The grunge icon Dave Grohl loved: “One of the most gifted artists”

Meta Description: Discover the legacy of Mark Lanegan, the influential grunge musician praised by Dave Grohl. Explore his impact on the genre and his contributions to Screaming Trees and beyond.

Mark Lanegan: The Unsung Hero of Grunge Music

It usually gets harder and harder to look at the grunge era through rose-colored glasses as the years go by. The inaugural wave of grunge bands had some incredible tunes that will live on long after the flannel goes out of style. However, the dark shroud that covered the scene after the death of so many geniuses was enough for people to step away from Seattle for a little while. Even if you leave, that darkness usually sits in one’s soul. Dave Grohl believed that Mark Lanegan, of Screaming Trees, was one of the greatest songwriters the grunge genre ever produced.

Although Grohl’s work in Foo Fighters tends to fall in the realm of post-grunge, there’s nothing too moody about many of their songs. The group’s debut still had the coating of a post-In Utero grunge sound, but as Grohl started making songs like ‘Everlong’ and ‘Monkey Wrench’, he transitioned to the world of arena rock rather than the introspective songs of his previous band, Nirvana.

The Unique Voice of Mark Lanegan

All great artists strike a balance between being commercial and introspective, but Mark Lanegan seemed almost too honest for his own good. While Screaming Trees was a major force in grunge’s prime, some of Lanegan’s hooks, delivered with his rough baritone, made him sound like what Tom Waits might be if he fronted a mainstream rock band.

That’s not to say they didn’t have hits. Their material is still celebrated by alternative music connoisseurs, and the track ‘Nearly Lost You’ reliably fills up 1990s playlists thanks to its inclusion in the movie Singles. That ever-present darkness is part of the magic behind the group, according to Grohl.

When asked about the greatest songwriters he had ever heard, Grohl ranked Mark Lanegan near the top of his list. He told Kerrang, “Mark is one of the most gifted and tortured artists you’ll ever hear. I have nothing but respect for that guy. I remember Nirvana playing Roskilde festival in Denmark with the Screaming Trees in 1992. In the middle of their set, Lanegan freaked out, picked up a monitor, threw it into the pit and beat up three or four security guards. You don’t wanna mess with that dude.”

Lanegan’s Influence on Dave Grohl

If Grohl says he likes a group, there’s a 90% chance he will collaborate with them. As Grohl started to become a little desensitized to Foo Fighters, he joined Queens of the Stone Age for the album Songs for the Deaf, serving as the drummer while Mark Lanegan pumped out the darkest tunes on the record like ‘Song for the Dead’ and ‘Hanging Tree’.

There are subtle hints of Screaming Trees’ influence in Foo Fighters’ later material. The song ‘I Should Have Known’ off of Wasting Light is indebted to the darkness that Lanegan pioneered, down to the deep bass tones and minor key chord progression.

The Legacy of Mark Lanegan

While Mark Lanegan favored the darker side of songwriting until his final days, Grohl respected his authenticity on every track. It’s one thing to create songs for people to pound their fists in the air, but whenever Lanegan made a record, you got his raw take on life.

Mark Lanegan remains a pivotal figure in the grunge music scene, influencing many with his deeply honest and dark songwriting style. His legacy lives on, not just in the music of Screaming Trees but also in the continued reverence from peers like Dave Grohl.

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