Listen free for 30 days

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

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 front man of the Screaming Trees, 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 favourites that scored a hit number five single on Billboard's Alternative charts and landed a notorious performance on David Letterman, where Lanegan appeared sporting a fresh black eye from a brawl the night before. 

This audiobook 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 romanticised decades in rock history - from a survivor who lived to tell the tale.    

Gritty, gripping and unflinchingly raw, Sing Backwards and Weep is an audiobook about more than just an extraordinary singer who watched his dreams catch fire and incinerate the ground beneath his feet. Instead, 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 Orion Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"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

What listeners say about Sing Backwards and Weep

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    332
  • 4 Stars
    32
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    304
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    288
  • 4 Stars
    35
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Compelling and sad

As a fan of much of Mark's music, including Screaming Trees (Howling Branches!!) I listened to this soon after it came out. I wasn't sure what to expect. First observations - this is really well written, in fact I checked to see if ghost writers involved and apparently not. In addition, Mark's reverence for Blood Meridian makes a lot of sense in how he has set out the words - it has the spareness of Cormac McCarthy. Second observation - Mark voice is perfect for telling his story and he delivers a great performance. Third observation - it becomes quickly apparent that the book's focus is on Mark's increasing descent into addiction and this dominates the narrative. Fourth observation - the insights into aspects of the Seattle music scene and other troubled characters is fascinating and for many the sections covering Mark's friendship with Kurt Cobain will be more revealing than other works devoted to Kurt's life, including his final days. Fifth observation - Mark is brutally honest about his earlier musical output and as a fan of his music this was really interesting and chimed with my view: Trees records up to Sweet Oblivion are not great, Winding Sheet not great, Whiskey for the Holy Ghost stands out and marked an achievement which Mark remains proud of. Final observation - whilst there is a lot of self awareness and critical self analysis I found this jarred with Mark's ongoing grudges based on historic spats and fixation with physical dominance. Whilst I appreciate this may be his outlook its not something I warmed to and for such a personal experience kept pushing me away from his character.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brutally honest, painful, utterly compelling!

There aren't many books I've read or listened to that have held my attention so much that I finish them in a week!

But this one from Mark Lanegan is such a book.

Lanegan is an enigmatic character, and I always knew there was something damaged about him, but had never investigated his life enough to know more than love his songs.

But wow! I am so glad I listened to this.

I knew I'd love it as soon as I heard his rough, smoky voice melting into my ears. The story is non stop trauma, suffering, violence, depravity, pain and loss. It's a harrowing read, and for most of the almost 12 hours of listening, my near constant thought has been 'how the **** is he still alive to be telling this tale?/ If the massive amount of drugs he has consumed over his addict years didn't kill him, he surely should have died as a result of the crime and violence he was immersed in.

His frank honesty about what a scumbag he was, and his vulnerability in what he shares about himself makes the book absolutely compelling. It's not for the faint hearted, and definitely not for you if you are sensitive to swearing, but it's such a powerful read because of all that.

I've been mesmerised by it, and am 100% certain that he is going to be at the heart of my Spotify choices for a few weeks, as I explore his lyrics and how they relate to what I know understand about the man.

The last chapter brought tears to my eyes, not the first chapter to do so, but the first one that brought tears of happiness at knowing that he found his way through the chaos he lived in for so long.

If you are interested in him, the music scene he comes from, addiction and the mind of an addict, or have any interest in Adverse Childhood Experiences and what they can do to a person, this is a phenomenal book to get. Lanegan comes across as a deeply unpleasant character by his own brutally frank admission, but you can't help but empathise with him, because you know some of the things that shaped him. I'd highly recommend you get the Audible version of it so you can listen to Mark himself reading it to you. It's magical.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brutally honest, intense and really funny

Having Lanegan read his own words makes this amazing story perfect. Couldn't stop listening irrespective of how dark and twisted it got. Mark's writing style is spot on - witty, succinct - he never lost ne at any point.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Quietly disturbing yet wonderful

Being a big fan of Mark's solo work I had already read and enjoyed the physical book. This audible version adds a level of depth and brutal honesty I missed when reading the book due to Mark's fantastic delivery and pace.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Hilarious, Harrowing, Heartbreaking

I had already bought my physical copy of this book and was excited to dive in. By chance I had a look on Audible and saw that, not only was it available here, Lanegan had read it himself. I had to spend a credit on that, and burned through it in a couple of days, listening with every spare minute. It was one of the best listening experiences I've ever had. Harrowing, heartbreaking, and hilarious in equal measures. Lanegan is a master storyteller, as well as a genius musician. It must've been incredibly hard for him to write and record this, but he's created yet another piece of dark art. I'm a lifelong fan of his music, but even if I'd never heard of him before, this book still would've been amongst my favourites. Thank you for everything big man!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed it

I dont have the patience to read any book ,Mark did a good job narrating this , I did enjoy it and could relate to alot of it. Honest book and an insight into some of my other musical influences, including Greg Sage . Good work Mark , hope he found time for the demo I gave him in Belfast near 20 years ago .

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb

A visceral, sparse, unflinching memoir which will be appreciated even by those who are not huge fans of Lanegan. It does an excellent job of capturing an era in music, and provides harrowing insight into the spiral of an enormously talented man. Unusually, refreshingly, there is virtually no ego to be seen. Very highly recommend.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I couldn't listening !!!!!! buy it , steal it !!

if you are a lanegan fan you might think you know what to expect but his candour about how things happened in his life, his friends, lovers and enemy's from his point of view are astonishing and frank . He never at any point spares him self to come across as the innocent party or the 'miss understood good guy' . It can be quite tough and bleak in places but if you have a gallows type humour it will make out laugh heartily in places . it is a 100 % fascinating, brilliantly written read .
And if you aren't a fan ,or unfamiliar with his music you will love this book regardless!!!! oh and do your self a favour . Go out and buy his music . He is if not already then he certainly will be an icon !!!!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

So real

The story this man has is nothing like I’ve ever heard. Truly opens your eyes to things.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Modern classic

Mark proves once again he’s one of the most original artists of the last 4 decades. This is an instant classic that anyone interested in the alternative music scene of the 90’s must read.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 19-05-20

Chilling to the bone but addictive as dope

If there's one certainty in life, it's that only the voice of Mark Lanegan may narrate this dark dopesick memoir. A+++