Grunge icon Mark Lanegan has died, aged 57

"A beloved singer, songwriter, author and musician"

Grunge icon Mark Lanegan has died, aged 57.

The news was confirmed with a post on his official Twitter account page. It read: “Our beloved friend Mark Lanegan passed away this morning at his home in Killarney, Ireland.

“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.

“We ask Please respect the family privacy.”

Lanegan was the frontman with The Screaming Trees from 1985-2000 and was also known for his work with bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Mad Season, The Gutter Twins and for his many numerous collaborations.

One of his most recent of these was with the Manic Street Preachers on their last album, ‘The Ultra Vivid Lament.’ Lanegan had kept in contact with the Manics following their joint support slot with Oasis on their chaotic 1996 US tour.

Speaking to NME last year, the Manics’ James Dean Bradfield fondly remembered The Screaming Trees for their “bitter edge”, adding that “there was as much tension within their band as they were turning out unto the world. I like it when you see a band and it’s as if they’re almost falling apart on stage. We’ve been that band sometimes too.”

Speaking about his work with Lanegan on their last album, Bradfield and drummer Sean Moore said Lanegan was “the only name in mind” for work on their song ‘Blank Diary Entry’.

“I’ve met him a fair few times and have a little bit of a connection,” Bradfield said last year. “I’m five-foot-six and he’s nearly nine-foot tall. It looks a bit like R2D2 and Chewbacca when we walk side by side.”

Tributes for Lanegan have begun to pour in on social media.

Anton Newcombe wrote: “I am in absolute shock, a very beautiful soul has left this world. I love you brother…my deepest condolences to his family and friends,” while Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess added: “Oh no. Terrible news that Mark Lanegan has left us. Safe travels man – you’ll be missed.”

Peter Hook said: “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,” while Rob Delaney added: “I love you Mark Lanegan. A colossal, spectacular body of work.”

The Manic Street Preachers also reacted to the news, saying they were “devastated” and describing the loss as “heartbreaking.”

They continued: “A huge talent on so many levels – such an amazing voice and all those beautiful words.”

You can see some of the many tributes to Lanegan below.

Speaking to NME in a far-ranging interview in 2020, Lanegan reflected on his drug-taking past, getting sober, disagreements with former band members and his famously turbulent time on tour with Liam Gallagher, supporting Oasis.

In the interview, Lanegan also revealed how he was offered a much bigger role in Queens of the Stone Age.

“Josh [Homme] asked me to be the singer in the Queens before they made the first record,” he explained. “This is while the Trees were still supposedly together. I listened to it and thought: ‘I think it’s fantastic, but you need to be the singer of this thing.’”

Lanegan said it also coincided with him going into rehab. “Also, as it turned out,” he continued, “I was institutionalised for almost a year, so I missed out on the opportunity to sing on it.”

Lanegan later played on 2000’s ‘Rated R’ and 2002’s ‘Songs For The Deaf’. He continued: “Josh’s concept of having three singers seemed weird at the time but it was really great. I’m really proud of what we did with ‘Songs For The Deaf’. That line-up with Nick Oliveri, Josh and I was easily the most powerful band I’ve been in, ever.”

Lanegan’s 12th solo album, ‘Straight Songs Of Sorrow’ arrived in 2020 and served as a companion to his far-reaching memoir, Sing Backwards And Weep. NME gave the record a four-star review upon release, with writer Kevin EG Perry praising it as “open and viscerally honest” and “music that salves the soul”.

Mark Lanegan
Mark Lanegan CREDIT: Steve Gullick

Back in December, Lanegan released another memoir, Devil In A Coma.

Publisher Lee Brackstone said of the book: “Devil In A Coma is the latest work by a master of many forms, who has once again made art out of suffering and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Unsparing – of both himself and the world we now find ourselves in – and grotesquely compelling, this book could not be more visceral and intense if it were written in blood.”

In the book, Lanegan detailed his near-death experience from COVID-19 via prose and poetry that he wrote while he was ill with the virus.

According to a press release, Lanegan went completely deaf after contracting coronavirus and, later, suffered cracked ribs and breathing problems. After being rushed to hospital, he spent months in bed, “slipping in and out of a coma” before beginning his recovery.

Last year, Lanegan also unveiled a new project with Joe Cardamone. Their collaborative project, Dark Mark vs. Skeleton Joe, unveiled details of their eponymous debut album.

Lanegan said that Dark Mark vs. Skeleton Joe was born out of his and Cardamone’s wishes to explore beyond the boundaries of the genres they’d previously dabbled in.

“The fact that it’s not like anything either one of us have done before is what makes this so interesting for me,” Lanegan said last year. “When you have done as much stuff as Joe and I, you have to constantly search for the different and challenging to keep yourself engaged.”

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