09 March 2010

Radio Wowsville 3/7/10: So Sick of Goodbyes

One of my favorite Wowsville memories was the time that Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse called the show and thanked me for playing some of his music over the air.

Linkous, who had numerous ties to Charlottesville and Richmond, died on Saturday.

I was fortunate enough to interview Mark several times.
Here is the first interview I did with him, soon after the release of Sparklehorse's second CD, Good Morning Spider. It should be noted that, when he lived in the Charlottesville area, Linkous was a fan of WTJU, particularly its rock programming.

An interesting exchange from the interview:

Are you going to play D.C. or Virginia?



Some of the worst gigs of my life have been in D.C. and Virginia.

Like, where?

At the Boathouse, opening for Cracker.

Yow! I could’ve told you about that.

And in D.C., playing at the Black Cat. We’d just come off of selling out a 2,000 seat hall in London and we travelled back home and played there in front of 10 people.

This was recently?


D.C. is weird. It seems like you either have to be a big national star or you have to be one of the town’s "elite" bands and there’s nothing in between.

I think, like, half the people there were guys from Fugazi.

Diggin’ on you?


Well, that’s something at least.

Yeah. I think if we did play Virginia, anywhere, we’d play the Tokyo Rose.

(Linkous did perform a special Va. solo gig soon after this interview, at Charlottesville’s Tokyo Rose, to benefit the WTJU 91.1 Rock Marathon, and played an in-store at Plan 9 Records in Richmond. ---Ed.)

Here’s an obvious one. Who are your influences?

Well, first and foremost, Johnny Cash. He had a television show [on ABC] when I was growing up and that television show inspired me to play music. And, of course, growing up in Southwestern Virginia and hearing bluegrass music. That got me into George Jones and Tammy Wynette and then to... The Monkees, Alice Cooper to Led Zeppelin and then I was totally into Punk Rock. I was way into punk.

Were you in a punk band?

Yeah, I guess we were, like, the first punk band in Charlottesville. We were called The Sinners and we used to play this place called Poe’s and I remember it was upstairs and we had to carry our amps up the stairs. Cool club, though, people would shoot guns in there and stuff. . .


Yeah. We would play those places before I was really old enough to be in there. We would play Ramones songs. And Blondie. Stuff like that.

Did you have your own songs?

We had two songs. I was always, like, the lead guitar player so. . . I would always try to learn Jimmy Page parts and then I saw the Sex Pistols on TV and said, ‘fuck, man I can do this.’ It was so cool and so basic. . .

What was Charlottesville like in those days?

Well, it wasn’t like it is now. That’s for sure. Of course, you always had to deal with somebody yelling ‘Freebird’ and stuff like that. I don’t know how long you’ve been in Charlottesville, but I remember when (radio station) 3WV would smash ‘punk’ records on the air, like Elvis Costello’s first record and stuff, and nobody. . . WTJU was, like, the only place where you could hear the Pistols on the radio.

1. "It's a Wonderful Life" - Sparklehorse - It's a Wonderful Life
2. "Happy Man (Memphis Version)" - Sparklehorse - Distorted Ghost EP
3. "Painbirds" - Sparklehorse - Good Morning Spider
4. "Piano Fire" - Sparklehorse (w/ P.J. Harvey) - It's a Wonderful Life
5. "Spirit Ditch" - Sparklehorse - Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot
6. "It's Not So Hard" - Sparklehorse - Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain
7. "So Sick of Goodbyes" - Sparklehorse - Good Morning Spider
8. "Star Eyes (I Can Catch It)" - Sparklehorse & Danger Mouse - Dark Night of the Soul
9. "Don't Take My Sunshine Away" - Sparklehorse - Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain
10. "Measure" - Field Music - Measure [NEW]
11. "Every Time Woman" - Human Beinz - Evolutions
12. "Sex Machine" - Flying Lizards - Top Ten
13. "Get Out of Denver" - Bob Seger - Seven
14. "Promises" - The Morning Benders - Big Echo [NEW]
15. "Step Into My Office, Baby" - Belle & Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress
16. "Jane" - Clint Eph. Sebastian & The Junkers - Money Be No Sand
17. "Don't Let Me Down" - Charlotte Dada - Money Be No Sand
18. "Bluebird Blackout" - Phil Retrospector - Introversion
19. "These Flowers of Ours" - The Asteroid Number 4 - Dead Bees sampler
20. "Forgotten Man" - The Nova Local - Nova 1
21. "Guess I Better Go" - Condello - Phase 1
22. "Oxygene Pt. IV" - Jean Michael Jarre
23. "I Could Be Dreaming" - Belle & Sebastian - Tigermilk
24. "Sweet Bird" - Joni Mitchell - Hissing of Summer Lawns
25. "21st Century Schizoid Man" - King Crimson - Frame by Frame
26. "My Yoke is Heavy" - Sparklehorse - Distorted Ghost EP

Radio Wowsville has a chest full of dying hawks
Every Sunday night at 11PM on WTJU 91.1 FM.