Screaming Trees’ Gary Lee Conner Addresses Mark Lanegan’s “Vicious And Petty” Memoir

Gie Knaeps/Getty Images

Screaming Trees’ Gary Lee Conner Addresses Mark Lanegan’s “Vicious And Petty” Memoir

Gie Knaeps/Getty Images

Mark Lanegan, the alternative rock veteran and former Screaming Trees frontman with a voice like aged bourbon, just published his new memoir Sing Backwards And Weep. It is, by most accounts, a raw, unflinching, and gripping account of Lanegan’s years of hard living and questionable decisions. It’s also pissed a few people off.

In the book, Lanegan talks a lot of shit. He tells the story of how he almost got into a physical fight with Liam Gallagher of Oasis, describing Gallagher as “an obvious poser,” “a playground bully,” “a total pussy,” and a “phony motherfucker” and effectively reigniting their feud on Twitter over two decades later. In an excerpt we published on the site yesterday, Lanegan recalls choking Ministry’s Al Jourgensen out for being rude and greedy with his heroin.

And Lanegan’s old Howling Branches — sorry, Screaming Trees bandmates don’t seem too thrilled either. Screaming Trees guitarist Gary Lee Conner posted a statement addressing Lanegan’s book on Facebook on Facebook this week. Conner says that he only managed to read “a few pages” of Sing Backwards And Weep but calls it “vicious and petty,” which, OK, yeah, probably fair:


Mark Lanegan was in the Screaming Trees and it was a combination of us all that made it great. We did not ever get along like friends and sometimes it felt like we were enemies but we did work together. We all had mental and personal problems but somehow we managed to get around them to create a musical legacy that I am very proud of and that still seems to have many fans. Mark took the songs Van and I wrote and helped elevate them lyrically and vocally to a higher level. The sum total of us was a gestalt called Screaming Trees. Since the FaceBook group and page are band sites I will always post stuff about him as well as the other members.

I have only read a few pages of the book ( there is no way I could take more) and while many of the facts may be accurate, it is delivered with a venom that is perplexing. I moved far, far past all my problems and confrontations with Mark many years ago and airing all this now, after half a lifetime, in a very public forum, seems vicious and petty. I had one conversation on the phone in the last 18 years with Mark and in was very cordial. Any history between the two of us ended when the band did, in the year 2000.

I am not one to rest on my laurels and will continue making new music as I have been. However, I still love the of the music that the Screaming Trees made from the beginning to the end of our career. I am also humbled by the amount of support and enthusiasm from fans of the band and my solo music, thanks to you all. I will continue to celebrate our music with you for the rest of my life…

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