News Alternative 23/04/2002

Mark Lanegan On Layne Staley's Death: 'I Always Hoped It Wouldn't Happen'

SEATTLE (Top40 Charts) - Despite his reclusive nature over the last few years, Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley left a trail of musicians and friends behind when his death was discovered on Friday (April 19).

One such friend was ex-Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan, who has been friends with Staley for over 10 years and worked with the musician on the mid-'90s Mad Season side-project with Trees drummer Barrett Martin and Pearl Jam's Mike McCready.

"He made me be not such a pussy when it came to singing because I would see him get up night after night blowing the fucking walls out of a place no matter what was going on with him," Lanegan told on Monday (April 22) afternoon, on the phone from L.A. "He was a one-of-a-kind singer. A lot of guys nowadays try to sound like him, but nobody can sound like him."

Lanegan, who is currently working with Queens of the Stone Age, reports that he and Staley hadn't spoken as often as they had in the past. "He didn't speak to anybody as of late," says Lanegan. "It's been a few months since I talked to him. But for us to not talk for a few months is par for the course."

Mad Season
When Lanegan and Staley did speak, however, there was talk of doing some work together in the future. Unfortunately, that never came to fruition. "We talked about [working together] from time to time," says Lanegan. "But that was contingent on him having the energy and focus to be able to work, and I guess that didn't materialize."

As for the many rumors that have surrounded Staley and his well-documented drug use over the years -- such as him losing an arm due to damage from heroin addiction -- Lanegan had come to expect it. "With the circle of friends that he and I both had that shit was par for the course," he says.

But most of all, Lanegan says he has lost one of his best friends, which in the end, is what hurts most. "Personally for me, he was just a fucking great guy," he says. "He was like a brother to me and I couldn't be more sad. I always hoped that it wouldn't happen."

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