Witness – Screaming Trees

If there isn’t a Screaming Trees track on this here blog by now I’ll be surprised but ‘THIS ONE’ comes with a bit of a story.

A few years back I was featured on a radio show talking about the Screaming Trees and their awesome final album Dust. I had been on a couple of shows in previous months as a self proclaimed ‘Grunge consultant’ and had talked about various bands including Counting Crows, The Bronx, The Meat Puppets and Bush. But this was to be my last broadcast.

When asked why Dust was everything I had claimed it to be (a high watermark for Lanegan, The Trees and Alternative rock that did not get the respect it deserved due to being released too late in the 90’s to count as seminal) I did my usual enthusiastic fandom thing. They asked which track represented the album best. I replied that Witness should have been a single.

“It’s taken everything, everything I’ve got and it’s hung me on a line, water rising up over me and I think I’m going to die, think I’m going to die”

It was a sleek and muscular rocker with a minimalist approach and no extra trimmings. It was a cold hard monster designed to do what it does quickly, directly and effectively. Like a musical shark.

Off air they’d asked if the track I was going to cue up for them had any swearing in it. I played it though in my mind. No. It was clean in the lyrics. No effing or Jeffing. Just the flat out rock of the Trees and that stunning voice of a genre Mark Lanegan.

“Shine your lonely light on me, I’ll be there to hold the mirror, I could take you down with me show you lonely, lonely, lonely”

So they played a medley from the album. We talked on air about it. About the band, about Lanegan and the Queens Of The Stone Age and then, they played the song.

“I told a lie, that’s what I said, I told the one you know I’ll always keep, whose God is mine, whose God is mine, whose God is mine, whose God is the one with the witness”

As the song played I spitballed with the DJ a bit off air. We joked about rocking out while sitting down and moshing in strange places (the car, the cinema, the back of a bus).

At the end of the feature they thanked me and I said it was cool. I was glad to hear Witness on the radio even if I’d had to make it happen myself. The song deserves a wider audience. The DJ thanked me for being on and it slipped out.

‘You’re fucking welcome’


8 thoughts on “Witness – Screaming Trees

  1. Great stuff and it’s always nice to find a fellow Trees fan… they’re my favourite of the Seattle bands and are criminally overlooked. I’ve always considered the lack of attention and respect to be due to the nature of Lanegan’s lyrics and the fact that they didn’t sound heavy or ramshackle compared to some of their peers. Regardless, this is a belter of a track… one of their many highlights and I love it unreservedly.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s two great shows on YouTube if you haven’t already hit them up… Rockpalast and an earlier one from Chicago back in 89, which is outstanding.

        Liked by 1 person

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