Mark Linkous, American singer, songwriter and musician, is best known as leader of Sparklehorse. Following the breakup of Dancing Hoods, Linkous moved back to Virginia, where he continued writing songs. One of the tracks that he wrote during this period with David Lowery, “Sick of Goodbyes”, was recorded by Cracker and appeared on their 1993 album Kerosene Hat. While in Virginia, he performed concerts under the monikers The Johnson Family (with members of Richmond punk legends Honor Role) and Salt Chunk Mary. Linkous finally settled on the band name Sparklehorse, and released Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot on Capitol Records in 1995. He remained the only consistent member throughout the band’s existence.
In 1996, while supporting Radiohead on the first Sparklehorse tour, Linkous overdosed on alcohol, Valium and antidepressants and possibly other substances in his London hotel room. Rendered unconscious by the combination of drugs, he collapsed with his legs pinned beneath him, and remained in that position for almost fourteen hours. He was treated at St Mary’s Hospital, London. Subsequent surgeries saved both legs, but he required the use of a wheelchair for six months. His legs never fully regained their original strength.
1998 saw the release of Good Morning Spider; some of the album’s songs dealt with Linkous’ accident in London and subsequent rehabilitation, namely “St. Mary”. In 2001, Sparklehorse released It’s a Wonderful Life, which featured contributions from Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, John Parish, Nina Persson, Vic Chesnutt, and Dave Fridmann.
In 2003, Sparklehorse’s song “Sea of Teeth” was featured on the All the Real Girls Soundtrack, a film starring Zooey Deschanel and directed by David Gordon Green.
In September 2006, Sparklehorse released Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain. The album marked a new collaboration with DJ Danger Mouse.
In 2009, Linkous teamed up with electronic ambient artist Christian Fennesz to create In the Fishtank 15, an experimental EP. The last four live shows Linkous did together with Fennesz were during a European tour, which was held in October 2009.
Linkous committed suicide in Knoxville, Tennessee, on March 6, 2010. At the time of his death, his manager confirmed that Linkous “had completed most of the work for a new Sparklehorse album”, was in the process of moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, and was working on setting up a studio where he planned to finish the record.