Rocktropolis December 16, 1998

Peter Buck, Barrett Martin, Mark Lanegan Work On Demos

The R.E.M./ Screaming Trees/ Tuatara family will become even more incestuous next year when R.E.M./ Tuatara guitarist Peter Buck, Screaming Trees drummer/ Tuatara percussionist Barrett Martin, and Screaming Tress vocalist Mark Lanegan hope to record a collaborative album under an as- yet- untitled moniker.

"Me, Peter, and Mark just hunkered down and demoed about 20 songs in my home studio," says Martin. "I'm hoping maybe the beginning of next year or in the early spring we will get into the studio and start recording. It's really revolving around Peter's schedule right now, and what he is doing with R.E.M., as to whether or not we book time [in the studio]."

This extended side project will see first light next year in the film Shepherd (allstar, Dec. 15) when Martin, Buck, and Lanegan cover Neil Young's "Four Strong Winds" for the closing credits. Martin describes the new project as an extension of Tuatara's worldly soundscapes, only with words this time around.

"I guess if you took the darker, more film noir aspects of Tuatara's music and put a Lanegan baritone over the top -- that's what you got," he says. "It's beautiful. And we're not gonna throw it out there, we're gonna spend a lot of time on it, because a project like that has to be really, really good -- none of us are going to do a side project just to do a side project.

"Mark and I are in a band together, so if we're gonna do something outside of that band, it has to be good and different," he continues. "It's not going to sound like a rock and roll record, it's gonna sound like a beautifully orchestrated, compositional record with an amazing vocalist on it."

Martin figures Epic Records will release the new project, but nothing is set in stone as of yet. As for Screaming Trees, the band is currently in negotiations with three different record labels, and Martin hopes the band will get back into the studio next spring.

-- Kevin Raub