Kerrang! Magazine, November 6, 1999

Kerrang! Confidential
This week, get up close and personal with Screaming Trees wildman singer Mark Lanegan

What is your nickname and why?

"I've had a lot of nicknames since I was a kid. The first one was Shark. My sister's boyfriend called me that. I thought I was a bigshot. Slippery was another one, and my band's called me Old Scratch for years. It's slang for Satan. Sweet Pea was another. There's a lot of 'em. It's my lovable Jeckyl-and-Hyde personality."

At school, were you a dunce or a teacher's pet?

"I leaned more towards dunce. I wasn't a complete idiot, but I do remember standing in the corner. I would have loved to have been the teacher's pet, but they weren't buying it. I tried to endear myself to the teachers, but they saw right through my patent insincerity."

What was your first shag like?

"Is that a f**k? Oh, God! It was me and my step-brother, one after the other with the same woman. She was quite a bit older. I was just pleased to get it over with. My step-brother said he was doing me a favour. I was 15 and very drunk. Subsequent shaggings were much more enjoyable, but everybody's gotta start somewhere."

Who's your best friend?

"Man, that's a tough one. Probably my father. We didn't get along so well when I was a kid, but we've both lived long enough for us to become good friends."

What's the best pet you've ever had?

"I had a cat once with six perfectly-formed toes and pads on each foot, and it was silent. I liked it more for it's silence than it's unique feet. I named it Jello after Jello Biafra."

Have you ever been arrested?

"Several times. The list is as long as your arm. The first, second, and third times were for shoplifting and then destruction of public property, theft. Went on to bigger and better things. My most recent arrest was over two years ago: possession of drugs. Charges were dismissed."

What would you be if you weren't a rock star?

"Being arrested a lot more."

What's the most extravagent thing you've ever bought?

"I got engaged a few times and bought a whole heap of misery."

How would you describe yourself on a blind date form?

"Six-five, exceedingly handsome, a real charmer."

Who's gagging for a shagging?

"I thought Elizabeth Hurley was pretty hot in 'Austin Powers'. The outfit and the posh accent helped."

Who's gagging for a smacking?

"That's a loaded question. They all are. I'm trying to practice pacifism these days, but anyone who asks for it gets it - like anyone who doesn't get out of the way."

What's the worst job you've ever had?

"There's been a few. Cleaning septic tanks was probably the worst - I think I did it for about half a day. It entailed, you know, getting down in the shit. I also worked on a turkey ranch beheading and plucking turkeys. When it came to the time to kill them we did them all at once, so there'd be about six or seven headless turkeys flopping around with the dogs chasing them."

When did you last call home?

"I'd have to have a home to do that and I haven't had one for about four-and-a-half years."

What was your most embarrassing moment?

"Every time I open my mouth is an embarrassing moment. My memory isn't what it used to be, but I guess it's when I've fallen offstage or had shoes and sandwichs and all kinds of shit thrown at me. Or it could be when the guys have had to hold me up at the microphone."

Who would you least like to see naked?

"I've seen the guys in the Screaming Trees naked, and I wouldn't like to see it again."

What's the best rumor you've ever heard about yourself?

"There's too many to mention. Some of 'em you let go cos they're so good. I've heard that I was dead. Nothing spectacular, just some mundane death."

What's in your wallet?

"About $213, my girlfriend's receipt from a rental car, my new driver's licence, which I'm most proud of. This is my first licence I've had for a few years; my re-entry into society. I was suspended for many years. Also phone numbers and a couple of very old condoms."

What's your favourite joke?

"Lately, Ben Shepherd, my bass player, told me a joke. He said, 'What has two thumbs and likes blow-jobs? (Pointing thumbs at himself) This guy!'. You gotta see him do it."

If you were marooned on a desert island without food, which member of Screaming Trees would you choose to eat first?

"Oh, (guitarist) Gary Lee Connor. No doubt about it. I've seen him naked and it wasn't appetising, but there is the most there to eat."

Which Screaming Trees song would you choose to donate to a compilation LP entitled 'Crap Songs Of Our Time'?

"I'd say the first four records - any of those songs could go."

What's your drug of choice?

"No comment."

What does God look like?

"This guy!"

When you die, how would you like to go?

"Peacefully. I'd like to be enjoying myself right up to the moment - and if it's a surprise, I don't mind. Quickly, quietly, and directly following something I enjoy."