Boston Sunday Herald, January 16, 1994
Grunge Singer Not Blue About Solo Release
Skeptics might say the 27 year
old lead singer of a grunge band has no right to sing the blues, but Mark
Lanegan proves otherwise.
Lanegan, lead singer for Screaming Trees, sets aside his rock roots and
grows into a blues groove on his new solo album, "Whiskey For The
Holy Ghost", due in stores Tuesday.
The ScreamingTrees is the Northwestern quartet that scored hits last year
with "Nearly Lost You" and "Dollar Bill" from its
"Sweet Oblivion" album. The band spent 1993 on the road touring
to support the album and shared the bill on MTV's "Alternative Nations"
tour with pop groovemiesters The Spin Doctors and Minneapolis rockers
Lanegan says he saw his solo album as, "A chance to do something
On "Whiskey", Lanegan collaberated with such alternative rock
notables as J Mascis and Mike Johnson of Dinosaur Jr., Dan Peters of Mud
Honey, and tad Doyle of TAD. Nonetheless, the album sounds more like the
work of Lanegan's blues heroes such as Charlie Patton and Willie Jones
than a "Greatest Hits Of Grunge" package.
"You just have a certain idea of something you want, and then you
just try to make the music sound like that," the singer said.
And he succeeds. Soulful, grizzly vocals spin tales of loss and lonliness
over haunting melodies, producing a pleasantly somber album.
The music may be blue, but Lanegan says he is perfectly content with his
job. "I truly think I have the best job in the world," he says.
"I get to be creative, I get to travel...it's better than the Army."
"Where I come form, there's not a lot of exciting jobs. People basically
do their ten years of hard labor or work at McDonald's. I'm glad I can
do what I can...I get to make a living, it means more to me than the average
job, and it's been my savior...What else would I have done?"
Lanegan has been in Seattle making music with his Screaming Trees bandmates
for the past ten years. While content with the progress the Screaming
Trees have made, the need to do something different got Lanegan working
on "Whiskey" three years ago, taking time out frm his Trees
schedule whenever he could to write.
"Regardless of what I do on a record, it's not my life," he
said. "Sure, there's parts of me in there...there's all sorts of
stuff in there, but songs aren't the ledger I've been keeping on my life
the last three years."
"I don't like to bash people over the head with my intention,"
he said, "I'm just tyring to make something that pleases me."