The alt. rock world salutes late Screaming Trees bassist Van Conner: "Let us lower the flannel flag to half-mast"

Screaming Trees in 1992
Van Conner, right, with Screaming Trees in 1992 (Image credit: Niels van Iperen/Getty Images)

Peers and friends from the '90s alternative rock scene have paid tribute to The Screaming Trees bassist Van Conner, whose death, at the age of 55, was announced today (January 18).

The news of Conner's passing was confirmed in a Facebook post by Van's brother Gary Lee Conner, the band's guitarist. 

"Van Conner, bassist and song writer of Screaming Trees, died last night of an extended illness at 55," he wrote. "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."

Musicians from the Pacific North-West rock community have been paying tribute to their late friend.

Commenting beneath Gary Lee Conner's Instagram post, Pearl Jam / Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron wrote, "So sorry for your loss Gary", adding a broken heart emoji.

Original Screaming Trees drummer Mark Pickerel tweeted: "Let us lower the flannel flag to half-mast, while we celebrate the life of my dear friend and bandmate, Van Conner, who crossed over to the other side, early this AM. Hearts are heavy, as we're just a year shy of the anniversary of fellow member - Mark Lanegan's untimely departure."

Former Tad frontman Tad Doyle posted: "So sorry to hear that this kind human being has passed. My sympathy and condolences go out to the surviving family, friends, and fans. Van was a straight up, good dude."

"Very sad to hear the news of Van Conner's passing, far too young," posted photographer Charles Peterson, whose photos for Sub Pop helped define the grunge aesthetic.

Dinosaur Jr. posted: "We will miss Van Conner, shit. I’m gonna listen to his LP. I suggest you do the same, and think about what an awesome person he was."

Former Dinosaur Jr. bassist and Mark Lanegan collaborator Mike Johnson wrote: "Rest in Peace and Power to one of the very greatest, a true gentleman and great songwriter/musician Van Conner you will be dearly missed by so many. Love to you forever."

Music writer Mark Yarm, author of the definitive grunge oral history Everybody Loves Our Town tweeted: "Shit, I just heard the news. I interviewed Van a bunch for my book (once IRL outside a gig in Tacoma, I think) and for a couple of articles. He was a kindhearted guy and tolerated my many Screaming Trees questions. My condolences to his family and friends."

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Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.