Taking the road less traveled, the Screaming Trees came together in Seattle amidst the heart of the grunge scene to create a sound that fused psychedelic '60s folk with the hard-edges of early '80s punk. Like their peers, of course, they were a part of the Sub Pop label, but they signed with Epic records in 1989, before most other "grunge" bands even considered the possibility of a major label deal. When they originally formed in the mid-1980s, Screaming Trees, the sibling duo of Van Conner (bass) and Gary Lee Conner (guitar), Mark Pickerel (drums) and vocalist Mark Lanegan, rooted themselves in the punk and indie music of the late 70's and early '80s and gravitated towards each other after graduating from the same high school. Their first album, Clairvoyance, from Velvetone Studios, was released in 1986. With that and their sophomore effort, Even If and Especially When the band toured the floundering indie scene, slowly building a fan base. Despite working on side projects throughout the late '80s, Screaming Trees signed their deal with Epic and recorded their major label debut, Uncle Anesthesia, which was co-produced by then little known Soundgarden front-man, Chris Cornell. Their breakthrough hit, "Nearly Lost You," off the Singles soundtrack, brought them into the mainstream and to the pinnacle of their success in the fall of 1992. In 1996, the group released Dust, which they promoted while touring on that summer's Lollapalooza tour. Screaming Trees broke up in 2000.
It was a rare group in Seattle group willing to ignore the temptation of the grunge scene in the early nineties and Screaming Trees definitely chose a hard path. In the summer of 1993, while their contemporaries, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden, were becoming the toast of the new genre, Screaming Trees toured with the jam band turned pop group Spin Doctors and former garage band Soul Asylum. "Nearly Lost You" may have moved them into the mainstream, but songs like "Dollar Bill" and "All I Know" showed they had the talent to keep it going. What's amazing is that all through the Trees' run, they were working on so many other things, it's crazy they were even able to remain a band. Pull Sweet Oblivion from the bottom of your CD pile and pop it in. You'll see what we're talking about.