Mark Linkous, aka Sparklehorse, at Showbox at the Market, Feb. 14, 2007, three years before he took his own life.
Before you get distracted with your post-Christmas responsibilities, be sure to take a few minutes to read Jesse Sykes' beautiful essay, "It's a Wonderful Life," which appears in the current issue of Seattle Weekly. In it, she reflects on her band's 2007 tour with Sparklehorse, a journey that was a tipping point for all involved. Here are a couple bites:
As much as our band was tested on the tour, with more than its fair share of internal and external friction, it was nothing compared to the bomb dropped on the Sparklehorse camp--most critically on Mark Linkous.
We were playing Los Angeles' Fonda Theatre on the eighth day when Linkous got the news that Sparklehorse was being "let go" by their label. I've often wondered why it can't wait till someone is in a safe place before unleashing this sort of news, especially on a person known to have a propensity for severe depression. But as with any business, record labels make choices based on projected sales, not what is best for the spirit and soul.
One of the most viral music conversations of the year was in regards to an antipiracy essay written by Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven frontman David Lowery. Its most contentious point was his implication that a contributing factor to the suicides of Linkous and Vic Chesnutt--both his "dear friends," and two artists with a history of mental illness--was their careers caving and ensuing impoverishment due to declining record sales, thanks to illegal file-sharing. I am in no position to say why Mark Linkous took his own life in 2010, but having witnessed part of the narrative firsthand, I am certain that being dropped from his label was a major blow to his fragile state of being.