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Nick Cave pays tribute to Mark Lanegan: “That voice tears right through you”

Cave and Lanegan collaborated and performed together previously

By Charlotte Krol

Nick Cave and Mark Lanegan pose onstage in a composite image
Nick Cave; Mark Lanegan. (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Raph_PH; Wikimedia Commons/alterna2

Nick Cave has shared a moving tribute to Mark Lanegan who died earlier this week.

The singer posted a message on his Red Hand Files blog, remembering the ex-Screaming Trees and Queens Of The Stone Age singer as a “beautiful soul” whose “voice tears right through you”.

Lanegan, who also performed solo, died on Tuesday (February 22) from causes that are currently unknown or have not been shared by his family. He died aged 57 at his home in Killarney, Ireland.

Cave, who performed and collaborated with Lanegan in the past, wrote: “I encountered Mark many times over the years — we engaged in some extremely dubious escapades back in the ’90s; he sang ‘White Light/White Heat’ and ‘Fire and Brimstone’ with Warren [Ellis] and me on the Lawless soundtrack; he recorded my favourite ever Nick Cave cover — an astonishing version of ‘Brompton Oratory’; we did something together for the Jeffrey Lee Pierce record, I think; and he toured and hung out with us on The Bad Seeds’ 2013 Australian tour.

“Go online and watch Mark sing Blixa’s ‘father’ part with me in ‘The Weeping Song’ on that tour,” Cave added, which you can watch below.

Cave continued: “As a frontman, I move around a lot on stage, I can’t help it, it is a habitual nervous thing, a kind of neurotic compensation for a voice I have never felt that comfortable with.

“But watch Mark, watch how he walks onto the stage, plants himself at the mic stand, one tattooed fist halfway down the stand, the other resting on top of the mic, immobile, massive, male. When the time comes to sing, he simply opens his mouth and releases a blues, a blues lived deeply and utterly earned, and that voice tears right through you, his sheer force on stage absolutely humbling.

“A greatness, Mark, a greatness — a true singer, a superb writer and beautiful soul, loved by all.”

Tributes from other musicians have poured in for Lanegan. The Manic Street Preachers, who worked with Lanegan last year on their album, ‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’, said they were “devastated” by the “heartbreaking news”.

Mark Lanegan
Mark Lanegan has died at the age of 57. (Photo: Teresa Sedó/Creative Commons)

Other famous names paying tribute included authors Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin, and musicians Peter Hook, Warren Ellis and Shirley Manson from Garbage.

Meanwhile, a false report of the death of Queen Elizabeth II earlier this week may have arisen from a misunderstanding relating to Lanegan’s passing.

Lanegan sang on early Queens Of The Stone Age records with the band’s chief vocalist/songwriter Josh Homme. Those albums included 2000’s ‘Rated R’ and 2002’s ‘Songs For The Deaf’.

A source suggested to Buzzfeed that the unexpected death of the former Queens Of The Stone Age singer may have led to a mix-up, with news of his passing announced on the same day of the incorrect report about the Queen.