'Good Morning Spider' was released on July 20th 1998.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of Sparklehorse's immense sophomore album 'Good Morning Spider'. An idiosyncratic work that made quite an impression on the American indie circuit, the record propelled them into a much more mainstream world and gave them the coverage they massively deserved.
Sparklehorse - Good Morning Spider
This little known Virginia outfit released their critically acclaimed second album through Capitol in 1998, but as much as they did get to tour alongside Radiohead in 1996 following the release of their debut album 'Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot' the previous year, they're still largely considered an underground success.
It was during that tour that the band took a new direction when it ended up being cut short by a disastrous incident that would inform the tone of their next album.
Frontman Mark Linkous almost died when a combination of andi-depressants, alcohol, valium and heroin left him unconscious in his London hotel room for some fourteen hours. His legs were trapped awkwardly beneath him, restricting his circulation, so when he was finally moved by paramedics he suffered a near-fatal heart attack.
He almost lost the use of his legs following his surgery and was confined to a wheelchair for six months, also while suffering acute kidney failure. But after three months in hospital, he wasn't going to let his accident get in the way of performing and he continued to play concerts while he eventually progressed to leg braces and re-learned how to walk.
Many Sparklehorse fans believe this experience was the inspiration for the majority of 'Good Morning Spider', given its dark themes of frustration and sorrow, but in actual fact a lot of the songs were written before the incident happened. There are two stand-out songs that do allude to it though; 'Saint Mary' is all about Linkous' stay in London's St. Mary's Hospital while 'Pig' is about his being disabled for all those months.
It ended up being one of their biggest successes to date, despite Linkous' fears that his brain damage would permanently affect his ability to write songs and play the guitar. Of course, the story of Sparklehorse does not have a happy ending. Linkous ending up committing suicide in 2010, four months ahead of the release of their final album 'Dark Night of the Soul'.
The band did not continue after that tragedy, but we still got five albums over a period of fifteen years and they remain stalwarts in the world of underground indie music.
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