In Memoriam: Van Conner

Van and Gary Lee Conner

Sad news to report as Van Conner, co-founder and bassist of Screaming Trees, has passed away after a long illness. He was 55 years old. His brother and bandmate Gary Lee shared the news on Facebook.

“Van Conner, bassist and songwriter of Screaming Trees, died last night of an extended illness at 55. It was pneumonia that got him in the end,” he wrote. “He was one of the closest friends I ever had, and I loved him immensely. I will miss him forever and ever and ever.”

The Conner brothers had a band called Explosive Generation with drummer Mark Pickerel that would evolve into Screaming Trees with the addition of singer Mark Lanegan. They formed in Ellensburg, Washington, and moved to Seattle in the late ’80s to become part of the blossoming alternative rock scene. Van Conner was with the band throughout their entire career and is featured on all ten albums.

The band had its biggest success in 1992 with Sweet Oblivion, which featured the radio hit “Nearly Lost You.”

Conner had a side project called Solomon Grundy during that same time and also served as Dinosaur Jr’s live bassist for a time. The Screaming Trees ultimately broke up in 2000, after which he focused on session work. He also worked with the bands VALIS and Musk Ox.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Van Conner.

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