My name is Gary Lee Conner. I was born in the desert. in Fort Irwin, California in 1962. Four years later, when I saw a star, I expressed my desire to have a little brother and Van arrived in 1967. This is the beginning of what the Screaming Trees would become. We were brothers with their little regional friends from Ellensburg, Washington, and in the following decades we would live out our rock ‘n’ roll dream. And that way, to our surprise, we were going to play our little part in rock history.
It all started with a box of 45 rpm records. Our mother, Cathy, graduated from high school in 1957. She was the culmination of two musical generations, before and after rock ‘n’ roll. Fortunately, she walked in the direction of Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis etc. That’s what was in the box, the rock ‘n’ roll of the fifties. As kids, Van and I “eat” those things and probably did a good job consuming those records. When we were really young, before the beginning of the seventies, the music we were exposed to was just this. The only musical memories I have of the ’60s are cheap Beatles cartoons on Saturday morning and then I heard from Walter Cronkite a few years later, on the evening news, that they broke up.
As we get a little older, we become more aware of the presence of other music as well. It was one of the first rock albums we really got into Cosmo Factory By Credence Clearwater Revival. We found out after our parents’ friend dropped him off at our house after a party. Rock music was ubiquitous in the early ’70s and we were about to dive deep into that sea.
Every Saturday the most exciting thing in Ellensburg was going with my mother to “sales” in the gardens of private homes. By the early 1970s, the hippie generation was heading into their thirties and that seemed to mean shedding their teenage habits, including listening to recordings. At the time, used sales were a goldmine of cheap vinyl in the 1960s. We’ve restored all the original Beatles and Rolling Stones records in their American prints and much more. The public library was another great place to listen to music, which I discovered Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (trout mask), The white album The Beatles At the request of demonic majesty By The Rolling Stones (complete with 3D Cover!). Later, when we started buying records, we were fortunate enough to own a big record store in town called Ace Records, which filled the shelves with all manner of dark gems that we were soon going to loot.
The album was the most significant and influential in these hippie backyard searches Get kicked out of Jams from MC5. I didn’t listen to it right away, but after reading about the band in rock encyclopedia By Lillian Roxon (1970 edition), I immediately rotated it onto the board. At that point in my life (I was fifteen or sixteen years old), I became a huge rock fan, I was kind of arrogant and listened mainly to Yes, King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but with superhuman strength. And in the artistic expression of the MC5 there was something inside that shocked us. It was a harbinger of my future immersion in punk, new wave and other genres in the early ’80s.
Around the same time, Van and I started visiting the local pawn shop, BJ’s, and buying cheap guitars. I had lessons to run for two months in fifth grade, but I gave up; However, I always had the acoustic guitar at home and played with it occasionally, and gradually learned to play on my own. One of our favorite things—before we actually learned to play—was getting dressed up in bright, crazy clothes, putting on American flags for ponchos, and singing and playing our guitars while we listened. Get kicked out of Jams. We found our true love: We wanted to be part of a squad.
The night I graduated from high school in 1980, I made a decision. What I’ve ever wanted to do in my life is play in a real band, the kind that makes albums. Van and I had no idea how to go about it, and living in a small rural college town like Ellensburg in eastern Washington certainly wouldn’t help. In the early 1980s, she also tried to graduate in music from Central Washington University in Ellensburg. However, my main study instrument was the trumpet, but I didn’t like playing it very much. My true love in life was only electric guitar, but my musical training in school had nothing to do with guitar. My studies did not help me realize what my ambition was. Two years later I left college. At that time, Fan (who was in high school at the time) and I started a band with some of his friends.
During this time, we were discovering new music all the time. We’ve come to love every aspect of rock, from punk to new wave, to heavy metal. Everything that sounds rock is worth listening to. Around 1985, I decided to buy a Fostex X15 four-track cassette deck. For us it was a revelation. When I was in my twenties, I was very fond of writing poetry, but I could never turn my writing into songs. The songs were the key to everything. We realized we could be a real band and play our own stuff. With the help of Mark Lanigan and Mark Pickrell, the Scream Trees were born. We went to the local studio and recorded a demo (other worlds) with producer Steve Fisk. Within a short period of time, studio owner Sam Albright helped us release our first album, clairvoyance, on her Velvetone label. It was black vinyl and our music was there! As far as we were concerned, we made it happen. We were a real band. A dream come true. or not?
We continued our musical journey, and whether it was luck or fate, we were able to expand our aspirations by signing with SST (and that was indeed a dream come true!), touring the US and Europe and then also signing a major contract with Epic Records. Then things took a strange turn.
In 1991 the independent music scene changed abruptly, with an explosion of new interest from the public due to nirvana and all that “grunge” music. What was underground in the ’80s was now at the forefront of popular music in the early ’90s. Suddenly, the bands we loved like MC5 or the Stooges became the biggest bands in the world. We were in a situation where we could savor that wonderful moment for a bit.
The ’90s had ups and downs and ups and downs for the band, but we kept our commitment to writing good songs and trying to create great albums. There were many personal and professional challenges, some of which were marked by drugs, alcohol, and the general madness of the music industry, but it was all still part of the dream.
In the spring of 1993, Screaming Trees topped Seattle’s Paramount Theater. The show was sold out and we were playing live on stage as we have seen many concerts of our favorite bands in previous years. It was definitely the highlight of our career. While appearing, Mark Lanigan came out and sang two songs and then left the stage as he often did. Usually, we stayed longer to play another song, where I or Fan sang. This time, however, something clicked in our heads. Suddenly we found ourselves in our bedroom emulating MC5s, but now we’re playing come together On the ground, in front of thousands of our fans. A dream come true! Previously…
It turned out to be a very surreal dream. Van and I and the other screaming trees did what our musical heroes did. We went places and did things we couldn’t have imagined in our bedroom in the ’70s. And after all these years, it seems like more than that; It seems that he got seriously involved in the real history of rock music. Van and I lived our dream. And I can say, even if I’m a little shy, I’m proud to know that for some people we’ve become musical heroes ourselves.
Introduction of the book Hidden poison. Tree Screaming Story Written by David Pansulin, Tsunami Edison.