Remembering Mark Lanegan

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Credit score: Steven J. Messina

February 22, 2023, marks one 12 months because the passing of one in every of rock’s all-time nice vocalists, Mark Lanegan – who whereas most likely greatest recognized for his contributions to the Screaming Bushes and Queens of the Stone Age, issued numerous excellent recordings as both a solo artist or as a collaborator or visitor with others.

To pay tribute to the singer, I assembled the ebook Lanegan, for which I carried out over 20 interviews with musicians and/or admirers that labored alongside Mark in some capability over time. Beneath are unique excerpts from the ebook, which deal with the creation of 10 of Mark’s greatest albums, spanning 1990-2014.


The Winding Sheet (Mark Lanegan, 1990)

MIKE JOHNSON [Mark Lanegan guitarist, ex-Dinosaur Jr. bassist, solo artist]: He had been engaged on stuff with Kurt [Cobain] – he was going to do this Lead Stomach report that I am positive you heard about [a project reportedly called the Jury, featuring Mark, Kurt, Krist Novoselic on bass, and Mark Pickerel on drums]. I believe he modified his thoughts or he needed to do one thing else – he had this concept of doing an precise solo report [The Winding Sheet], and that is once I acquired a telephone name.

And he and I talked to one another semi-regularly and wrote letters to one another, despatched tapes. He was like, “Hey man, would you be enthusiastic about making this report with me? I’ve acquired a solo album.” I used to be like, “The place do I join?!” He despatched me a tape of those demos that he had, that have been all fairly easy three-chord songs – with actually cool melodies and phrases.

So, I drove up from Eugene to Seattle. First, we four-tracked the songs – the entire a part of writing intros and any center break sort stuff. Then, we went into the studio like, a month later – with Jack and Pickerel. We will need to have practiced with Pickerel, however I do not keep in mind. However anyway, it was actually fast. It was like, three days – simply within the studio, laid down the stuff. First, I believe we did the tracks that Pickerel performed on, band tracks, the fundamentals, the acoustics with Mark doing information vocals. So, it was actually quick and easy.

The story I’d at all times inform is, “The primary album was three days…and the second album was three years.” The Winding Sheet was all very new to me – it was the primary skilled album I had something to do with. I might solely recorded singles and tapes with my band. And song-wise, I keep in mind placing probably the most effort into “Mockingbirds” and “Ugly Sunday.” I keep in mind Steve Fisk telling me in regards to the piano half I needed to play on “Mockingbirds” – “Dude…that is going to sound like Bob Seger.” And I am like, “No, it isn’t!” Which it did not. I do not suppose I used to be there when he did the vocals. I believe he and Jack did the vocals.


Candy Oblivion (Screaming Bushes, 1992)

GARY LEE CONNER [Screaming Trees guitarist]: The factor about Candy Oblivion, the issue with the collaboration is we might have all these songs, however quite a lot of them have been solely half-finished lyrically. As a result of often once I did a track, I might end the lyrics, after which Mark would simply take them and alter them up. However as a substitute, he was singing stuff however with out lyrics – dumb traces or joke traces.

So, after we have been within the studio, half or a minimum of a 3rd of the songs did not have all of the lyrics – or generally, even titles. We might simply have “Van’s Music” and stuff like that. Mark would by no means inform me, “These are the lyrics I’ve.” He’d simply sing them after which we might discover out what they have been. After about two weeks, we have been able to do the vocals, and so they kicked us out of the studio.

However a few days or three days earlier than, Lanegan had gone lacking in New York on a drunken odyssey of God is aware of what occurred. He was gone for 3 days, and when he got here again, he was so fuckin’ massively hung over. And if he would not sing all of the stuff and have all of the lyrics, the album’s delayed. We have been a bit of apprehensive, to say the least.

I went to remain at my girlfriend’s – now spouse – as a result of she lived in Upstate New York, and Van and Barrett most likely stayed in a resort. Three days later, Lanegan got here again and gave us a tape, and we’re simply floored. We have been like, “Oh my God. That is superb.”


Whiskey for the Holy Ghost (Mark Lanegan, 1994)

JACK ENDINO [producer/mixer]: Mark began Whiskey for the Holy Ghost with Terry Date – if I keep in mind proper – and acquired some songs recorded, acquired partway into it, did not end something. After which somebody could have labored on it in there – I believe Ed Brooks. In some unspecified time in the future, he introduced the two-inch tapes to me, we did extra work on it, and we tried to complete the report. I believe I labored on it a number of occasions.

