from, 18 June 1998

Mark Lanegan may be enmeshed in a myriad of projects, but he still considers The Screaming Trees his main band. How do we know? When The Rocket's editor, Charles Cross, recently met up with the singer in Seattle, where he's been living covertly since April with his manager (he's supposed to be residing in a half-way house outside of L.A. as a condition of his rehabilitation earlier this year) Lanegan told him so.

Cross also asked the singer why he and ex-Dinosaur Jr. bassist Mike Johnson hadn't formed a permanent outfit, since they worked so well on Scraps At Midnight, due out July 21, along with uber-grunge guests J Mascis and Tad Doyle. "One word: Rockpile," Lanegan quipped, referring to the 1979 album of the quasi-supergroup featuring Dave Edmonds, Nick Lowe, Billy Bremner, and Terry Williams -- a messy two-vocalists affair that looked great on paper, but didn't deliver on record or onstage. "I remember how disappointed I was when Rockpile put a record out," Lanegan continued. "It's bad enough when you get too many acts together. I already have one act, the Screaming Trees with five members." The good news for all you Trees fans is that these five are putting down their ambitious side projects to come back together to play the annual Seattle Bumbershoot, which occurs during the Labor Day weekend -- and there are stirrings of another Trees album. Hailing from the first wave of metallic grungemeisters, the Screaming Trees are no longer signed to Epic Records; according to sometime R.E.M. member and Tuatara stalwart Barrett Martin, the band asked to be let off the label because the contract was too restrictive for them. "There will be another Trees record, we just don't know where it will come out" says the drummer.

There's much talk that Subpop, the little label that could -- and which has released all of Lanegan's records -- is first in line for the project, but the powers that be at the Seattle label declined to comment. One thing we did get confirmed was that Lanegan will be appearing on the next Tuatara album as the vocalist; he also hopes to resurrect the Disinformation project in the near future. "Disinformation has been put on hold, but that delay has nothing to do with me" quoth the singing Tree. According to witnesses, Lanegan looks -- if not at the peak of health -- "good for Mark." In addition to the Tuatara record, Scraps, and a possible Disinformation record, the new, improved Lanegan and Johnson are working on an EP of covers, due out later this year.