunge band Screaming Trees have died, according to a statement from their publicist, Keith Hagan.

“Our beloved friend Mark Lanegan passed away this morning at his home in Killarney, Ireland,” the statement read on Tuesday afternoon. “A beloved singer, songwriter, author and musician, he was 57 and is survived by his wife Shelley. No further information is available at this time. The family asks everyone to respect their privacy at this time. moment.

Mark William Lanegan was born in Ellensburg, Washington on November 25, 1964, and in 1984 he formed Screaming Trees, originally playing drums in the lineup before moving to lead vocals. Alongside Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Mudhoney, Screaming Trees became one of the leading figures of the early ’90s Pacific Northwest scene – eventually breaking into the mainstream with their fifth album (and his debut on a major label), the years 1991. Uncle Anesthesia, produced by Chris Cornell of Soundgarden. When their song “Nearly Lost You” was featured on Cameron Crowe Simple a year later, it was a modern rock hit, peaking at No. 5 on Billboard’s Alternative Airplay chart and No. 12 on the Mainstream Rock chart.

Throughout his career, before and after the Screaming Trees split in 2000, Lanegan released 11 solo albums, including his 1990 debut, The winding sheet, which featured collaborations with Kurt Cobain and Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic and was declared by Dave Grohl to be “one of the greatest albums of all time”. In the early days of the grunge scene, Lanegan also worked on a short-lived and little-heard tribute band to Leadbelly called the Jury with Cobain and Novoselic, and he was in general a highly sought-after and prolific collaborator due to his distinctly resonant baritone.

Lanegan appeared on Above by Mad Season (a supergroup featuring Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready); several Queens of the Stone Age albums, which he eventually joined as a full-time member; three duet albums with Isobel Campbell of Belle & Sebastian, one of which was nominated for Britain’s prestigious Mercury Prize; a unique collaborative disc with Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs billed as the Gutter Twins; and another duo project, Dark Mark vs. Skeleton Joe, with former Icarus Line member Joe Cardamone. Lanegan has also collaborated with Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, PJ Harvey. Melissa Auf der Maur, bassist for Hole/Smashing Pumpkins, Moby, Soulsavers, Tinariwen, Manic Street Preachers, UNKLE, Warpaint, Massive Attack, Martina Topley-Bird, Neko Case and many more.

Mark Lanegan in 2019. (Photo: Jordi Vidal/WireImage)

Mark Lanegan in 2019. (Photo: Jordi Vidal/WireImage)

Lanegan also co-wrote the theme song for Anthony Bourdain: parts unknown with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, and wrote Bourdain’s obituary for Bourdain for The Observer in 2018; it would be Bourdain who encouraged him to write a memoir. In 2017, Lanegan released the lyrics anthology I am the wolf: lyrics and textsand in 2020 he publishes his first memoirs, Since back and cry. He followed this book in 2021 with a second memoir, Devil in a comawho recounted his experience with severe COVID-19.

No cause of Lanegan’s death has been given at press time. While the singer battled a serious addiction to alcohol and drugs in the 90s and early 2000s (in 1992, his arm actually became so infected from heroin use that ‘nearly had an amputation), he had been sober since at least 2010, after his friend Courtney Love paid for a year of rehab which he says saved his life. In March 2021, Lanegan was hospitalized with a near-fatal case of COVID-19, which put him in a coma and temporarily deprived him of the ability to hear or walk, but he had apparently recovered from the virus.

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