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Mark Lanegan, Screaming Trees Lead Singer, Dies at 57

Frontman of the ’90s grunge rock band also was a member of Queens of the Stone Age and The Gutter Twins

Mark Lanegan, the lead singer of the ’90s hard rock and grunge band Screaming Trees, has died. He was 57.

His death was announced via his Twitter page Tuesday. He died in his home in Killarney, Ireland, and is survived by his wife Shelley. His cause of death was not provided.

Lanegan in addition to his work with Screaming Trees was also briefly a member of Queens of the Stone Age and Lanegan’s duo with Greg Dulli, The Gutter Twins, which was also a collaboration with Isobel Campbell of Belle & Sebastian.

Known for his deep baritone and scratchy delivery, Lanegan and Screaming Trees formed in the ’80s in Washington and came up alongside many other Seattle grunge acts, but the band relied on ’60s psychedelia and garage rock rather than other punk influences of their peers. Screaming Trees were notorious for their infighting, drinking and other literal fighting that led to the band breaking up several times. But the band’s following endured well into the ’90s and produced seven studio albums and a Top 10 rock charts hit.

Lanegan formed Screaming Trees with brothers Van Conner and Gary Lee Conner in the mid-80s, borrowing the band’s name from a guitar distortion pedal, and they made their major label debut on Epic by the end of 1990 with an album co-produced by Chris Cornell of Soundgarden. The band’s first mega hit was “Nearly Lost You,” which was a contribution to the “Singles” soundtrack that has become a ’90s grunge staple, and they would follow that up some time later with the single “All I Know” from their acclaimed album “Dust.”

But while Lanegan’s commercial success is tied to the grunge movement, he along with Kurt Cobain was deeply fascinated with the poetry of vintage blues. And following his darker and quieter 1994 debut solo album “Whiskey for the Holy Ghost,” Lanegan would carve out a niche across nearly a dozen different solo albums, his most recent release “Straight Songs of Sorrow” dropping in 2020.

Lanegan was also an on-again, off-again contributor and member of Queens of the Stone Age, appearing on “Rated R” and “Lullabies to Paralyze” but most notably “Songs for the Deaf,” for which he sang lead vocals on the tracks “Song for the Dead,” “Hangin’ Tree,” “Song for the Deaf,” and “God Is in the Radio.” Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme had served as a touring guitarist for Screaming Trees in the late ’90s, and they would reunite on “…Like Clockwork,” the band’s sixth album from 2013.

Lanegan released two memoirs, one in 2020 titled “Sing Backwards and Weep” that explored the singer’s “dark period” of his life and delved into his battles with drug addiction and substance abuse. And he would release another memoir in 2021 called “Devil in a Coma” that details Lanegan’s scary battle after contracting COVID-19 and slipping into a coma.

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