Nick Cave pays moving tribute to “beautiful soul” Mark Lanegan

"We engaged in some extremely dubious escapades back in the ’90s"

Nick Cave has shared an emotional tribute to grunge icon Mark Lanegan, who died earlier this week aged 57.

Lanegan – known as the former frontman of The Screaming Trees and for his work with Queens Of The Stone Age, among other bands – passed away at his home in Killarney, Ireland on Tuesday morning (February 22).

In a statement, the late musician’s family asked fans to respect their privacy at this difficult time. A cause of death is not yet known.

The news of Lanegan’s passing prompted a huge wave of tributes on social media from the likes of Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, Manic Street Preachers, Tim Burgess and Sleaford Mods.

Now, Nick Cave – who performed and collaborated with Lanegan on numerous occasions – has published a new entry to his Red Hand Files site in which he recalled his memories of the artist.

He wrote: “I encountered Mark many times over the years — we engaged in some extremely dubious escapades back in the ’90s; he sang ‘White Light/White Heat’ and ‘Fire and Brimstone’ with Warren [Ellis] and me on the Lawless soundtrack; he recorded my favourite ever Nick Cave cover — an astonishing version of ‘Brompton Oratory’; we did something together for the Jeffrey Lee Pierce record, I think; and he toured and hung out with us on The Bad Seeds’ 2013 Australian tour.

“Go online and watch Mark sing Blixa’s ‘father’ part with me in ‘The Weeping Song’ on that tour.” (You can watch the performance in question above).

Cave continued: “As a frontman, I move around a lot on stage, I can’t help it, it is a habitual nervous thing, a kind of neurotic compensation for a voice I have never felt that comfortable with.

“But watch Mark, watch how he walks onto the stage, plants himself at the mic stand, one tattooed fist halfway down the stand, the other resting on top of the mic, immobile, massive, male. When the time comes to sing, he simply opens his mouth and releases a blues, a blues lived deeply and utterly earned, and that voice tears right through you, his sheer force on stage absolutely humbling.”

Cave concluded: “A greatness, Mark, a greatness — a true singer, a superb writer and beautiful soul, loved by all. Love Nick.”

Writing on Twitter upon the announcement of Lanegan’s death this week, Cave’s longtime collaborator Warren Ellis said: “Mark wherever you are I hope you hear the tears. True gentleman. One of the great voices. Love to your loved ones. Warren x.”

Lanegan’s 12th solo album, ‘Straight Songs Of Sorrow’, came out in 2020 and served as a companion to his far-reaching memoir, Sing Backwards And Weep. In a four-star review, NME described the record as being “open and viscerally honest” while containing “music that salves the soul”.

Back in December 2021, Lanegan released another memoir, Devil In A Coma. In the book, the musician detailed his near-death experience from COVID via prose and poetry that he wrote while he was ill with the virus.

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