Since Daniel Johnston was mentioned in last week’s installment, I thought it would be fun to follow the thread for a bit and bring one of his albums out for inspection. I also figured a polarizing/bizarre artist such as Mr. Johnston would have a healthy, involved debate on his album cover, and I was not mistaken. If you’re not familiar with Daniel Johnston, or even if you are, I highly recommend seeing the documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston. Whether you’ve heard his music, or enjoy his music, or not, he is a fascinating individual who has been documenting his creative process for almost his entire life, leaving a treasure trove of primary footage for the film.
Before you get the movie, though, read these comments on Yip Jump Music, which was his fifth home recorded cassette, recorded in 1983 (I’m not quite sure when the LP version was released, but apparently KCMU received it after Hi, How Are You, which he also released on cassette in 1983). They cover a lot of the discussion and debate around Johnston and his music pretty well, and as such are a good primer.
|“Daniel Johnston: The Richard Peterson [see also here] of Austin, TX. Come on, we don’t take Richard seriously, why do we treat this guy like God?”
“Radical individualism is so beautiful. Some people call this ‘insane.’ I think Daniel Johnston is an example of [cut off] behavior [cut off] should try to [cut off] to. This is just Daniel’s voice & [cut off] ultra-cheap/ancient organ-type of instrument. Promethean.”
“Well, Dan, people don’t just call Daniel J. ‘insane’ because his music’s weird, but because of his erratic, sometimes dangerous behavior. I don’t think everyone should be like him. And is radical individualism always beautiful? Look at Charles Manson. A good stint in M would be great for this. The music is very blues influenced. I like this better than “Hi - How Are You,” which is his other album. 2-4 was covered by Jad Fair & Kramer. (Jad Fair also has an album w/Daniel Johnston.)”
“I agree w/Darren. It would suck if everyone were a violent paranoid schizophrenic, BUT: DJ is a brilliant psychopath. One of the saddest records since ‘Blood on the Tracks.’ He’s never been the same.”
“M or L now!! -----> Goodbye Danny.”
“It’s funny and frank. I like how the bad production creates a rhythm of its own & he goes with it.”