Van Conner, the co-founder and bassist of Screaming Trees, has died. His brother and bandmate Gary Lee Conner shared the news on social media, writing, “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…” Conner was 55 years old.
Born in 1967 in Apple Valley, California, Conner formed Screaming Trees in Ellensburg, Washington with his brother on guitar, Mark Pickerel on bass, and vocalist Mark Lanegan, who passed away last year. After releasing several records on Velvetone, the band signed with the influential indie label SST, which put out their albums Even If and Especially When, Invisible Lantern, and Buzz Factory. Rising to prominence in the Pacific Northwest rock scene that also included Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and more, Screaming Trees jumped to Epic Records in 1990 and released their major label debut, Uncle Anesthesia, which was co-produced by Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell. Its follow-up, 1992’s Sweet Oblivion, spawned the alt-radio hit ‘Nearly Lost You’, which was featured on the soundtrack of Cameron Crowe’s film Singles.
Screaming Trees issued seven studio albums before breaking up in 2000. Conner went on to work as a session musician and played with bands including Gardener, Musk Ox, and VALIS, which featured his younger brother Patrick Conner. In 2019, Conner released a solo album called Coming Back Again.