EXPIRED: 03/06/10 – Mark Linkous, 47, was born into a coal mining family in Virginia and ended up taking his own life with a gunshot wound to the heart in Knoxville, Tennessee. In between those two events he formed and led the amazing band, Sparklehorse, starting in 1995.
Just a year after forming, Sparklehorse had the great fortune of opening for Radiohead in 1996. Unfortunately, that tour proved to be extremely stressful for Linkous and he overdosed on alcohol, Valium and antidepressants in his London hotel room. He was unconscious, with his legs pinned beneath him, for almost 14 hours; and the resulting potassium buildup caused his heart to stop for several minutes after his body was lifted up. Subsequent surgeries saved both legs but left him wheelchair-bound for six months, thereafter.
The incident received a large amount of media coverage and Linkous frequently had to answer questions about his overdose during interviews. He was also chastised by critics for the somber themes in his work.
The followed up the first two albums, “Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot” and “Good Morning Spider” with “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the title track of which is a melancholy ode to the beauties of life. The chorus has Linkous faintly whispering, “It’s a wonderful life,” over and over, on top of lush orchestration in addition to looping electronic textures. Linkous declares the song is a ‘fuck-you’ to journalists who can’t forget about his brush with death, or see the beauty hidden within his songs.
Still, the questions never ceased.
In 2006 Sparklehorse released “Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain” and then Linkous released the much anticipated “Dark Night of the Soul” album with the producer Danger Mouse, featuring David Lynch, James Mercer of The Shins, The Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, Frank Black of the Pixies, Iggy Pop, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Suzanne Vega, Vic Chesnutt, David Lynch, and Scott Spillane of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Gerbils.
EMI had refused to release the music, so Linkous and Danger Mouse made it available for free on NPR. However, Danger Mouse (real name Brian Burton) recently revealed that the album would get an official release this summer.