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Publisher's Summary

International Best Seller

A gritty, gripping memoir by the singer Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age, Soulsavers), chronicling his years as a singer and drug addict in Seattle in the '80s and '90s

"Mark Lanegan - primitive, brutal, and apocalyptic. What's not to love?" (Nick Cave, author of The Sick Bag Song and The Death of Bunny Munro)

When Mark Lanegan first arrived in Seattle in the mid-1980s, he was just "an arrogant, self-loathing redneck waster seeking transformation through rock 'n' roll." Little did he know that within less than a decade, he would rise to fame as the frontman of the Screaming Trees, and then fall from grace as a low-level crack dealer and a homeless heroin addict, all the while watching some of his closest friends rocket to the forefront of popular music.

In Sing Backwards and Weep, Lanegan takes listeners back to the sinister, needle-ridden streets of Seattle, to an alternative music scene that was simultaneously bursting with creativity and dripping with drugs. He tracks the tumultuous rise and fall of the Screaming Trees, from a brawling, acid-rock bar band to world-famous festival favorites that scored a hit number five single on Billboard's alternative charts and landed a notorious performance on Late Night with David Letterman, where Lanegan appeared sporting a fresh black eye from a brawl the night before. 

This book also dives into Lanegan's personal struggles with addiction, culminating in homelessness, petty crime, and the tragic deaths of his closest friends. From the back of the van to the front of the bar, from the hotel room to the emergency room, onstage, backstage, and everywhere in between, Sing Backwards and Weep reveals the abrasive underlining beneath one of the most romanticized decades in rock history - from a survivor who lived to tell the tale. 

Gritty, gripping, and unflinchingly raw, Sing Backwards and Weep is a book about more than just an extraordinary singer who watched his dreams catch fire and incinerate the ground beneath his feet. It's about a man who learned how to drag himself from the wreckage, dust off the ashes, and keep living and creating.

©2020 Mark Lanegan (P)2020 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Sing Backwards and Weep is powerfully written and brutally, frighteningly honest. First thought that came to my mind was, 'Mark Lanegan gives the term bad boy a whole new meaning.' These are gritty, wild tales of hardcore drugs, sex, and grunge. But this is also the story of a soulful artist who refused the darkness when it tried to swallow him whole. And who found redemption through grace and the power of his unique and brilliant music. Finally, the song becomes truth. And the truth becomes song." (Lucinda Williams)

"Harrowing, edgy, tense, and hypnotic. A very truthful, sobering account of what it's like in the throes of addiction, with shades of Bukowski, Burroughs, and Hunter S. Thompson." (Gerard Johnson, director and writer of Tony, Hyena, and Muscle)

"A stunning tally of the sacrifices that sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll demand of its mortal instruments." (Kirkus Reviews)

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What listeners say about Sing Backwards and Weep

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Love you, Mark

I finished this audiobook in 36 hrs. Sleep and work kept me from finishing it in a day. I loved every minute of it .

16 people found this helpful

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A history of a beloved musician I knew little about.

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook and Lanegan did a wonderful job reading it. A harrowing tale of rock stardom, severe addiction and brushes and friendships with some of Seattle and the world’s most renowned musicians. Unbelievable tales of trying to maintain heroin addictions on the road. I was always wondering what went wrong with the trees and it’s all in there. His music has changed my life and it was a pure pleasure to hear more about the music that enriched my life and the darkness that was most definitely an inspiration behind it.
Thought I might add, the Liam Gallagher story had me rolling.
Thanks Lanegan for the wonderful book. I am so glad to hear more about your history and those whose music made my life bearable. Thank you!

15 people found this helpful

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Came for the music, stayed for the drugs

An absolutely riveting memoir. I was a Trees fan back in the nineties and am a musician myself, so I am drawn to rock memoirs. But the music in Mark’s story is not at the center. It is his crippling addictions and the harrowing, cringy, sad, frustrating, and at times hilarious anecdotes that leave you shaking your head and in wonder of how he is still alive and/or didn’t end up in prison. One of the better rock memoirs. Glad he made it through.

13 people found this helpful

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Heartbreaking, chilling, and beautiful.

Mark's storytelling is remarkable. I listened to this book, and at many points had to stop, collect my thoughts, and reflect on how Mark could still be alive.

At the onset of the recording, there is a slight 'sigh'...as if he's taking a reluctant deep breath, readying himself to tell his story. A final, 'here goes nothing'. From there, the story begins innocuously enough, a small-town boy seeking something bigger and better. I could empathize with his woes having grown up in a small town myself. But, soon after, the chapters begin to take chilling twists and turns. I could literally feel myself getting frustrated with him for being so, repeatedly, stupid. (Sorry Mark, it's true!). The universe clearly had better plans for him because no one person should have survived what he's put himself through in his 50+ years.

Definitely worth the listen! And the first listen on Audible.com that's prompted me to write a review.

12 people found this helpful

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Heartbreaking but uplifting.

I've been listening to Mark Lanegan sing since the 80's and followed him to his solo career and into Queens of the Stone Age and other artists he's worked with. I always knew the darkness that his voice and lyrics bring to the surface but did not know the story behind them. This memoir is utterly amazing, heartbreaking but rises like a phoenix and captures your soul. I met Mark once after a show and told him he was my hero. He said to me "you must be crazy" no I wasn't. I was exactly right.

9 people found this helpful

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Harrowing tales

I just finished listening to Mark's own reading of his book on Audible. What a harrowing tale of Rock N' Roll depravity and survival. It was gritty as fuck and poetic throughout. There were endless staggeringly ugly moments and beautiful ones. It's truly amazing that he's still here; there are so many that aren't now. The interpersonal moments were where the book shined for me, the behind the scenes touching moments with Layne, Kurt and Chris especially. The raw telling of his youth and dysfunctional family gave rare insight to what created his dark, brooding poet in the making. I'm proud of Mark for making this laid bare, soul baring story of his life. Anthony Bourdain encouraged him to write it and he followed through with his promise to finish it. It's sad that he's not here to read it himself now. I'd love to read second book of his life since getting clean and making the best music of his life in the last 20 years.

5 people found this helpful

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Greatnesses

Not a screening trees fan at all. What a story. I heard mine in there a bunch. All that pain and destruction.All that shame and disgrace.All that evil and hell. Still alive and sober. I cried, laughed and cried again. Mark...thank you. Layne...I’m sorry and Kurt...Rest easy and Courtney...wow I didn’t know. A great painful listen. Not for the faint of heart

4 people found this helpful

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Just buy it.

If you're a fan of late 80's early 90's music from Seattle this book is a must read. Amazing.

3 people found this helpful

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One of the best I have heard!

I have listened to over 30 of these and this one of the top 3. Excellent story read by the author. Worth your time.

3 people found this helpful

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Incredible

A rare and priceless insight to a very particular time and place. It’s amazing Mark survived to tell the story and hearing his voice reading is an absolute gift.

2 people found this helpful