Mark Lanegan, a singer and songwriter, best known as the frontman for grunge pioneers Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age, has died. He was 57.
His passing was confirmed through a statement by his publicist, which said: “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. The family asks everyone to respect their privacy at this time.”
A cause of death was not disclosed.
A native of Washington State, Lanegan formed the Screaming Trees with guitarist Gary Lee Conner, bassist Van Conner, and drummer Mark Pickerel in 1982 and became an early part of the Seattle grunge scene. Lanegan was originally the group’s drummer but later stepped forward to the microphone when his talents became apparent.
“I was such a shitty drummer that they made me sing,” Lanegan told Clark Humphrey in a 1996 interview.
Screaming Trees broke through to the mainstream with their 1992 album “Oblivion” but came unraveled by the end of the decade amid creative differences.
Lanegan officially joined Queens of the Stone Age after providing vocals for the band’s 2000 album “Rated R” and contributed vocals on multiple albums and toured with the group up through 2013’s “Era Vulgaris.”
In addition, Lanegan collaborated with numerous artists, from Belle & Sebastian to the British electronic act, UNKLE.
He also recorded as a solo artist 12 solo albums, including 2020’s Straight Songs of Sorrow which was inspired by his memoir Sing Backwards And Weep.
Throughout his career, Lanegan struggled with addiction, including to alcohol and heroin, and frankly discussed his experiences in his memoir, claiming that even as a youth he had a reputation as the “town drunk.”
He experienced homelessness after parting ways with the Screaming Trees and attributed his recovery for Courtney Love, who paid for a year of Lanegan’s rehab, with saving his life.
Lanegan was married to Shelley Brien and the two lived in Ireland. Lanegan contracted severe COVID-19 in 2021 and was hospitalized for several months. While an initial skeptic of the pandemic and vaccine, he came around after his infection.
“I was one of those knuckleheads who was wary of [the vaccine]. But I learned my lesson. I’ll be the first one to get a booster shot when it’s available,” he said in an interview with Consequence of Sound earlier this year.