SonicNet Article: 29 May,1998

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Lanegan's New Solo Disc Due In July
Screaming Trees frontman views solo disc as product of open-minded process.

Contributing Editor Colin Devenish reports:

As Mark Lanegan worked on the 10 songs that would become his third solo album, Scraps at Midnight (July 28), he and the musicians recording with him kept an open mind and allowed the atmosphere and accidents to influence the songwriting process.
Lanegan said "Because of This" -- which guitarist Paul Solger described in an earlier interview with SonicNet Music News as a "nine-minute Stoogesesque jam" -- was the product of just such an accident.
"I was listening to Roxy Music with Kenny Richards and the CD started skipping on a spot that made a noise like the one that Kenny plays on synthesizer," said Lanegan, 33, who played guitar and sang on the LP. "We wrote the song around that. I liked it because it reminded me of something the Trees might do."
The simpatico set of musicians on the new Lanegan album included bassist Mike Johnson -- formerly of Dinosaur Jr -- along with Solger, drummer Kenny Richards, guitarist Fred Drake and Dave Catching, who alternated between acoustic slide-guitar, bass and piano.
Lanegan first garnered attention as frontman for the Washington-based Screaming Trees, whose 1992 album, Sweet Oblivion, released at the height of the grunge movement, earned the foursome their greatest notoriety. In recent years, more attention has been paid to the band's in-fighting and Lanegan's well-documented substance-abuse problems.
"It's been a long time since I've done one that way," Lanegan said about recording sober. "It's a fuck of a lot easier for me. Music is not something I care to obsess on, and it's even harder if you're loaded all the time -- it's like pulling teeth. It always seemed like going to work and I never have liked working. This was a good time with people I care about and that care about me, and whenever you're doing that it ain't bad."
Solger suggested that Rancho De La Luna, the ranch house/recording studio where the album was created, may have played a role in shaping the desolate, peaceful sound of Scraps at Midnight.
"All and all, the recording of the album was like no other project I've done, it was so relaxed and unstructured, but somehow this incredibly beautiful album came out of it," Solger said. "I'm sure the studio and where it was had something to do with it ... It was up in Joshua Tree, Calif., and in a house, so the atmosphere was great compared to a regular studio."
Lanegan predicted that more material from the long-dormant Screaming Trees may be on the way in the not-too-distant future. "We just officially got released from Sony [on Thursday], so that means we'll be able to do something sometime soon. We'll probably keep playing until we're 90."
Lanegan pegged "Bell Black Ocean," a subdued tune featuring Lanegan's gravelly bass and soothing piano, as his favorite track on the album.
"That was a song that Kenny had on piano, and he thought it sounded like a lullaby," Lanegan said. "It reminded me of something I might have heard when I was a little kid. Me, Mike and Kenny made a song out of it real fast. That's how we work. I'll have some music or one of my guys will play me some music and it makes me think of something, or else it doesn't and we leave it alone."