Screaming Trees Bassist Passes Away, Age 55

19 January 2023 | 9:23 am | Mary Varvaris

"He was one of the closest friends I ever had and I loved him immensely."

Screaming Trees

Screaming Trees (Source: AllMusic)

Screaming Trees bassist and co-founder, Van Conner, has passed away at age 55 following an extended illness, his brother revealed on social media. 

Gary Lee Conner, who also played guitar in the band, wrote on Facebook: "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."

Three days ago, Gary Lee commented on his brother's condition, writing, "we nearly lost him." He wrote that last year, Van was in a coma twice - the first time following emergency stomach surgery and the second due to Covid and a blood clot in his lung. "He's still pretty out of it but he's coming back again," Gary Lee added. "He has many more songs to write..."

Last year, Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan passed away, age 57. 

Lanegan co-founded Screaming Trees alongside the Conner brothers and drummer Mark Pickerel in the mid-‘80s, a band that cut their teeth alongside the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and more; their 1991 album Uncle Anesthesia was co-produced by Chris Cornell before Queens Of The Stone Age’s Joshua Homme joined the band as a touring member in the mid-‘90s.

Conner, a grunge pioneer with his bandmates, played on seven Screaming Trees albums until the group disbanded in 2000. Conner was also a session musician, releasing records with alternative rock bands VALIS. He also performed in the side projects Gardener and Solomon Grundy and briefly joined the touring lineup of the influential indie rock group, Dinosaur Jr.

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Pickerel has shared a tribute to his bandmate, writing, "Let us lower the flannel flag to half-mast,while we celebrate the life of my dear friend and bandmate, Van Conner, who crossed over to the other side, early this AM. Hearts are heavy, as we're just a year shy of the anniversary of fellow member-Mark Lanegan's untimely departure". Read more tributes below.