Published Mar 08, 2010On Saturday (March 6), we learned of the tragic passing of Mark Linkous, the driving force behind Richmond, VA's Sparklehorse. According to the New York Times, the 47-year-old songwriter shot himself in the heart outside of a friend's home in Knoxville, TN.
Sparklehorse had been active since 1995, when Linkous released the album Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot. Over the next 15 years, the band embarked upon numerous tours and collaborations, most recently recording the star-studded album Dark Night of the Soul with Danger Mouse and a slew of guest vocalists, including Julian Casablancas, the Shins' James Mercer, Iggy Pop and many others.
Since Linkous's death, many artists have taken to their websites, writing tributes to the late singer-songwriter. Countless Twitter users have posted tributes to Linkous, including Toronto new wavers Metric, who wrote, "Don't care about the Oscars. Thinking only of our latest loss too soon, Mark Linkous."
Alluding to Linkous's long battle with depression, Death Cab for Cutie guitarist/producer Chris Walla wrote, "Rest in peace, Mark Linkous. I always hoped that someday you would treat you good too. You shared so much."
Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips wrote, "Mark Linkous toured with us in 2003. Every night he and I would share a quiet moment with a shot of whiskey and a few laughs. A nice memory." As well as the 2003 tour, the Flaming Lips also collaborated with Sparklehorse a few times over the years, such as on the 2005 cover of the Daniel Johnston song "Go" and on "Revenge" from Dark Night of the Soul.
Perhaps the longest and most personal tribute to Linkous to emerge so far was posted by Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood, who wrote the following message on his band's Dead Air Space blog:
I was very sad to hear the news that Mark Linkous has died. He and his band toured with us in Europe, at the start of OK Computer, and they were great every night. His first two records were very important to me, and I carried his music from the tour into my life, and my friends' lives too. He was softly spoken, with an Old South courtesy I hadn't heard before: he introduced me to Daniel Johnston's music, and the West Virginian writing of Pinckney Benedict. Mark wrote and played some beautiful music, and we're lucky to have it. Rest in Peace.
Linkous's most prominent recent collaborator, Danger Mouse, has not yet issued a statement about the tragic news. Dark Night of the Soul, which was originally stalled by a legal battle with EMI, is due to be officially released this summer.
Also contributing to Dark Night of the Soul was Vic Chestnutt, who took his own life on Christmas Eve last year.