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TV Party Tonight! Part Five: a YouTube Rabbit Hole w/ Mark Linkous of The Dancing Hoods and Sparklehorse - by JCE

Click here for TV Party Tonight Part Four: The Neighborhoods.

I thought about a film I had heard of which was going to be about Mark Linkous, who is best known for his band Sparklehorse, but who I loved because of his earlier band, the Dancing Hoods.  I also had a connection to Mark from way back due to some mutual friends.  The film I was searching for is called “The Sad and Beautiful World of Sparklehorse” but the film is not available on You Tube. The movie trailer looks interesting:

Undeterred, I searched for all things Mark Linkous and this is where my rabbit hole got deep.  Before I proceed, if you don’t know, Mark Linkous took his own life in 2010 after some substance abuse issues and a long battle with depression.  His death saddened many people, as he was a gentle soul to be sure.

Mark Linkous was originally from Charlottesville, Virginia.  One of my best friends from my days in Charlottesville was an early member of the Dancing Hoods with Mark, but he was not in the band for long.  I believe the Dancing Hoods relocated to New York or somewhere and that is where they found some limited success.  I got to meet Mark a few times.  Once was when he was back in town after the Dancing Hoods released the amazingly good record “Hallelujah Anyway,” which was their third release on Relativity Records.  Mark actually stopped by my house with some other mutual friends.  I got to talk to him about my love for the Dancing Hoods and he signed my cd for me.  He was a very introspective guy, quiet and humble.  I recall not looking at what he signed until after he had left, and it said, “John, I saw her standing at the art room and I said have a nice baby.  Be happy, live. I’m an old man already.  Love when u can.”  


It was an odd collection of words, but it fit Mark and what I perceived as his mood at the time. 

My Mark Linkous rabbit hole included a bunch of songs that I really love, starting with “Torn Away” played live on this appearance on a show called The Cutting Edge.  Does anyone recall this show?  I don’t.  Mark is the guitarist on the left:


My favorite track on Hallelujah Anyway is called “Baby’s Got Rockets”:


Finally, my favorite Dancing Hoods song from my favorite Dancing Hoods record, their second record, 12 Jealous Roses, is called “Pleasure.”  You need to listen to this song by watching one of the other YouTube posts of the song which is just good quality audio.  This video was apparently taken by pointing a camera at MTV back in the day.  I like that it shows you the actual video they created, but the audio is horrible.  “Pleasure” is an excellent song, trust me.

After watching too many Dancing Hoods videos, I moved on to Sparklehorse, still completely lost in my Mark Linkous rabbit hole.  Sparklehorse made some very bizarre and atmospheric music that people loved, but to a large extent, it is not my cup of tea.  I do absolutely love two Sparklehorse songs from the record Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot.  Those two songs are “Someday I Will Treat You Good” and “Rainmaker.”

Mark Linkous had some other bands as well.  One I recall was The Johnson Family, who I saw play in Charlotte, NC when I lived there.  I have a demo cassette of a great song he made with my friends in Charlottesville.  I didn’t know him well, but I know he was a good person and a brilliant musician, so my TV Party is a tribute to Mark.  - JCE