Interview with Mark Lanegan

Interview with Mark Lanegan
by Killian Laher

No More Workhorse was lucky enough to catch up with Mark Lanegan, who is now living in Ireland to find out how he’s getting on. You can see the results below.

You are in Ireland now is that right?  What’s brought you over here?

Yes.  I have Irish heritage, my great-grandparents came from the Coleraine area of Northern Ireland and I have always felt at home here.  I didn’t want to stay in the States any longer, the political situation is a mess and California in particular, where I’ve lived the last 24 years, had become unrecognizable.

Do you think a specific place can influence an artist?  Or is it more about other factors?  

As an artist, it definitely helps to be in a place where you’re comfortable, and I have certainly been inspired by different places I have been.  But that said, for practical reasons I have learned to write wherever I’m at.

It’s been a pretty busy year for you with the autobiography, solo album, Black Phoebe, Humanist.  How did you feel about writing the autobiography?  There are a lot of books with musicians telling their story, how does yours differ?

I can’t tell you how my memoir differs from others mainly because I have read so few.  I think I read John Phillips’ (Mamas & Papas) book in the 1980s and completely lost interest in the genre of “rock” bios.

Looking back is never easy, and no doubt there were some painful memories.  Are you glad you completed the autobiography?

I would never do it again, I’ll say that.

The companion album, Straight Songs of Sorrow complements the book very well.  Did you consciously make this album in a different way than your recent albums?

I have consciously or unconsciously made every record different than previous ones.  Each one is a different experience.

Are you working on any interesting projects/albums at the minute?

I am working on my next Lanegan band record and a Black Phoebe full length.  I have a record with Joe Cardamone of the Icarus Line in the can.  I’m finishing a collection of poetry for Wesley Eisold’s Heartworm press and then I’m doing another split book with Wes.

You have a vast body of work, with all of your solo albums plus Screaming Trees and numerous compilations.  For someone new to your work, could you choose one album from the 90s, one from the 2000s and one from 2010s they should start with?

1990s – Whiskey For The Holy Ghost

2000s – Bubblegum

2010s – Blues Funeral

What keeps you going?  What inspires you?  Is it books, art or not any one thing?

I’m obsessive about the things I’m into.  Art, music, poetry, film, and I’m not happy unless I’m working.


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