Lanegan's New Solo Disc Due In July

Screaming Trees frontman views solo disc as product of open-minded process.

As Mark Lanegan worked on the 10 songs that would become his third solo

album, Scraps at Midnight (July 28), he and the musicians recording with

him kept an open mind and allowed the atmosphere and accidents to influence

the songwriting process.

Lanegan said "Because of This" -- which guitarist Paul Solger described in an

earlier interview with SonicNet Music News as a "nine-minute

Stoogesesque jam" -- was the product of just such an accident.

"I was listening to Roxy Music with Kenny Richards and the CD started skipping

on a spot that made a noise like the one that Kenny plays on synthesizer," said

Lanegan, 33, who played guitar and sang on the LP. "We wrote the song around

that. I liked it because it reminded me of something the Trees might do."

The simpatico set of musicians on the new Lanegan album included bassist

Mike Johnson -- formerly of Dinosaur Jr -- along with Solger, drummer Kenny

Richards, guitarist Fred Drake and Dave Catching, who alternated between

acoustic slide-guitar, bass and piano.

Lanegan first garnered attention as frontman for the Washington-based

Screaming Trees, whose 1992 album, Sweet Oblivion, released at the

height of the grunge movement, earned the foursome their greatest notoriety. In

recent years, more attention has been paid to the band's in-fighting and

Lanegan's well-documented substance-abuse problems.

"It's been a long time since I've done one that way," Lanegan said about

recording sober. "It's a fuck of a lot easier for me. Music is not something I care

to obsess on, and it's even harder if you're loaded all the time -- it's like pulling

teeth. It always seemed like going to work and I never have liked working. This

was a good time with people I care about and that care about me, and

whenever you're doing that it ain't bad."

Solger suggested that Rancho De La Luna, the ranch house/recording studio

where the album was created, may have played a role in shaping the desolate,

peaceful sound of Scraps at Midnight.

"All and all, the recording of the album was like no other project I've done, it was

so relaxed and unstructured, but somehow this incredibly beautiful album came

out of it," Solger said. "I'm sure the studio and where it was had something to do

with it ... It was up in Joshua Tree, Calif., and in a house, so the atmosphere was

great compared to a regular studio."

Lanegan predicted that more material from the long-dormant Screaming Trees

may be on the way in the not-too-distant future. "We just officially got released

from Sony [on Thursday], so that means we'll be able to do something

sometime soon. We'll probably keep playing until we're 90."

Lanegan pegged "Bell Black Ocean," a subdued tune featuring Lanegan's

gravelly bass and soothing piano, as his favorite track on the album.

"That was a song that Kenny had on piano, and he thought it sounded like a

lullaby," Lanegan said. "It reminded me of something I might have heard when I

was a little kid. Me, Mike and Kenny made a song out of it real fast. That's how

we work. I'll have some music or one of my guys will play me some music and it

makes me think of something, or else it doesn't and we leave it alone."