20th July 2001
by Martin Jones

Though ex-Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan has just released his fifth solo album Field Songs, he's had to put self-promotion on hold to take up an invitation to be a temporary member of Queens Of The Stone Age. Lanegan recently accepted an offer to join QOTSA on tour in the UK and Europe. They did a couple of warm-up shows in L.A., billed as Queens Of The Stone Age featuring Mark Lanegan, before spending June playing the European festival circuit.

"It's more like a glimpse into my past, not my future," Lanegan tells ATN of his recent QOTSA sojourn. "But I enjoy playing with those guys, they're a really great band."

QOTSA even got to join AC/DC for a one off UK gig as part of the tour.

"Oh that was great," Lanegan recalls. "It was a thrill you know. I heard they might not be doing it much longer so it was cool to do. Kind of embarrassing to watch guys their age play for two and a half hours in the cold wearing hardly any clothes. It makes you feel like a pussy. I thought 'damn I'm cold and I'm all bundled up in winter clothes'. They're out there in shorts and shit. It's pretty inspirational actually."

Lanegan and QOTSA singer/guitarist Josh Homme are old buddies. Homme played guitar in the Screaming Trees for a while and Lanegan helped out on the last Queens' record Rated R. The pair are currently in the studio working together on the next Queens album. "Yeah it should be a good time" Lanegan says "They tell me I'll be singing some of the songs. And yeah I've been writing with them".

But the Queens project has meant delaying not only Lanegan's solo tour to promote Field Songs, but also another planned studio collaboration with Afghan Whigs' Greg Dulli.

"It's funny, we were just talking about that today" Lanegan laughs. "Yeah, you know, I don't think either one of us consider it something that's a big priority to rush on, we've just been enjoying getting together and writing but we're definitely releasing it at some point. But he's got his Twilight Singers thing that he's rapped up in and he does a number of other things so you know, no hurry as far as we're concerned."

With his five solo albums, Lanegan has been one of the few artists to emerge from the "grunge" scene gracefully. Trading sledgehammer volume for a different kind of smouldering, acoustic intensity, he's been able to affect many with his new songs. However, Lanegan himself has been a bit taken aback by how seriously some fans take his work.

"I've had a couple of people actually get angry, you know like 'what the hell?' when you're not the kind of guy they think you are from hearing the stuff" he reveals. "You know to me a lot of this stuff and the lyrics are not so serious. It's more like" he coughs out a laugh, "I hate to say comedy but... we enjoy making them put it that way."