Former Screaming Trees leader Mark Lanegan has gone back to the Stone Age, where he plans to stay awhile.
The singer/songwriter, who lent Queens of the Stone Age a hand on their most recent album, Rated R, has been co-writing songs for the band's next effort, some of which feature him on lead vocals. He also plans to accompany Queens on their European tour next month.
"It's a little bit more than what I did with them last time," Lanegan said Friday (May 18). "I'm definitely not the singer in the band. I'm just sorta gonna be one of the guys, part of the circus." Lanegan sang lead on Rated R's "In the Fade," which he co-wrote with Queens singer/guitarist Josh Homme, and contributed background vocals to a few other tracks.
Lanegan and Queens will warm up for the European tour with shows Wednesday and Thursday at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles. Lanegan said he'd join the band to perform a few songs, including a couple of new ones. The shows are billed "Queens of the Stone Age featuring Mark Lanegan."
"Basically, I was rehearsing with them for these shows and they asked if I'd do the next record with them," Lanegan said.
"I just like the music," he explained. "They're a great band. It suits me."
Lanegan's friendship with Homme goes back to the mid-'90s, when Homme moved to Seattle to play in the Screaming Trees.
Lanegan's work with Queens of the Stone Age has delayed his plans to tour behind his new solo record, Field Songs, until the fall at least, he said.
Released May 8, Field Songs is a lonesome, mainly acoustic collection anchored in blues and folk. Using his weathered voice, Lanegan evokes vivid, often dreamlike imagery to create a haunting immediacy even as he conjures feelings of dislocation and lost hopes.
In the opener, "One Way Street," which Lanegan began writing while driving through Venice, California, at night, he sings, "The stars and the moon aren't where they're supposed to be/ But the strange electric light falls so close to me." Later, in "Kimiko's Dream House," he sings, "To make matters worse/ The trains are on time/ But we're lost at the station/ Still lost in our minds."
Lanegan worked with long-time collaborator Mike Johnson (former bassist with Dinosaur Jr) and one-time Soundgarden guitarist Ben Shepherd on the effort, much of which was recorded in original Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan's home studio. McKagan plays drums on the final track, "Fix."
Lanegan has also been working on material with former Afghan Whigs leader Greg Dulli. The pair plans to put out an album at some point but hasn't decided on a time frame, he said.