Screaming Trees co-founder dies following extended illness

Van Conner - Image Twitter MathewBox

The co-founder and bassist of the alternative band Screaming Trees has died following an extended illness according to his brother.

Gary Lee posted on social media on Wednesday, January 18 that Van Conner has died at the age of 55.

Lee said: “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.”

His death leaves just Lee as the sole surviving member of the original band line up with singer Mark Lanegan having passed away last year.

Founded in 1984, Screaming Trees mixed psychedelia-influenced sound with the sounds of several other indie bands building a strong following. Originally releasing several low-budget albums on the Velvetone Label, the band moved to SST Records and went on to become one of the most influential bands on the American Indie scene.

That genre morphed into the grunge scene that was set alight by Lanegan´s friend and drug pal, Kurt Cobain. The band worked with a number of legendary artists including Chris Cornell and were firm favourites at Lollapalooza.

Their last album was released in 2011, long after it was recorded after it was turned down by the major music publishers. By that stage singer Lanegan has left the band (1996) to form Queens of the Stone Age with guitarist Josh Homme.

With the Screaming Trees co-founder having died following an extended illness, it marks the end of an era and the possibility of any reunions.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]