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Artists React To The Suicide of Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous

Artists from such bands as Radiohead, Metric and Flaming Lips have sent statements to Pitchfork in response to the death of Mark Linkous (also known as Sparklehorse), who shot himself in the heart in a Knoxville, Tenn. alley this weekend.

Colin Greenwood of Radiohead said:

"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 ... Mark wrote and played some beautiful music, and we’re lucky to have it."

Producer and Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla said, alluding to the Sparklehorse song "Someday I Will Treat You Good, "I always hoped that someday you would treat you good too."

It's troubling to wonder whether Linkous would have created his music without the psychological problems that led to his suicide. It does seem like some music wouldn't have been made without a certain degree of turmoil. Kurt Cobain and Elliott Smith also wrote music inspired by dark rumination before killing themselves. Are they martyrs? Was Linkous?


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Death Cab for Cutie
Elliott Smith
The Flaming Lips

Lots of people who are mentally troubled are also artistically gifted; I think it's more of a correlation than a causation thing.

Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes was able to write a fantastic concept album about the effects of going on anti-depressants...I don't think he'd be able to do that if he had gone untreated.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Ethan/nirvana-corporate-rock-whoresjpg.jpg EStan

I can't stop reading articles about this sad, sad passing. I was lucky enough to catch Sparklehorse on their last tour, and they were as wonderful as I imagined they would be. Mark seemed in great spirits and I remember thinking that he seemed to be in a really good place... It's just so sad that I was wrong. Rest in Peace Mark, with the Babies On the Sun.


Many people who eventually take their lives are manic. The fact that friends and fellow artists report that they were "in really good spirits" and nothing was wrong days before their death is not too surprising. This is a terrible tragedy, especially coupled with Vic Chesnutt's passing just a few months ago. We lost two giants. Everyone needs a support group and needs to know its okay to seek help.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/MFB/profilepicjpg.jpg MFB

I think the fact that a) mental illness is stigmatized outside NYC and LA and b) that the majority of musicians are uninsured and can't pay for psychiatric treatment certainly doesn't help, either.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Ethan/nirvana-corporate-rock-whoresjpg.jpg EStan

NPR had a remembrance show for Vic Chesnutt with Guy Piciotto, Michael Stipe and Jem Cohen a while back and they touched on the health care aspect of it. I definitely agree that if you feel trapped by medical bills it certainly isn't going to do you any favors if you're also suffering from depression.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/MFB/profilepicjpg.jpg MFB

I don't know anything about Mark's mental illness per se; I think it's pretty easy to see that Mark had a problem with dope. And, you know, "jails, institutions and death" and unfortunately for Mark it was the latter. Sad news.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/oceanRain/DiS profile pic.jpg oceanRain

it's probably unfair to label america outside LA and NYC as being prone to stigmatizing. it's everywhere and nyc and la don't have a monopoly on enlightment. chances are half the bands you listen to have members who have been or are on anti-depressants. it's so common it's almost not the exception. it totally can be positive to have a mental illness- so many brilliant artists have been down that road and used that avenue to create great things. not to mention great people historcially such as lincoln, churchill and jefferson, though who knows to what extent with them. i don't know mark's situation but i agree that there most likely were other factors at play.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/dukkookim/6460_1130716601218_1626340558_309884_1280450_njpg.jpg dukkookim

Suicide is usually a "perfect storm" of factors happening all together. I'm tired of musicians dying, that's for sure. It's always the good ones too. Like, you never read "Lead singer of Staind offs himself."

/site_media/uploads/images/users/MFB/profilepicjpg.jpg MFB

I think there is a correlation too. Mental Illness and depression can lead to some harrowing places, and maybe that is why it seems like it is always the geniuses that succumb to it. With the pain so acute, it is almost a blessing some some of the most damaged have a way to relieve some of it through art. I'm sure the singer for Staind feels pain too; not so sure if trrying to express it would create a spike in artistic chops, or result in something more contrived. everyone suffers; i think you suffer more when you can't find an outlet for it creatively.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/patchen/me.jpg patchen

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