However I discovered myself working with him at Bear Creek Studio at one level and I solely tracked a number of songs on that report, myself – most of them have been overdubs I used to be engaged on. Which, largely would have been vocals. There could have been some visitor musicians, too.

However we tracked “The River Rise” at Reciprocal and we tracked a number of different songs. After which, the remainder of it was redoing the vocals on these different songs and including overdubs to those different songs that he had already recorded with Terry Date or Ed Brooks. And there have been many songs on fairly a number of reels. There was much more materials that we labored on than what ended up on the album.

And the issue that I had was that Mark was having a “sophomore jinx.” Which meant that he was his personal worst critic of all the pieces he was doing – which meant that no vocal observe would fulfill him, no efficiency of himself would fulfill him. He was very self-critical. By comparability, The Winding Sheet took I believe only a matter of days to report and blend. I maintain pondering six or seven days – it might have been much less, it might have been extra.

But it surely went very painlessly and really fast. It was sort of magic, really. I even ended up taking part in bass on about half the report. However Whiskey took a few years, and as I mentioned, I believe 4 completely different producers. Lastly, John Agnello is the one who ended up bringing it over the end line and mixing it.


Area Songs (Mark Lanegan, 2001)

JOHN AGNELLO [producer/mixer]: Area Songs was the one which I began with them, and having Ben Shepherd from Soundgarden play bass, Mike Johnson play guitar, and Dan Peters from Mudhoney performed drums. It was a lot enjoyable. However once more, controversial – Ben Shepherd acquired actually mad at one level, as a result of he could not get an element proper, and he threw his bass and he was spitting. I needed to sort of calm him down.

I believe he referred to me as both “coach” or “sergeant.” Like, “Hey coach, what do you wish to do now?” He was super-nice – in actual fact, in the midst of all this shit, he principally acquired me a resort, as a result of he felt unhealthy that I used to be staying on the studio and he felt that I wanted to get out of there. So he simply booked me a resort for 2 days. It was so good of him to pay for it.


Songs for the Deaf (Queens of the Stone Age, 2002)

NICK OLIVERI [ex-Queens of the Stone Age singer/bassist]: Josh is basically sensible, however he was extremely sensible again then when he produced the report. He put the proper individuals in place to be on it and to be within the band, and to share the entrance highlight with one other frontman was a key to that band’s success. Having the ability to put your ego down and share the stage with these guys, Dave and Mark. It is actually a cause why this report is particular – as a result of there are completely different frontmen on it. And Dave on the drums is “a frontman.” He hadn’t performed drums on a report shortly, so Josh was a wise man to place these individuals in place that actually made the band particular.

There was a lot happening at the moment, as a result of we had been writing the stuff, and exhibiting Dave songs that have been already able to go, after which him penning this superb drum half for it after which we might go and report it. I keep in mind quite a lot of it was engaged on the music stuff, after which the vocals got here after that. On “Music for the Lifeless,” Mark sings it so uncooked, so tough, and so good. It actually is a good efficiency on that one – he is actually laying into it.

The deep voice factor isn’t at all times simple to sing at excessive quantity – so far as I do know. However he was a extremely highly effective singer, with that low growl. And he had some highs in his voice, too – which he did not use as a lot as he did working with a number of the earlier recordings. There’s some stuff on Whiskey for the Holy Ghost the place he is singing some greater pitch stuff. So, he had nice vary.


Bubblegum (Mark Lanegan Band, 2004)

ALDO STRUYF [Mark Lanegan bassist]: Bubblegum was the primary time I labored with him. I went to the studio in Joshua Tree, Rancho de la Luna. I used to be on the airplane on Christmas Eve [Aldo is from Belgium], so there was no person on the airplane – apart from ten individuals. So, it began actually bizarre for me. I arrived and his supervisor drove me to Joshua Tree, and so they have been ready for me there – with a bottle of tequila and a few weed!

A few songs have been already recorded – or a minimum of components of it – however I used to be there with Mark, Chris Goss, Josh Homme, Dave Catching, and likewise a woman that performed bass on some songs and sang a bit of bit [Molly McGuire]. After which an increasing number of individuals came to visit, and I observed I did not produce that a lot stuff – as a result of I used to be a bit intimidated by all people that was there.

