Screaming Trees bassist Van Conner dies aged 55

Conner co-founded the band alongside his brother and Mark Lanegan

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Van Conner, the bassist and co-founder of Washington band Screaming Trees, has died at the age of 55.

The news was confirmed by Conner’s brother Gary Lee, who also played guitar in the band. He wrote in a social media post on January 18: “Van Conner bassist and song writer of Screaming Trees died last night of an extended illness at 55. It was pneumonia that got him in the end. He was one of the closest friends I ever had and I loved him immensely. I will miss him forever and ever and ever.”

Lee had previously shared on Facebook that his brother had been unwell, writing three days ago: “He’s still pretty out of it but he’s coming back again. It’s going to be a long road for him but his family is giving him a lot of support. He has many more songs to write.”


Last year, Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan passed away at his home in Killarney, Ireland on February 22, aged 57.

Let me put this letter on Van’s grave. ???????????????Van Conner bassist and song writer of Screaming Trees died last…

Posted by Gary Lee Conner on Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Conner co-founded Screaming Trees alongside his brother, Lanegan and drummer Mark Pickerel in Ellensburg in 1984. Though they became widely associated with the grunge genre, they were known for their hard rock and psychedelic sound.

They produced several EPs and eventually signed with SST Records, releasing their second record Even If And Especially When in 1987. They then signed with Epic Records in 1990 and released their major label debut album Uncle Anesthesia – which was co-produced by Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell – in 1991.

Screaming Trees had success with the single “Bed Of Roses” and released their most successful album Sweet Oblivion in 1992. Its lead single “Nearly Lost You” was included on the soundtrack of Cameron Crowe’s romantic comedy Singles.

After an extended hiatus, they released Dust in 1996. But due to tensions in the band, they announced their official break-up in 2000. A previously unreleased album, titled Last Words: The Final Recordings, was their last record, arriving in 2011.


Mike Johnson, who has played in Dinosaur Jr. and Lanegan’s band, paid tribute to Conner, writing on Twitter. “Rest in Peace and Power to one of the very greatest, a true gentleman and great songwriter/musician Van Conner you will be dearly missed by so many. Love to you forever.”

See more tributes below.


Originally published on NME

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