Sunday, March 07, 2010

Sick of Goodbyes

This morning I woke up to the most sad news I've heard in a long, long time. Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse took his own life on Saturday, March 6. He was 47.

From The Los Angeles Times:

North Carolina-based singer-songwriter Mark Linkous, who recorded under the name Sparklehorse, has committed suicide, his family said. Known most recently as part of the Danger Mouse and David Lynch collaboration "Dark Night of the Soul," which will finally see an official album release this year, Linkous specialized in a somewhat dreamy, fractured take on blues and folk heard through the prism of his own unique style of songcraft.

The news of his passing was confirmed via an online statement attributed to 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," read the statement posted on the official Sparklehorse website. "We are thankful for his time with us and will hold him forever in our hearts."

His survivors include his wife, Teresa; his mother, Gloria Hughes Thacker; his father, Frederick Linkous; and his brothers, Matt, Paul and Daniel Linkous

I had the opportunity to speak with Linkous just over a decade ago when he was touring in support of the brilliant Good Morning Spider album. He and I had a friendly 45-minute conversation about life on the road, songwriting, and working in his garage. I vividly remember he and I talking about castor oil, but cannot remember the context of the conversation.

My article, which was for The Flint Journal, is at my parents' house in Michigan and I wish I could read it right now so I could remember more of our conversation. I can fondly recall Linkous as an incredibly sweet man, but also very shy. I was just this eager 21-year-old wannabe music journalist who obsessed over his music and honored to speak with the man behind such great songs like "Gasoline Horseys" and "Hundreds of Sparrows." But toward the end of our conversation, I found myself encouraging him to keep on keepin' on, almost giving him one of those "attaboy" kind of chats. I wasn't sure how it all came about then or now, but it was in that "can I give you a hug" kind of way. Linkous didn't mind at all.

I missed his show at Alvin's in Detroit a few days later, but my friend Brett, a massive Sparklehorse fan, met Linkous after the show and got me a signed poster. He signed it, "Best Ditches, MacKenzie. Love Mark Linkous." That framed poster hung in my bedroom until my New York City move three years ago. It will be put on the wall again, for it should have never been in the closet stash of posters anyway. I still have the matchbook too.

RIP Mark Linkous. God, you will be so incredibly missed.

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