Screaming Trees, a band with both a violent-sounding name and a violent past, has mellowed with age.
Before, the Ellensburg, Wash., quartet was renowned as much for its violent squabbles between band members as it was for its music. But that's changed considerably over the past couple of years, according to bassist Van Connor."Now that we're a little older, I think, I hope, that we can act a little more like mature adults," said Connor during a telephone interview from his Ellensburg home. "(The fights) used to happen a lot in the past. But that's changed, and we're a lot happier now."
Connor said the band is really concentrating on its music rather than on personalities, as typified by its "Sweet Oblivion" CD, which has the Trees tasting some mainstream radio acceptance.
"We have a lot more time and money to be able to do what we want to do," he said. "And the record really shows that. We kicked back and did what came naturally."
With producer Don Fleming (Dim Stars, Gumball) and mixer Andy Wallace (Nirvana, Slayer), the band also found sympathetic ears that made the recording that much easier, Connor said.
"It definitely wasn't a case of too many cooks spoiling it," he said. "This really sounds how we wanted it to."
The band has already played in Salt Lake City three times (opening for Soundgarden at the dearly departed Speedway Cafe, opening for Social Distortion and heading at the Bar & Grill). The band will headline a Thursday, April 1, show at the State Fairpark Horticulture Building.
"It seems to me that Salt Lake audiences are always kind of crazy," he said. "But we like them and we like that."
Something the band isn't too keen on, though, is critics and writers lumping them in with the trendy and nebulous Seattle "grunge" movement.
"We're nothing like that," Connor lamented. "Fortunately, not everyone is doing that, but I wish a lot of critics would start concentrating on the individual bands and rather than on an area or a sound."
New to Screaming Trees is drummer Barrett Martin (ex-Skin Yard), who brings a "kind-of-John-Bonham (Led Zeppelin)" feel to the band, unlike departed Trees skin-pounder Mark Pickerel, who quit after too many confrontations with band members and was "more like Keith Moon (the Who)," according to Connor.
Tickets for the concert, which also features the Poster Children, are $15.50 in advance from Sound Off locations and Graywhale CD locations. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. The concert is a Scott Arnold production.