RIP Daniel Johnston – tiny curations
This episode has been published and can be heard everywhere your podcast is available.
DEEP DIVES & tiny curations Podcast Episodes Available Today:
Hear the playlist on Spotify:
- Kathy McCarty – Living Life
- Devil Town
- Walking The Cow
- Story of an Artist
- True Love Will Find You In The End
HI, HOW ARE YOU?
The Late Great Daniel Johnston passed away last week on September 11. He was an artist. A musician; singer/songwriter. And an inspiration to many. And he has a crazy story! Featured in probably the best documentary that I have ever seen; “The Devil and Daniel Johnston” from 2005. And I have been saying this for years. And I watched it again the night that his passing was announced and it still holds up. In a way, Daniel documented his whole life on tape through his own words and music. And along through his other art on paper and through journals, film, and home movies. All of this is complied together and presented, in a way, almost through Daniel’s eyes. So really, go out and see it!
But here is the essence of his story:
He met a girl, Laurie Allen, the love of his life, but she marries and Undertaker.
He makes these little tapes of his music, much of it is about his and muse, that girl Laurie, and passes them out. He didn’t have one of those boomboxes with 2 cassette tapes, where you could transfer one to the other. Instead, he has to re-record entire albums, singing and playing, then draw the album cover again. Give out a tape, then repeat the process all over again!
Daniel joins a traveling circus, but gets stranded in Austin.
Here he gets a part-time job as a busser at McDonald’s.
In 1985, the MTV show “Cutting Edge” comes to town and he crashes the show becoming the most memorable thing on it.
That phone at McDonald’s, it starts ringing off the hook with record producers and folks because that was the only place he had reliable access to a phone.
Gets into acid with Gibby Haynes from the Butthole Surfers at one of their shows. Retreats a bit, announces his retirement, then leaves Austin around 1987. And he’s later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He gets really into Satan and God; and some bad stuff happens.
He plans his comeback in 1990, where his dad flies him down in their 2 seater airplane. At the Austin Music Awards during SXSW, he performs a very short set, then encore. Promptly leaves the venue and flies home. But mid-flight he takes the keys, turning off the engine and throws them out the window.
The great pilot that his father was avoids the loss of both of their lives with a lucky crash between 2 large trees.
He is committed to the Austin State Hospital, the mental hospital.
Then complete Nirvana happens, Kurt Cobain starts wearing his shirt. You know, the iconic Austin street art of “Jeremiah the Frog of Innocence” on the Drag.
Kurt wears it everywhere for every appearance, interview… everywhere.
Here is Kathy McCarty, of the Austin band Glass Eye, she was one of the first people that Daniel met when he arrived in Austin and unbeknownst to her became his ‘girlfriend’. She did a whole album of Daniel’s songs, here is one that appeared at the end of Richard Linklater’s film “Before Sunrise”.
Afterwards, we’ll listen to Daniel from those little tapes. Thanks for listening.