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Mark Linkous 1962 - 2010

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Sad news over the weekend that one of my musical heroes, Mark Linkous, the singer-songwriter who released his music under the band name Sparklehorse, committed suicide. Apparently he shot himself in the chest. He was 47.

There were various touching obituaries throughout the music press; Linkous was an important figure in alternative American rock and had worked with the likes of PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, the Flaming Lips, Cracker, and Daniel Johnston.

Sparklehorse released a quartet of critically acclaimed albums, and the first two 'Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot' and 'Good Morning Spider', are landmark records which pioneered an ethereal ragged lo-fi country sound that has been much imitated.

I was fortunate enough to see Sparklehorse on a number of occasions between 1998 and 2007, and one particular moment sums up Mark Linkous for me.

When the applause had died down after an epic version of 'Weird Sisters', a standout track from Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot, someone in the crowd called out, without any hint of irony, "Hey Mark, what does it feel like to be a genius?" A second round of applause ensued - we were all thinking the same thing at the same moment. And Linkous' reaction? He wandered over to the mike and politely asked the sound engineer to turn up his guitar.

More:
Mark Linkous - Obituary (from The Guardian)