Mark Lanegan, Proto Grunge Pioneer With Screaming Trees To Prolific Solo Artist And Author, Dies At 57

Mark Lanegan
– Mark Lanegan

Mark Lanegan, former frontman of grunge stalwarts Screaming Trees as well as a collaborator with Queens of the Stone Age and other artists, died Feb. 22 in his adopted home of Ireland. No cause of death was given, but he battled and appeared to recover from a case of COVID that put him in a coma for three weeks last year.

“Our beloved friend Mark Lanegan passed away this morning at his home in Killarney, Ireland,” reads a statement from a spokesman.  “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.”

At the time of his death, Lanegan had just published one book, “Devil In A Coma” and reportedly had another poetry collection in the works for later this year. In 2020, Lanegan released Straight Songs of Sorrow as well as a memoir, “Sing Backwards And Weep,” in which the artist deeply detailed a life marked by alcoholism and drug addiction. 

Lanegan was a pioneer in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s of what would become known as grunge as frontman of Screaming Trees. The band charted Top 10 hits on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart with singles “Nearly Lost You” and “All I Know.” At the same time, he launched a solo career with 1990’s The Winding Sheet, which featured guest appearances by Nirvana’s Kurt Coban and Krist Novoselic. 

When Screaming Trees split in 2000, Lanegan’s solo career continued and he regularly collaborated with Queens of the Stone Age, teamed with former Belle and Sabastian singer Isobel Campell. He also formed a duo called the Gutter Twins with the Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli.