July 21, 2021

Mark Pickerel on Screaming Trees, Recording with Nirvana, and I Have Visions

Singer, songwriter, and musician Mark Pickerel was a founding member of the Screaming Trees, a PNW band that shaped the course of grunge history in the 80s and 90s. After recording five studio albums with the Screaming Trees and recording with Nirvana as well, Mark started the bands Truly, The Dark Fantastic, and Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands, (now Pickerel and the Peyote 3). Mark has also collaborated with musical icons such as Brandi Carlile, Mark Lanegan, and Guns and Roses’ Duff McKagan over the years. Mark’s most recent album is I Have Visions.

Mark Pickerel Bryan Smith Interview

What you will learn:

  • Mark talks about his most recent album, I Have Visions, and reflects on his evolution from Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands to Pickerel and the Peyote 3. He also shares what it was like to perform live for the first time since the pandemic began. [0:00-10:25]
  • How Mark and his fellow Screaming Trees band members grew to feel a lot of PNW pride during their popularity. What it was like forming his first band in high school and graduating with two records under his belt. [10:25-21:26]
  • How his collaboration with Nirvana came about, and the catalyst that inspired Mark to shift his focus to writing and singing. [21:26-31:48]
  • How Mark has grown to enjoy the song-writing process, the inspiration he found learning that there was an audience for his songs, and how he learned to lean into vulnerability. [31:48-39:55]
  • Mark breaks down his creative process when writing songs, and describes the balance he strikes between letting inspiration flow and implementing technical structure to his music. What Dwight Yoakam taught Mark early in his songwriting career. [39:55-50:32]
  • Mark recounts his impressive history of artistic collaboration, and how much of it was born from mutual interests and respect. He shares an amazing story about his first time recording with Brandi Carlile on her first album, and how he knew right away he was, “dealing with a talent of a different caliber.” [50:32-1:02:57]
  • Why Mark chose to settle in Ellensburg, a small, a rural town in Central Washington about 90 miles from Seattle. Mark gives insight into the differences between Los Angeles and the PNW regarding songwriting and performing opportunities. Mark provides some upcoming show dates, describes his plans for future, and shares about his family life. [1:02:57-1:15:25]


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