January 20, 2023

SOUNDGARDEN's Ben Shepherd has paid tribute to founding SCREAMING TREES bassist Van Conner, who died earlier this week at age 55.

The SOUNDGARDEN bassist addressed his friend's passing in a post on SOUNDGARDEN's social media. He wrote: "I'm thinking of Van back in the days of the Lollapalooza tour we did and how he always gave me that feeling of being amidst family and of an unspoken understanding about life, and … when spoken, with an ease that seemed to make it cool, or outrageously right, like you aren't the fool the outside world tries to make you out to be. He was extremely relatable and maybe thats why he seemed to be a friend to all … i wish i had learned more from him.

"While working on a record once, i had the pleasure to hear Van's raw bass tracks he had put down previously - talk about tone city and vibe! Man, even in one note he made the songs have depth and soul and a binding factor that any architect would envy. You could literally hear the respect, consideration and intelligence in every note, there again was that unspoken knowledge, that reveal of natural cool. He blew me away and i have known ever since that session that he had a mastery and accompanied that with a kind friendly smile and ferociously loyal attitude of appreciating life in a perfectly intelligent and smartass way.

"I don't have enough knowledge or the words to help his family and close friends feel better about their loss, all of our loss, but we were all lucky to have had Van as a friend and cohort in life.

"Peace be with you Van".

The news of Van's passing was announced on Wednesday (January 18) in a Facebook post by Van's brother, SCREAMING TREES guitarist Gary Lee Conner.

Gary wrote: "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…"

Van formed SCREAMING TREES in 1985 in Ellensburg, Washington with Gary, singer Mark Lanegan and drummer Mark Pickerel. After the band's initial breakup in 2000, Van continued to write, produce and record music with his friends and family.

SCREAMING TREES were considered to be one of the pioneers of the Seattle grunge movement in the 1990s, along with THE MELVINS, MUDHONEY, SOUNDGARDEN, and more. The band released seven albums, five EPs and three compilation albums.

SCREAMING TREES' single "Nearly Lost You" was featured in the movie "Singles" and cracked the Top Five of the Billboard Modern Rock chart.

Lanegan died last February at age 57.

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