dB Magazine Interview of Mark Lanegan 20-Oct-04
show from the #344 Issue (Nov 10 - 16)
|Mark Lanegan can be a hard man to track down, but after
three unsuccessful attempts we finally connected. He of the whisky-soaked
voice - and a quietly impressive career that includes major time spent
with The Screaming Trees and more recently, Queens Of The Stone Age
- was in a talkative mood about his upcoming solo tour of Australia
as he gave directions to his chauffeur (very rock!).
"I love Australia," he growls. "I love being there but
hate going there because of the flight. There is no land, I just keep
seeing water, thousands of miles from anything. Last time it was 14 hours
of sheer terror, so I tried to knock myself out."
For his upcoming tour, Lanegan put together The Mark Lanegan Band, somewhat
of a 'who's who' of players he'd worked with over the past few years.
This new record also sees a slight change of name from the previous five
albums, simply recorded under the name of Mark Lanegan.
"The people in my band are guys who have been touring with me for a while.
They played a little bit on this record as well. Two reasons for the name
change: I was no longer playing with the guys who had predominantly been
on the earlier records, and I wanted to make a distinction between those
records and whatever came next. But also I started making the records
as a reaction against the rock band [The Screaming Trees] I was in at
the time. So I wanted to make quiet music as well and it happened that
both things satisfied me.
"And now that I'm not in a rock band full time, I wanted to bring those
elements into this and make this record more representative of all the
different things that I like to do musically; to see if I could make a
rock song co-exist next to a fucking atmospheric quiet song, and that's
what I set out to do. And I made the name change to try and trick my mind
into saying that that was OK."
Having said that, somewhat paradoxically Lanegan took a very organic approach
to the album's running order. "To me the sequencing is the most important
thing on the record and that's always been pretty much the thing I was
most passionate about. I did it throughout The Screaming Trees and for
other bands and records, and it's not always easy, especially if you have
stuff that is all over the map. They [the songs] sort of tell me where
they are supposed to go, and it's not that tough. I mean, it tells a story,
and it might be vague and it might be murky and mysterious to somebody,
even to me! But it does tell a story and there is a thread from start
to finish, as there is in all my records. And in fact I think of all of
them as a whole entity. In other words, I think of the first record as
the beginning of this one. So they are all interlinked in my mind.
"I always have a gang of ideas, and half-finished songs and fully finished
songs, and songs I have already recorded but haven't used floating around.
And when I start to make another record, or start to think about it, I
start looking at that stuff and I start messing with it every day that
I can, and usually this is when I'm on the road as opposed to being at
home. When I'm at home I'm kind of lazy, when I'm on the road I try and
write every day. And what I do is just get up and mess with something
and then check it out again tomorrow and then the stuff that makes it
past a couple of days is the stuff I stay with. It's just a huge jumble
of mess that turns into individual songs that go in a natural order. And
then of course there are the songs that end up being recorded at the last
minute while you are in the studio, trying to mix, one will come up and
bang! You'll knock it out. Sometimes those are the best songs, the most
important songs usually being the very last thing you record - and they're