My parents made me go to church every Sunday until I was 16. Around 14, I told them that I was leaving their traditional church to attend a younger, hipper church down the road. Just drop me off outside on the way, I told them, and pick me up on the way home.
That's how it came to be that every Sunday at 10 am, for two years, I would get out of the car, wait until my parents turned the corner, then walk two blocks to Tower Records and listen to music for two hours. I was always back out front of the church, shirt tucked in, when my parents came to pick me up.
I don't know what possessed me to listen to Sparklehorse the first time, but that's where it was. Most Sundays I tried to listen to 5 or 10 bands in my loitering Sabbaths. I would always start out, though, by listening to 'Homecoming Queen', the first track on Sparklehorse's first album. I knew I would never hear anything that weird on the radio, so I tried to memorize it, Sunday by Sunday.
Freshman year of college, about five minutes after asking 'What's this Napster thing everyone's talking about?' I was hearing it again.
Mark Linkous, the guy behind Sparklehorse, killed himself this past weekend, and even though I never learned one solitary thing about the guy beyond his music, I find myself strangely affected. It's a reminder that talent, like everything else, isn't a sufficient rampart against despair.
I'm not going to speculate on Mark Linkous's problems, or read anything into his lyrics. I just thought I would share our little 'how we met' story, and thank him.
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