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Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan dead at 57


Mark Lanegan, the influential singer-songwriter who logged time in legendary bands like Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age, has passed away at the age of 57. No immediate cause of death was revealed.

“Our beloved friend Mark Lanegan passed away this morning at his home in Killarney, Ireland,” a post to his Twitter account read. “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.”

Lanegan was instrumental in the establishment of Seattle as the centre of the grunge boom in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He formed Screaming Trees in late 1984 with guitarist Gary Lee Conner, bassist Van Conner, and drummer Mark Pickerel. The core of Lanegan and the Conner brothers stayed together for 15 years, eventually breaking up in 2000. During the band’s final tours, guitarist Josh Homme joined the band for live performances.

Following Screaming Trees’ breakup, Homme extended an invitation for Lanegan to join Queens of the Stone Age. Lanegan was the featured lead vocalist on tracks like ‘I Think I Lost My Headache’, ‘Song for the Dead’, and ‘This Lullaby’ along with co-writing some of the band’s songs like ‘No One Knows’ and ‘Tangled Up in Plaid’. Lanegan left the band in 2005 but made occasional contributions to the band’s subsequent albums, including 2007’s Era Vulgaris and 2013’s …Like Clockwork. All told, Lanegan recorded five albums with Queens of the Stone Age.

Lanegan started a solo career while he was still in Screaming Trees, releasing his debut solo album The Winding Sheet in 1990. Featuring acoustic instrumentation and folk influences, the album proved to be massively influential on Kurt Cobain as he was assembling the setlist and arrangements for Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged performance. Cobain based the band’s version of Lead Belly’s ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night?’ on Lanegan’s own version of the song.

Later in his career, Lanegan also formed collaborations with Afghan Whigs guitarist/vocalist Greg Dulli as The Gutter Twins, appeared on albums from acts including Soulsavers and The Twilight Singers, and continued to release solo material. His final album, a collaboration with Skeleton Joe entitled Dark Mark vs. Skeleton Joe, was released in October of 2021. Lanegan released twelve solo studio albums, but his contributions to the work of other artists number in the hundreds.

In early 2021, Lanegan contracted Covid and nearly died from the virus, slipping into a coma and temporarily losing his ability to hear as a result. It is unknown whether the lingering effects of the virus contributed to his death.