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Thursday 24 February 2022

Lightning Coming Out of The Speakers

The news came through on Tuesday night that Mark Lanegan had died aged 57 at his home in Ireland. Mark Lanegan is one of those people who had been around in one form or another since the early 90s and whose music had come in and out of my musical radar but when I heard him, he often hit really deep. From his grunge band Screaming Trees to his time with Queens Of The Stone Age to his various solo albums and his records duetting with Isobel Campbell he was always a huge presence, especially his voice- sometimes a deep raspy growl, sometimes an emotional soulful baritone- that sounded like a force of nature, vocal chords as old as time. 

It was a voice that told of a life lived too. His recent autobiography is a tale of childhood descent into alcoholism, theft, robbery, heroin addiction, guilt over his role in Kurt Cobain's suicide and his getting clean after an intervention by Courtney Love as well as his continuing adventures in music. He wrote a second book about his near death brush with Covid in 2021. Neither book is for the faint hearted although his description of Liam Gallagher, who he encountered when Screaming Trees toured with Oasis in the 90s, is hilarious, not to mention dismissive of Gallagher Junior. 'Where I was from', Mark writes, 'he [Liam] wouldn't have lasted a week behaving as he did. One day they'd simply disappear, their mangled body discovered years later, haphazardly tossed into a shallow grave somewhere deep in the woods'.

Rather than offer up one song I pulled a few from different albums and put them together into a thirty minute mix, a range of styles and sounds all centred around his voice, that I've titled HOney Just Gets Me Stoned after a vocal line in the remix Andrew Weatherall did of Beehive. Ode To Sad Disco is a particular favourite, a switch in 2012 from writing on the guitar to writing with a drum machine and synth that led to a beautiful and mournful piece of New Order- esque electronics. Snake Song is a cover of a Townes Van Zandt song, Bombed is desolate short song sung with his then wife Wendy. Hit The City is a crunching, distorted industrial blues with co- vocals by PJ Harvey.

R.I.P. Mark Lanegan. 

Honey Just Gets Me Stoned

  • Isobel Cambell and Mark Lanegan: Snake Song
  • Mark Lanegan Band: Bombed
  • Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan: Keep Me In Mind, Sweetheart
  • Mark Lanegan Band: Hit The City
  • Mark Lanegan: Ode To Sad Disco
  • Mark Lanegan: Old Swan (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
  • Mark Lanegan: Beehive (Andrew Weatherall Remix)


JTFL said...

It's a freakin bummer. NO ONE sounds like Lanegan. I wrote something over at JC's place and it doesn't scratch the surface. The song with PJH we both picked is stellar, tho.

The Swede said...

A pitch perfect tribute and glorious mix Adam.

Echorich said...

Man that voice. Only Johnny Cash sounded more world weary and worn. Yesterday I think I listened to his interpretation of Cat People (Putting Out Fire, that he recorded a few years back with Martyn Noble and Christian Eigner, about 6 times. Today I listened to Beehive - The Weatherall Remix a few times to remind myself how diverse and open minded his music was. As well I played Looking For The Rain from UNKLE - so cinematic and filled with dramatic energy.