Modern life is rubbish
Out of the wheelchair and into the tour bus, Mark Linkous of SPARKLEHORSE is missing the rural backwaters of Virginia already. Words: Rodger Evans
If he could talk to the animals (and maybe he already can). Mark Linkous would likely advise them against purchase of an electric can-opener. Stay away from Useless Gadgets-R-Us. he’d tell the cats and dogs and lizard that share his home in West Virginia. A self-styled ‘nature boy’. the Sparklehorse man doesn’t much care for urban life. nor the surfeit of mod cons that amount to the pursuit of happiness these days. ‘All I need.’ he intones at one point on his new
album. Good Morning Spider. ‘is water. a gun and rabbits.‘
So. what would you be if you were to be reincarnated as an animal“? A bloody stupid question, granted. but it sparks something in the otherwise royally lackadaisical Linkous.
‘Probably a turtle.’ he decides after a considerable pause. ‘Some people call me Turtle. I don’t know why. I guess I’m kinda slow just like one. And 1 pick them up off the road when they come out so they won’t get squashed.‘
He‘s a sweet man. as anyone familiar with his beautifully mellow and happily sad music. first heard on the excellently titled I996 debut LP. vivat/i.t‘iesuhmarinetrttnsrnissionp/ot. will have guessed.
The last time The List spoke to him. two years ago. he was recovering from a bizarre bath tub
'They have these pasture parties where all these old- timers play with their steam- powered engines. I sample them and bring it home and see if it WOI‘kS.’ Mark linkous
Mark linkous (far left): not a man about town
accident in a London hotel that resulted in him flatlining for two minutes. Half paralysed as a result and wheelchair-bound for some time. he was unable to clatter about on a motorcycle. his favourite pastime -— beside making noise in his home studio or engaging in a spot of pet rescue in the locality. But now the West Virginian rides again. and to say thank you to the doctors and nurses who cared for him during his stay at St Mary’s hospital in London. Linkous dedicated the new album to them.
Although now fighting fit. Linkous still gets homesick and hates being indoors. As his music indicates. a city slicker he ain’t.
‘I guess you’d call it progress.’ he says. ‘but it does seem that people merely surround themselves with modern things that they don’t really need.’
Not that Linkous is some kind of evangelical New Age nut. He’d probably be too fickle for that. In a previous incarnation and long before Sparklehorse. he was a New York-dwelling punk rock kid who did punk rock kid things like hanging out with The Damned when they came to town. He remembers the time with affection. recalling Captain Sensible turning him onto the more obscure psychedelic side of The Beatles. He eventually grew out of punk just like he grew out of Led Zeppelin before that. but The Buzzcocks’ Singles - Going Steady remains his favourite ever record.
Musically. strange is what Linkous looks for. Some of the sounds on Good Morning Spider come from rather unexpected sources.
‘They have these pasture parties up country.’ he explains. ‘where all these old-timers come out to play with their steam-powered engines. I sample them and bring it home and see if it works.‘
More experimental. more organic. is the effect he hopes to achieve with his next project. called. naturally enough. Rabbit.
You could even say it was animal magic.
Sparklehorse play King Tut's in Glasgow, Mon 12 Oct.
Big m o uth Their bark is worse than their bite.
'I hate bondage. I had a mate once that went to this prossie who was into chaining people up. So he‘s getting down to it and she brings out these handcuffs and starts 'cuffing them to the bed. He's thinking “Waheey! Let's go. la!" But then she leaves the room and a huge fat bloke comes in and starts buggering him. that's why nobody will ever tie me up.’
While on the subject of nothing in particular, Yorkie of Space reveals his sexual preferences to Select.
'l was stuck in hospital having all these tests done. The girl gives me this huge bottle for me to piss in and told me to do something in there. But the thing is that when I go to the toilet I go quite a lot, see. I didn't know whether she wanted me to put a little speckle in there or fill it up. I filled the fucker up. Took three of them to carry it down the corridor.’ The Stereophonics’ Stuart tel/s Select how he impresses the ladies.
'I was brought up on a farm and so many times our entire set of chickens was wiped out by a fox. If I could have physically strangled that fucking fox with my bare hands I would have done.’
Polly Harvey once again fails miserably to dispel the myths about her being in any way scary.
’Back in junior high I was a tough girl who used to smoke cigarettes and slam girls into the lockers.’
Mariah Carey no honest/y, talks to Arena.
’I remember drinking a lot of cider and passing out a lot. And I remember going to a club with Stove and getting so slaughtered I threw up over the back of his head.’
Paul Draper of Mansun reminisces about the benefits of tertiary education with the NME.
8—22 Oct 1998 THE IJST 45