The Screaming Trees were one of the most popular Grunge bands during the early 90’s, rising to popularity with their hit “Nearly Lost You”
Van Conner, the Screaming Trees co-founder and bassist dies at age 55
The original Grunge scene lost another one of its founding members as Van Conner, bassist for the seminal Grunge band Screaming Trees dies at age 55, nearly a year after the passing of the band’s former lead singer Mark Lanegan.
Van Conner was born on March 17, 1967 in Apple Valley, California, moving later with his family to Ellensburg, Washington. He formed the band Explosive Generation with his brother Gary Lee Conner and Mark Pickerel, and the band later evolved into Screaming Trees with the addition of singer Mark Lanegan in 1985.
Musically the band’s earliest records were a combination of psychedelic music and hard rock, while bearing many similarities to early grunge. After releasing a string of EPs and albums in the 1980s on independent labels, Screaming Trees signed with Epic Records in 1990 and released their major label debut album in 1991, Uncle Anesthesia, which spawned their first charting single “Bed of Roses.” After Barrett Martin replaced Pickerel on drums, they released “Sweet Oblivion” in 1992, which was the band’s breakout album and included the singles “Nearly Lost You”, “Dollar Bill”, “Shadow of the Season” and “Butterfly”. The first two singles gained considerable airtime on alternative rock radio stations, while the video for “Nearly Lost You” became an MTV and alternative radio hit in the fall of 1992, thanks to the momentum of the “Singles” soundtrack. “Nearly Lost You” peaked at number 5 on the Modern Rock Tracks and number 50 in the United Kingdom and was their first single to chart outside the United States. The band’s follow-up album was released in 1996, entitled Dust. Although the lead single “All I Know” had peaked at the No. 9 position on both the Modern Rock Tracks and Mainstream Rock Tracks charts, “Dust” did not match its predecessor’s success, and soon after the difficulties of recording another album, the band announced their breakup in 2000. The lead singer, Mark Lanegan, passed away on February 22nd, 2022 at age 57.
Although the Screaming Trees were viewed as one of the finest bands on the Seattle scene, they never drew the commercial attention that Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden had garnered. In 1990 Conner formed the side project Solomon Grundy, in which he performed lead vocals and guitar. That band released an album in 1990, and during that period Conner also joined a live lineup of Dinosaur Jr, and he also formed another side project called Gardener, which released an album in 1999. After the breakup of Screaming Trees, Conner worked as a session musician and had formed several additional alternative rock bands, including VALIS and Musk Ox.
Van Conner passed at age 55 from pneumonia, after a long illness on January 18, 2023 at age 55. RIP.
Watch the 1992 Screaming Trees music video for “Nearly Lost You”
Look back at a Van Conner and Mark Lanegan interview in MTV 120 Minutes, 1992
Images and photographs can be from different ranges of sources such as Pinterest, Tumblr etc. except when/where noted. If you are the copyright holder and would like them removed or