I was lucky enough to meet and exchange small talk with Mark Linkous. The Sparklehorse frontman was cordial and appreciative during our conversation. Donning the classic cowboy hat he stood out in Club Metropol, Pittsburgh PA, but wasn’t trying to. He was opening for The Flaming Lips. He was great. We talked music and production. Our conversation about being a solo recorder was enlightening. I asked him how he brought spontaneity to the songs. He responded by saying he “goes within himself to dissect the song” and “I rebuild it with the aid of technology”. I said like “much like a musical frankenstein?” He gave a a little smirk and responded “very much so”. You’d understand this completely if you are a recording musician that works alone without the luxury of bouncing ideas off your mates. Unfortunately, we seem more alone now with passing of Mark. He was unable to exorcise his demons. This time he sadly was successful in taking his life.
His four acclaimed Sparklehorse albums led him to be regarded by many as a hero of the US alternative rock scene.
His work included collaborations with Tom Waits, PJ Harvey and Danger Mouse.
His family said in the statement: “We are thankful for his time with us and will hold him forever in our hearts. May his journey be peaceful, happy and free. There’s a heaven and there’s a star for you.”
Virginia-born singer-songwriter Linkous – thought to be in his 40s – released the first Sparklehorse album Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot in 1995.
The following year, he “died” for two minutes after ingesting a dangerous mix of Valium and antidepressants while supporting Radiohead on tour in the UK.
He recovered, but the incident almost left him paralysed – after lying unconscious for 14 hours, with circulation to his legs cut off.
He suffered a heart attack when doctors tried to straighten the limbs, and he had surgery seven times to save his legs.
But despite that ordeal, he went on to record 1999’s Good Morning Spider, 2001’s It’s A Wonderful Life and 2006’s Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain.
Linkous was working on a new Sparklehorse album, which was due to be released by the Anti- record label.
In 2009, Linkous’s multimedia collaboration album with producer Danger Mouse – real name Brian Burton – and the director David Lynch, entitled Dark Night Of The Soul, was made available online ahead of its official release this summer.