WNC musician Mark Linkous (of Sparklehorse) dies

So far, late 2009/early 2010 has proved a rough stretch for musicians: We’ve lost Jay Reatard, Vic Chesnutt and — just yesterday — Mark Linkous. Linkous was a multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, collaborator to many and mastermind of the fabulous shoegaze project Sparklehorse.

The homepage of the Sparklehorse Web site contines the artist’s photo and this message from his family: “It is with great sadness that we share the news that our dear friend and family member, Mark Linkous, took his own life today. 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.”

Rolling Stone broke the sad news late last night, stating, “Mark Linkous has committed suicide, his publicist confirms to Rolling Stone… Linkous’ publicist confirms he was nearly finished with a new album that was due on Anti-Records.” (Read the full article here.)

For many who have followed Linkous’ career, this turn is likely not shocking: The musician overdosed on a number of substances in a London hotel room while on tour with Radiohead in 1996. According to Wikipedia, “Unconscious and with his legs pinned beneath him for almost fourteen hours, the resulting potassium buildup caused his heart to stop for several minutes after his body was lifted up. He was treated at St Mary’s Hospital, London. Subsequent surgeries saved both legs but left him wheelchair-bound for six months.” Following that incident, Linkous recorded Good Morning Spider. (1999).

Linkous visited Asheville a number of times, such as after the release of the hushed, gorgeous It’s a Wonderful Life and in a 2006 Grey Eagle show captured here:

But his connection to the area hardly ends at a handful of shows. Born in Virginia, Linkous relocated to Hayesville, N.C. (Clay County), where he established Static King Studio. Among numerous projects, he contributed to Pictures from Home, recently released by Angela Faye Martin of Cowee, N.C (Macon County). According to Martin’s Web site, “Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, who is as much of this place as hound dogs and moonshine, recently produced two of her songs.”

The musician’s recent released include Sparklehorse’s Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain (2006) and Dark Night of the Soul (2009), a collaboration with producer Danger Mouse and director David Lynch. The project, released online, paired a book of 50 photographs with ann album featureing “vocals from the Flaming Lips, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, Frank Black of the Pixies, Iggy Pop, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Suzanne Vega and many others.”

Linkous’ immense talent and myriad contributions to the WNC art community and to contemporary pop and indie music will be sorely missed.

—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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3 thoughts on “WNC musician Mark Linkous (of Sparklehorse) dies

  1. Doug Somervell

    Very sad news. I just saw Mark last week in his car. I met him a few years ago. He seemed so kind and gentle. I know he, and his music will be missed greatly. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. I maybe was one of his friends…. Peace.

  2. annica2

    this is truly one of the saddest losses in the history of music to me. the first cover i learned on guitar was eyepennies. my wife and i saw sparklehorse in chicago. it was 10 below zero that day and jesse sykes and the sweet hereafter opened the show.

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