As anyone remotely rock minded with the internet knows by now, Mark Lanegan has passed. The inspired troubadour and shadow delving poet was 57 and leaves a huge impact in his wake. Like a Tom Waits or a Bukowski, Lanegan could bring you into the seedy life with his evocative and descriptive turns of phrase while also having so much “feel” to his croon. The guy could be smooth and gravelly at the same time and hypnotize anyone, steal the show on a QoTSA album chock full of talent and commanded respect with rare grace.
His voice made you feel like someone knew what it felt like to find a real friend in a cold world.
In a time when so many artists seem willing to cut corners, take the easy way out or just not have any dignity or gravitas, when flash in the pan gimmicks and unearned braggadocio is rewarded over talent…it is sad to see someone go whose life work was a beacon of inspiration.
Variety has a great round up of some of his career best tunes HERE.
I hate writing memorial articles because they feel so insufficient, technically are news but feel vulture-like when we need time to pass to absorb it all as well but…well, it also feels even worse to NOT acknowledge a loss to me. Screaming Trees and the grunge movement were such an embedded part of my youth and I have such a deep and profound respect and thanks for many of the people part of that who radically inspired me and made me want a life of rock n roll as more than a trend. I can only describe the revelations they made me have as maybe what it was like for someone to read On The Road for the first time, albeit set to a Seattle grungy chord instead of jazz. The sheer minimalist brilliance of Bubblegum has also grown to be and remains my favorite Dark Mark record, just a stunner top to bottom on how to do all killer, not overstaying welcome tunes that all bang and have depth.
I’ll break this off with a humorous excerpt from an excellent Diffuser interview w Mark by James Stafford from 2014:
Do you see yourself more as a lyricist, composer, or right there in the middle with both having equal weight?
I consider myself to be an out of work breakfast cook, though I haven’t had to do that work in a long time. Nah, whenever I’m asked for occupation on a visa application or passport, I just say singer.