Grunge icon Mark Lanegan opened up in his new memoir Devil in a Coma, detailing his near-death experience battling COVID-19, which lasted for months and led to hallucinogenic visions and a medically-induced coma.
The 57-year-old Ellensburg, Washington-born Lanegan published an excerpt of the memoir in The Guardian on Monday (December 20). In the chapter, Lanegan, who rose to fame with the grunge band The Screaming Trees in the early 90s, wrote:
“I had been feeling weak and sick for a few days and then woke up one morning completely deaf. My equilibrium shaky, and my mind in a surreal, psychedelic dream state, I lost my footing at the top of the stairs. Head over heels over head, I knocked myself out on the windowsill as I crashed down the narrow staircase at my house. Bang. My wife was out horseback riding for the day, and I came to hours later still unable to hear a thing, unable to move, two huge opened welts on my head and my knee not supporting any weight.
“For two days I tried to get from stairwell to couch, with no success. I could not move, nor could my wife support my 200lb body, so I lay suffering on some blankets on the hard floor. My ribs were cracked, my spine bruised, battered and sore, and my already chronically messed-up knee gone again as if some tendons were ripped or a ligament severed.
“My leg was useless. Every attempted breath was a battle, no matter how hard I tried to take a natural one. Though I refused to go to hospital my wife finally called an ambulance behind my back and I was wheeled out of my yard on a gurney. I eventually ended up in intensive care, unable to draw oxygen, and was diagnosed with some exotic new strain of the coronavirus for which there was no cure, of course. I was put into a medically induced coma, none of which I remembered.
“Now, a month later, having been visited by nothing but bizarre dreams, strange visions, shadowy darkness, untrustworthy memories, and recurring hallucinations, all hallmarks of near-death experiences, I was conscious again. Still in intensive care, catheter shoved up my dick, every attempt at taking a deep breath–even a yawn–met with the unwelcome sensation of being slammed in the chest with a 20lb sledgehammer. Apparently, my light had almost gone out permanently more than once, according to the doctors and nurses.”
There is more to Lanegan’s harrowing tale—much more. So, check out the full chapter in The Guardian.
The new memoir, which was released this month, is described on Rough Trade as: “The Covid diaries of the alternative rock star and bestselling author of Sing Backward and Weep.”
The excerpt reads: “One morning in March 2021 with the second wave of infections ripping through Ireland where he was newly resident, Mark Lanegan woke up breathless, fatigued beyond belief, his body burdened with a gigantic dose of Covid-19. Admitted to Kerry Hospital and initially given little hope of survival, Lanegan’s illness has him slipping in and out of a coma, unable to walk or function for several months and fearing for his life.
“As his situation becomes more intolerable over the course of that bleakest of springs he is assaulted by nightmares, visions, and regrets about a life lived on the edge of chaos and disorder. He is prompted to consider his predicament and how, in his sixth decade, his lifelong battle with mortality has led to this final banal encounter with a disease that has undone millions, when he has apparently been cheating death for his whole existence.”
Lanegan’s book, Devil in a Coma: A Memoir, is available HERE.
Mark Lanegan photo by Jordi Vidal/WireImage