The bassist and founding member of influential grunge band Screaming Trees has died, aged 55, his brother Gary Lee Conner, the band's guitarist has confirmed.
"Van Conner, bassist and songwriter of Screaming Trees, died last night of an extended illness at 55," Gary Lee posted.
"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."
Luminaries of the alt-rock world were quick to pay tribute last night, just under a year since Mark Lanegan, the band's charismatic lead singer also passed away.
"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," Mark Pickerel, Screaming Trees' original drummer wrote on twitter. "Hearts are heavy, as we're just a year shy of the anniversary of fellow member - Mark Lanegan's untimely departure."
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 pic.twitter.com/w1XeOZ7Tn3January 18, 2023
Dinosaur Jr.'s social accounts added to the tributes: "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."
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. https://t.co/oJjCHLKVf1January 18, 2023
Van Conner was born in California in 1967, and formed Explosive Generation, the band that would evolve into Screaming Trees with brother Gary Lee and Drummer Mark Pickerill in high school. Mark Lanegan joined the line-up in 1985.
Debut LP Clairvoyance sold better than expected - 2500 copies - and the band were snapped up by SST for their sophomore album, Even If and Especially When, but it was when the band moved to Seattle and signed with Epic that the Trees' career shifted up a gear with fifth album, Buzz Factory, before peaking with Sweet Oblivion in 1992, and 1996’s Dust.
The band's final album was 2011's Last Words: The Final Recordings. The LP was actually recorded in 1998 and 1999, but shelved as the band split in 2000.