By Brandon Judeh (Music Reporter)
Three decades ago, a young Mark Lanegan met Gary and Van Conner and formed the Screaming Trees. 30 years later, he’s still going strong with a solo career and various other projects.
Still, the nearly 50-year-old singer seems to never quite be in the spotlight, but rather lurking in the shadows of the rock world and that’s all right with him.
“I don’t worry about that kind of stuff, I just try to stay in the here and now. Because as far as the past goes, once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Lanegan said.
As the Grunge legend prepares to release his latest offering, Phantom Radio, on Oct. 21 and prepares for a mini U.S. tour, (hitting Cleveland’s Grog Shop on Nov. 5) the singer took time to talk to The Raw Alternative about his recent endeavors.
Having released three studio albums in less than three years (with a few EPs thrown in) and collaborating with such artists as Queens of the Stone Age, Lanegan has been busy, but the singer said he loves being in the studio.
“I love to keep busy and work, writing songs, recording and playing live is what I love the most. I always have something on my plate and I hope to continue that,” said Lanegan.
On Phantom Radio, Lanegan continues to travel the dark, bluesy rode he is accustomed to with rich textures and haunting lyrics.
Songs like “Death Trip to Tulsa” and “Harvest Home” highlight Lanegan’s raspy yet fragile vocals and throughout the album there is a bit of a New Wave aesthetic thrown in.
“I like how the album turned out, if I didn’t like it I honestly wouldn’t have released it. I always try to make every record be complete. I don’t want just two or three good songs, I want it to be a complete experience,” he said.
Lanegan will be debuting much of his new material on his tour that spans from Oct. 29 through Nov. 9, with a more extensive foreign tour starting in January where he will play spots in Europe, South America and Australia.
“I’m really looking forward to touring, I’m only doing a handful of shows here in the states and it’s always fun to play in Cleveland. The bulk of touring will take place next year overseas,” said Lanegan.
It is no wonder Lanegan will be playing plenty of shows on foreign soil, as he said that his music seems to resonate stronger in other countries.
“I have no idea why, I never really thought about it, but we do get a bigger audience outside of the US, a lot more people seem to show up. Especially over the last few years, it’s just one of those things, but hey, I’m glad people are interested in my work, no matter where it may be,” he explained.
A lot of Lanegan’s past work with his former band the Screaming Trees as well as his collaborations with Queens of the Stone Age and his Leadbelly covers with Kurt Cobain have interested fans throughout the world.
Despite all of his past success, he remains humble.
“Pride can only hurt, it can never help,” Lanegan said. “I just focus on what’s in front of me and concentrate on the present. Thank God I still have stuff left to do.”
“It’s hard to have prospective, on stuff that happened in the past, when you’re in the middle of something, I never think about stuff like where I rank in the realm of the rock universe.”
When Lanegan and the Conner brothers started the Screaming Trees in 1984, it’s easy to assume they never thought that the Seattle scene would become a world phenomenon and eventually become legendary.
It’s also fair to say once bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam hit big that it was only a matter of time until Lanegan and company would score a hit.
In 1992 they did, when they released “Nearly Lost You” which was featured on the Singles motion picture soundtrack.
With the Trees long broken up and Lanegan fully cemented as a solo artist, it appears that there is no end in site for the singer song writer as he says he thinks he will be doing this for a long time.
“I’m always working toward something, after I’m done touring I’m sure I will be working on something new. Nothing is set in concrete, but knowing me, it will probably be another album,” finished Lanegan.