Mark Lanegan turns forty years old this year. That's a pretty big milestone. He'll have been making music for around two decades, with the Screaming Trees, with Queens of the Stone Age, as a solo entity, and with countless other musicians. I thought it would be a neat idea if, for the big four-oh, Mark's fans put together a little birthday present for him.

I often think he doesn't realize completely how much his music means to people. He can be intimidating as well as shy, I hear, and fans can definitely get shy, so I don't think he gets told a lot how much he is appreciated. Therefore, I think it would be really great if, around his birthday time, the fans could give him a little book put together with letters from everyone about why they appreciate his music.

What I'm thinking is that everyone who'd like to can write something sincere. It doesn't have to be profound, it doesn't have to be incredibly eloquent; it can just be a thank you, or you can elaborate. A few nice words can mean a lot, especially on bad days, and I think it would be a pretty powerful notion to see all of the names from around the globe who appreciate his music.

Here are a few guidelines:

1. Write it how you like, whether you'd like address it to Mark, or write it as if you were addressing another fan. I don't care. Say what you want to say, as long as it's positive -- why you love his music so much, your memories from a show or meeting him, the impact that his music's had on you, etc. You have quite awhile to write it so it doesn't need to be half-assed.

2. Please use proper spelling, punctuation, and all of that so that the letters do not induce blindness. If you want me to proofread or you speak another language better than english and need help with translating I will gladly help you. Your letter can be as long as you want! You know what you'd like to say and I'm sure it would all be appreciated, so it's up to you.

3. If you've taken a picture with Mark, feel free to include it with your letter -- that way he can put a face with some of the letters.

4. Sign it with your first name (and your last if you so desire) and your country and/or state of residence and email it to news at (put a @ in place of the 'at'), which goes directly to my personal email.

5. If you have any ideas of what else could be thrown in (artwork, mixtapes, and gift certificates to cigarette shops (haha) have already been suggested) or any other suggestions, feel free to email me and share.

6. I'm getting this out early so that everyone has plenty of time. I'm going to set the deadline for Sept. 30 so that I have time to put it together and see about getting it to him on time.

That is all there is... if you have questions, email me. I've already talked to a number of people who are going to write a little something, so hopefully we'll be able to give Mark a nice big novel to read, come November. =)

Take care,