Screaming Trees’ Van Conner dies at 55
Screaming Trees bassist and co-founder Van Conner has died at age 55, according to a Facebook post from his brother, Screaming Trees guitarist Gary Lee Conner.
"[Van] died last night of an extended illness at 55 It was pneumonia that got him in the end," Gary Lee wrote. "He was one of the closest friends I ever had and I loved him immensely. I will miss him forever and ever and ever."
An excerpt of Jem Aswad's obituary for Variety reads:
The Trees were founded by the brothers, [Mark] Lanegan ��� who died last year — and drummer Mark Pickerel in rural Ellensburg, Washington in 1984. The band purveyed a psychedelia-influenced sound that synchronized with several other indie bands from the era, particularly the “Paisley Underground” groups from California like the Rain Parade and the Dream Syndicate. After releasing several low-budget recordings on the small Velvetone label, the band signed with the indie powerhouse SST Records and became one of the major groups of the American indie scene of the late ‘80s — which bloomed into the grunge/ alternative movement when fellow Washington State natives Nirvana took off in 1991 (Lanegan and Kurt Cobain were close friends and, unfortunately, as the singer confirmed in his autobiography, drug buddies as well).
Screaming Trees released music on the legendary SST label in the late '80s and worked with pioneering grunge producers Steve Fisk and Jack Endino, before signing to Epic for their 1991 major label debut, Uncle Anesthesia, produced by Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell and famed heavy metal producer Terry Date. The following year's Don Fleming-produced Sweet Oblivion was home to their single "Nearly Lost You," which was also included on Cameron Crowe's Singles soundtrack, and which became the band's best-known song and a staple of the grunge era.
Screaming Trees drummer Mark Pickerel wrote, "Let us lower the flannel flag to half-mast,while we celebrate the life of my dear friend and bandmate, Van Conner, who crossed over to the other side, early this AM. Hearts are heavy, as we're just a year shy of the anniversary of fellow member-Mark Lanegan's untimely departure." Also see tributes from Tad Doyle, Dinosaur Jr, Superchunk, and more below.
Rest in peace, Van.