Article in the German edition of RollingStone, 08/04

The Long Trail In The Sand
by Jörn Schlüter

Mark Lanegan, musical bagman in the Mojave Desert and his commune-album

Rough fellows are the ones who form a very creative commune of artists in Joshua Tree for some years now: Joshua Homme, Nick Oliveri, Chris Goss, everyone of Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age, sometimes Twilight Singer Greg Dulli; all of them men who detect in the desert an excellent outer appearance for their attitude towards life and who are skimping with words in interviews.

Mark Lanegan found his artistical home here after his first career in Seattle, too. After his first solo albums Josh Homme perceived him as a good coadjutor for his Stone Age band and ever since Mark Lanegan is recommended in this and all flanking scenes - even the reformed MC5 asked him to join him as a singer on tour. But Lanegan was fed up with pure assistance. "I always said that I have primarily my solo career in mind", he distances himself from it a bit testy, "I wasn't the only singer for the Queens and I never was a regular band member strictly speaking."

There would be much to report of the current state of QOTSA. During the tour Nick Oliveri was kicked out of the band in a vociferous manner and Lanegan seemed to be out of the Queens, too, at least till the next album. Who wants to know what it all was about more precisely has to ask Homme himself - that internal affaires like fights and other excesses are to be kept silent about is one thing Lanegan already learned during his years with the Screaming Trees who also weren't very harmonious either.

What remains is Bubblegum, the new album of the Mark Lanegan Band. It is, so his desert colleagues in unison, the best of Lanegan's six solo albums, they praise the multifaceted production and the cliché-free, intravenous songwriting. "It is my best album so far", Lanegan confirms, "In the past many of my songs developed as a sideline; This time I had much more time. And a concept, a feeling, by which the song oriented."

Lanegan invited more friends to the recordings of Bubblegum than usual: Besides Homme, Oliveri, Goss and Dulli ,Polly Harvey, Dean Ween, Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan help him to assemble the broken blues and the introverted, scratchy psychedelical folk on Bubblegum.

"I think that no one sang or played on one of my albums whom I wouldn't call a friend", Lanegan says, "I don't select out of musical reasons - whoever of my friends is available at the time is playing."

That's how it is done in a commune.