The Time Screaming Trees' Mark Lanegan Performed On Letterman With A Black Eye

Screaming Trees emerged from the Seattle grunge rock scene in the 1980s. In its early days, the band featured Mark Lanegan handling the vocals, Lee Connor and his brother Van playing guitar and bass respectively, and Mark Pickerel on drums (via AllMusic). Lanegan had known the Connor brothers from his days growing up in Ellensburg, Washington, and the trio had even played together for a time while in school. They bonded over their shared love of punk and indie rock.

After their 1991 album "Uncle Anesthesia," Pickerel left the band and Barrett Martin took over the drum kit duties. Their next record, "Sweet Oblivion," would prove to be a commercial breakthrough, but there was a lot brewing with the band behind the scenes, according to Louder Sound. Lanegan was in the throes of drug addiction, and things sometimes became so heated between the Connor brothers that they fought each other in the studio. It was only a matter of time before the public caught a glimpse of all the tension and trouble within the group.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Screaming Trees got into a brawl

The record "Sweet Oblivion" featured "Nearly Lost You," one of the Screaming Trees' biggest hits. This song got a big boost from being on the soundtrack of the popular 1992 film "Singles," which starred Matt Dillon, Bridget Fonda, Campbell Scott, and Kyra Sedgwick. The band made several appearances to promote the song and their album, but none as infamous as their performance on "Late Night with David Letterman."

The band's guest spot on "Letterman" on October 16, 1992, was their first appearance on network TV, but this career breakthrough for the band was somewhat overshadowed by the events of the night before. According to Louder Sound, the group had a wild night in Asbury Park, New Jersey. They were hanging outside of a bar when some locals decided to challenge the quartet. Never ones to shy away from a fight, Screaming Trees started throwing punches at their adversaries who soon ran off.

David Letterman was a bit frightened of the band

The bar brawl in Asbury Park definitely left its mark on the Screaming Trees. Besides bumps and bruises, Lanegan walked away with a black eye (via Louder Sound). Martin was even worse for wear, though. He had dislocated his shoulder, which left him unable to play the next day.

When they got to the television studio for the "Letterman" taping, Lanegan had no interest in covering up his battle scar. He refused to let the show's makeup artists put anything on his face to hide his black eye, according to Lanegan's memoir "Sing Backwards and Weep." The band (minus Martin) still managed to give an impressive performance on the show. After Screaming Trees finished, the show's host David Letterman praised the band. He then admitted, "I'll be honest with you, I was kind of scared." He may have been right to be a bit worried about them since the group got into a food fight at the end of the show.