Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age Dies at 57

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Feb 22, 2022

Mark Lanegan — the American singer-songwriter, author and musician known best for his work as a solo artist and with Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age, the Gutter Twins, Mark Lanegan Band and many more — has died. Lanegan's family confirmed his passing in a statement shared through social media, though a cause of death was not revealed. He was 57.

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

Following the news, scores of Lanegan's friends, collaborators and contemporaries have shared messages of tribute. John Cale of the Velvet Underground wrote, "I can't process this. Mark Lanegan will always be etched in my heart — as he surely touched so many with his genuine self, no matter the cost, true to the end."

Former New Order bassist Peter Hook shared in a respective tribute, "Mark Lanegan was a lovely man. He led a wild life that some of us could only dream of. He leaves us with fantastic words and music! Thank god that through all of that he will live forever. RIP Mark. Sleep well."

Lamb of God's Mark Morton recalled of his late friend, "Few artists ever achieve the level of honesty & authenticity that he did. He was absolutely brilliant." Iggy Pop shared, "Mark Lanegan, RIP, deepest respect for you. Your fan, Iggy Pop."

Born in Ellensburg, WA, in 1964, Lanegan would claim in 2020 memoir Sing Backwards and Weep that at age 12 he was "reviled as the town drunk before I could even legally drink." His younger years were reportedly spent as a "compulsive gambler, a fledgling alcoholic, a thief, a porno fiend," and as he details in the memoir, his criminal record by age 18 included breaking and entering, shoplifting, drug possession, vandalism and insurance fraud.

In 1984, Lanegan formed proto-grunge group Screaming Trees with guitarist Gary Lee Conner, bassist Van Conner and drummer Mark Pickerel. The band would release debut EP Other Worlds in 1985, which they would follow with 1986 full-length debut Clairvoyance. Both efforts, released via Velvetone Records, would soon earn Screaming Trees a contract with SST Records.

Screaming Trees would release three albums with SST — 1987's Even If and Especially When, 1988's Invisible Lantern and 1989's Buzz Factory — before making their major label debut with 1991's Uncle Anesthesia, released via Epic Records and produced by Terry Date and Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell. 1992 follow-up Sweet Oblivion remains Screaming Trees' biggest success, sporting their biggest hit, ""Nearly Lost You."

1996's Dust, the band's seventh studio LP, would ultimately be Screaming Trees' last. The album featured contributions from Pearl Jam's Mike McCready and Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, while former Kyuss and future Queens of the Stone Age leader Josh Homme would join Screaming Trees as a touring guitarist for live performances behind the LP. Though recording for an eighth LP was underway in 1998 and 1999, Screaming Trees would officially disband in 2000, leaving that material to be released as Last Words: The Final Recordings in 2011.

The new millennium would see Lanegan and Homme come together again with the former's appearance on Queens of the Stone Age's sophomore LP Rated R. He would soon join Homme's band full-time, singing on their revered 2002 album Songs for the Deaf and 2005 follow-up Lullabies to Paralyze. While he was not a full-time QOTSA member past 2005, Lanegan would lend vocals to the 2007's Era Vulgaris and 2013's ...Like Clockwork.

Over the course of his career, Lanegan released 12 solo studio albums, beginning with 1990's The Winding Sheet. A 10-year period between 1994 and 2004 saw him deliver five full-lengths: Whiskey for the Holy Ghost (1994), Scraps at Midnight (1998), I'll Take Care of You (1999), Field Songs (2001) and Bubblegum (2004). Released as Mark Lanegan Band, Bubblegum saw the artist collaborate with Homme and then-QOTSA bassist Nick Oliveri, PJ Harvey, Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs, and Duff McKagan and Izzy Stradlin of Guns N' Roses. Lanegan delivered his final solo LP Straight Songs of Sorrow in 2020.

Additional collaborations from Lanegan include a 2008 debut with Dulli as the Gutter Twins, and a trio of collaborative albums with Isobel Campbell of Belle & Sebastian: Ballad of the Broken Seas (2006), Sunday at Devil Dirt (2008) and Hawk (2010). Alongside multi-instrumentalist Duke Garwood, he released 2013's Black Pudding and 2018's With Animals. Last October, he teamed with Joe Cardamon (The Icarus Line) for Dark Mark Vs. Skeleton Joe.

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