After which that second day within the night, he mentioned, “OK. Everyone can go house now and keep house for 3 days – as a result of now, we’ll report with Aldo.” He despatched all people house, after which we labored for a few days on 9 or ten songs. That was stunning that he despatched Josh Homme house – to work with me. I labored on a track that PJ Harvey had sung on, and different individuals I admired – Dean Ween from Ween. And I am a giant Ween fan – I’ve a Ween tattoo on my again.

The songs have been so good – and there have been some lovely songs that did not get on the album, as a result of he mentioned, “An excessive amount of ‘Nirvana’ songs. Let’s drop it.” But it surely wasn’t a Nirvana track and it was nice. There was quite a lot of lovely stuff being recorded by lovely individuals and nice musicians.


Hawk (Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, 2010)

JEFF FIELDER [Mark Lanegan guitarist]: As soon as we began working [on Hawk, the third album credited to Mark and Isobel Campbell], it was actually one thing. It was simply the three of us. And I used to be curious to see the way it was going to prove. However I want I had tapes of these authentic issues, as a result of all my components acquired edited to suit a “complete band combine.”

However all of the acoustic guitar on that report is me – and there is a few electrical issues. However largely, the entire acoustic rhythm stuff, we did simply then and there. And the band was placed on later in Scotland. And we did a bunch of tunes – we did that and two extra over the course of the week. I believe we ended up with about seven tracks by the top of the week. After which she did the remainder of it together with her guys again in Scotland. After which that was carried out, and we did not discuss a lot – me and Mark. We simply did the factor after which he cut up. After which stepping into 2010, I simply principally wrote it off as, “That was a cool expertise.”


Blues Funeral (Mark Lanegan Band, 2012)

ALAIN JOHANNES [producer, Eleven singer/guitarist]: Blues Funeral was the identical sort of concept [as Bubblegum] – “The Gravedigger’s Music” is simply me and him taking part in all of the devices. And we invited Jack Irons, who was in Eleven with me and was the primary Chili Peppers drummer. So, Jack performed, Goss got here down, Duke Garwood would ship stuff from abroad, Dave Catching got here in, Dulli…it turned this revolving door of buddies. That was the template – that, Phantom Radio, and Gargoyle, we did on the home [11AD]. After which I moved out, and we did Any individual’s Knocking and Straight Songs of Sorrow at his place. I principally took a mini model of my studio and set it up in his storage.


Darkish Mark Does Christmas (Mark Lanegan, 2012 and 2020)

ALAIN JOHANNES: The unique model of Darkish Mark Does Christmas, he simply made vinyl that he bought on tour. The primary model got here out in 2012 – we did six songs – after which he added to it in 2020. So, in 2012, I’d say it was after Blues Funeral that we did it – as a result of I believe he took it out on the street for that Christmas of 2012. He simply made restricted vinyl.

It is super-raw – it is simply his voice and an instrument or two. After which the 2020 model, he requested me to remix it and remaster it, and he added three songs to it. I acquired caught and I could not get house – I went to Chile after I acquired Covid to play Lollapalooza, and so they locked us down and my flights acquired cancelled. I used to be there for six months.


Phantom Radio (Mark Lanegan Band, 2014)

ALDO STRUYF: For [2014’s] Phantom Radio album, I did not do this a lot. In a method, Mark was actually OK with working with Alain. I keep in mind for that album I used to be feeling a bit down. At some point, we talked on the telephone, and I instructed Mark that, and he mentioned, “Wait man, I will ebook you a flight.” It wasn’t the intention I believe – to play on the album. As a result of I used to be additionally dwelling in Belgium and a flight to the States is pricey.

And he mentioned, “Come over and we’ll report a brand new album. Set your thoughts to one thing else and have a superb time.” And once more, I performed on a number of songs. Mark was altering the vibe of the album a bit of bit – he was listening extra to new wave music, like Pleasure Division and all these bands. For me, it was the primary develop into going extra digital, extra danceable music. He actually needed extra digital stuff to be on the album – and naturally, that was enjoyable to do. However Alain did a lot of the stuff.




Lanegan by Greg Prato


Greg Prato is a longtime AllMusic contributor. Lanegan is his thirty ninth ebook general, and is offered as paperback, hardcover, and Kindle variations (and shortly, an audio model).

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