Credit score: Steven J. Messina
March 22, 2023, marks one 12 months because the passing of certainly one of rock’s all-time nice vocalists, Mark Lanegan – who whereas in all probability greatest recognized for his contributions to the Screaming Timber 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 e book Lanegan, for which I performed over 20 interviews with musicians and/or admirers that labored alongside Mark in some capability over time. Beneath are unique excerpts from the e book, 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 document 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 feel he modified his thoughts or he wished to do one thing else – he had this concept of doing an precise solo document [The Winding Sheet], and that is once I acquired a cellphone 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 interested by making this document 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 had 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 should 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 feel 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 all the time 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 concerning the piano half I wished 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 feel he and Jack did the vocals.
Candy Oblivion (Screaming Timber, 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 lots of them had been solely half-finished lyrically. As a result of normally once I did a track, I might end the lyrics, after which Mark would simply take them and alter them up. However as an alternative, he was singing stuff however with out lyrics – dumb strains or joke strains.
So, after we had been within the studio, half or no less than a 3rd of the songs did not have all of the lyrics – or generally, even titles. We would simply have “Van’s Track” 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 had been. After about two weeks, we had been able to do the vocals, they usually 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 had 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 in all probability stayed in a resort. Three days later, Lanegan got here again and gave us a tape, and we’re simply floored. We had 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 might have labored on it in there – I feel Ed Brooks. Sooner or later, he introduced the two-inch tapes to me, we did extra work on it, and we tried to complete the document. I feel I labored on it a number of instances.
However I discovered myself working with him at Bear Creek Studio at one level and I solely tracked a number of songs on that document, myself – most of them had been overdubs I used to be engaged on. Which, principally would have been vocals. There might 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 things he was doing – which meant that no vocal monitor would fulfill him, no efficiency of himself would fulfill him. He was very self-critical. By comparability, The Winding Sheet took I feel only a matter of days to document and blend. I maintain considering six or seven days – it could have been much less, it could have been extra.
However it went very painlessly and really fast. It was type of magic, truly. I even ended up taking part in bass on about half the document. However Whiskey took a few years, and as I stated, I feel 4 completely different producers. Lastly, John Agnello is the one who ended up bringing it over the end line and mixing it.
Discipline Songs (Mark Lanegan, 2001)
JOHN AGNELLO [producer/mixer]: Discipline 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 type of calm him down.
I feel he referred to me as both “coach” or “sergeant.” Like, “Hey coach, what do you need to do now?” He was super-nice – the truth is, in the course of all this shit, he mainly 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 admittedly sensible, however he was extremely sensible again then when he produced the document. He put the best 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. With the ability to put your ego down and share the stage with these guys, Dave and Mark. It is actually a purpose why this document 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 document shortly, so Josh was a sensible man to place these individuals in place that basically 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 had been already able to go, after which him penning this superb drum half for it after which we might go and document it. I keep in mind lots of it was engaged on the music stuff, after which the vocals got here after that. On “Track for the Useless,” Mark sings it so uncooked, so tough, and so good. It actually is a superb efficiency on that one – he is actually laying into it.
The deep voice factor is just not all the time simple to sing at excessive quantity – so far as I do know. However he was a very 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 few 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 aircraft on Christmas Eve [Aldo is from Belgium], so there was no one on the aircraft – aside from ten individuals. So, it began actually bizarre for me. I arrived and his supervisor drove me to Joshua Tree, they usually had been ready for me there – with a bottle of tequila and a few weed!
A few songs had been already recorded – or no less than components of it – however I used to be there with Mark, Chris Goss, Josh Homme, Dave Catching, and in addition a woman that performed bass on some songs and sang a bit of bit [Molly McGuire]. After which an increasing number of individuals came visiting, and I observed I did not produce that a lot stuff – as a result of I used to be a bit intimidated by everyone that was there.
After which that second day within the night, he stated, “OK. All people can go residence now and keep residence for 3 days – as a result of now, we’ll document with Aldo.” He despatched everyone residence, after which we labored for a few days on 9 or ten songs. That was stunning that he despatched Josh Homme residence – 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 had been so good – and there have been some stunning songs that did not get on the album, as a result of he stated, “An excessive amount of ‘Nirvana’ songs. Let’s drop it.” However it wasn’t a Nirvana track and it was nice. There was lots of stunning stuff being recorded by stunning 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 “entire band combine.”
However all of the acoustic guitar on that document is me – and there is a few electrical issues. However principally, all the 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 feel 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 accomplished, and we did not discuss a lot – me and Mark. We simply did the factor after which he cut up. After which moving into 2010, I simply mainly 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 type of concept [as Bubblegum] – “The Gravedigger’s Track” 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 grew to become this revolving door of associates. That was the template – that, Phantom Radio, and Gargoyle, we did on the home [11AD]. After which I moved out, and we did Any person’s Knocking and Straight Songs of Sorrow at his place. I mainly 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 offered 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 feel he took it out on the highway 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 residence – I went to Chile after I acquired Covid to play Lollapalooza, they usually 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 approach, Mark was actually OK with working with Alain. I keep in mind for that album I used to be feeling a bit down. Sooner or later, we talked on the cellphone, and I advised Mark that, and he stated, “Wait man, I’ll e book you a flight.” It wasn’t the intention I feel – to play on the album. As a result of I used to be additionally dwelling in Belgium and a flight to the States is dear.
And he stated, “Come over and we’ll document 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 wished extra digital stuff to be on the album – and naturally, that was enjoyable to do. However Alain did many of the stuff.
Greg Prato is a longtime AllMusic contributor. Lanegan is his thirty ninth e book total, and is out there as paperback, hardcover, and Kindle variations (and shortly, an audio model).