first appeared at CDNow, 6 May, 2001
Mark Lanegan's Field Trip
Once the singer for Screaming Trees, now a formidable solo act with five albums to his credit, Mark Lanegan may not be a household name, but he can be heard wherever quality folk-blues music still makes the CD changer. He recorded a critically acclaimed collection of covers, 1999's I'll Take Care of You, that further established him as a singer of consequence.
Continuing in this artistic vein, even the name of his latest album, Field Songs, attests to his old-fashioned ways. He included the one tune he finished with the late Gun Club leader Jeffrey Lee Pierce ("Kimiko's Dream House"). He records with whoever is sitting around at the given time, which is usually Mike Johnson (ex-Dinosaur Jr.) and lately Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden). He isn't interested in computers. We're lucky he has a phone.
How Field Songs came together: "We recorded it in a couple of months, but it was spread out over a couple of years. I started making the record, and I had to record a couple of covers for British b-sides and that seemed so much easier and more fun than what we were doing at the time, so we made that record instead and put everything aside for awhile and came back to it."
On the way he works: "Since it's not really being made with a band, I kinda find out if something I had an idea for is going to work only in the studio, and then I gotta write some words. My work ethic is not strong. It's [like], 'what the hell, let's see what we can make up as we go along.' I should probably get a little more prepared."
The Jeffrey Lee Pierce connection: "We'd been friends for quite a few years. He suggested it many years before it happened. He had the basic outline for ["Kimiko's Dream House"], but not all the words. We'd thought of that as the beginning of something, which is sad. It was done really quickly because he was leaving for Japan the next day, and when he came back from Japan, he was not well, like a month later or two months later, he died."
Lanegan as record producer: "I might just, like, say, 'I envision like rolling waves' or shit like that.' Very vague. Or, 'I picture myself in a dark garden filled with fairies. Try and play something that sounds like that.' "
On his next project: "I'm also working on a side project with Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs. It's loose and a good time. It's more along the lines of what I would do, but not really."