Dave Grohl Recalls Mark Lanegan’s First Words to Him: ‘Who the F Are You?’
Dave Grohl paid tribute to Mark Lanegan this week, days after Lanegan, the Screaming Trees singer and solo artist who worked with Grohl when they were both Queens of the Stone Age members, died at 57.
As part of his moving remembrance, Grohl looked back on his first meeting with Lanegan, when the Screaming Trees co-founder gave him a surly greeting.
Grohl, the Foo Fighters figurehead and former Nirvana drummer, is the latest musician to honor Lanegan. Numerous other artists and many from the Seattle grunge scene engendered by the Trees saluted Lanegan following his death on Tuesday (Feb. 22).
Talking about Lanegan's musical talent to The Independent on Thursday (Feb. 24), Grohl said, "It was so pure and so real. If he sang about pain, you believed it, and if he sang about love, you believed it."
The Foo Fighters bandleader continued, "If you know anything about his story or have read any of his books, you'll understand why he sang what he did and why he sang it the way that he did. There was nobody like him. In Seattle, he was much loved."
Sharing a personal story, Grohl recalled, "When I first joined Nirvana, I was living with [late Nirvana frontman] Kurt [Cobain] in our tiny apartment. One weekend, he said, 'Hey, I'm gonna go up to Seattle for the weekend and hang out with a friend, do you want to come?'"
"We went up to stay with his friend Dylan," Grohl said, "and we went to a show. I passed out on the couch and woke up in the morning and opened my eyes, and Mark Lanegan was sitting in a chair right across from me. His first words to me were, 'Who the f*** are you?'"
At the time, Grohl had just discovered Lanegan's first solo album — "a f***ing masterpiece," the Foo Fighter added. "It's one of my most influential records. I didn't necessarily know him as the Screaming Trees singer, I just knew him as himself. It's heartbreaking."
In 2021, Lanegan was hospitalized with COVID-19 and slipped in and out of a coma with "little hope of survival," according to his memoir Devil in a Coma, published last December. The Screaming Trees vocalist also went deaf during his illness, but he appeared to be getting better by year's end. At that point, a spokesperson said the musician had "gotten his hearing back now, but his health is up and down."
Then on Tuesday, a representative revealed Lanegan "passed away this morning at his home. … A beloved singer, songwriter, author and musician, he was 57 and is survived by his wife, Shelley. No other information is available at this time."
Lanegan led Screaming Trees from their 1984 start until their 2000 split, recording albums including Sweet Oblivion (1992) and Dust (1996) with them in that time. He then worked with Queens of the Stone Age, contributing lead and backing vocals to select songs on their albums from 2000 to 2013. He was an official member for several years. Lanegan also recorded with Isobel Campbell, Duke Garwood and others.