Daniel Johnston in some circles, is compared to the great music genus Brian Wilson. He is brilliant to some and insane to others (even though there is a fine line dividing both personalities).
My wife and I were relaxing, while watching TV, in our living room on the weekend and came across a musical documentary about Daniel Johnston. The documentary is called “The Devil and Daniel Johnston” and premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2005. We both have never heard of him before so we watched with great interest. If you are into indie films, then I highly recommend seeing it.
We saw a child like or even an autistic man who is different to say the least. As all brilliant artists feel that they have difficulties communicating with new audiences or that they feel that they might be slowly losing their mind, he seems to feel quite at home or even embraces it to a lessor degree.
“Everything is art”
(a young Daniel Johnston is heard saying on a cassette tape recorder with fellow art students at Kent State University in 1980.)As the show moved forward, we were exposed to a brilliant middle aged musical mind that was just screaming to get out. But in the same breath, you would say that he was not interested in commercial pop success. To add to his obvious musical gift, he was a beautiful illustrator/painter. He really became noticed when Kurt Cobain started wearing this one shirt that Daniel made. Daniel also happened to be one of Kurt’s favorite songwriters.
His music is both errie and beautiful. It makes you sit up and pay attention to the words. I am known as a musician who does pay all that much attention to the words of a song, just the overall song structure and progression, but his songs rang an interest in his lyrics.
In this doc., he plays his old, beat up, low end acoustic guitar and when he is writing, his Westbrook 1/2 piano. His guitar playing style is, how can I say this without insulting his genus, simple and sloppy. In the sentence I should have used beautiful. I just can’t put this unique style into words to fully describe this experience. If some of you out there are familiar with his eclectic style, can you help describe it for me?
As my faithful readers know, I try to expose hidden musical artists to my blog. Some maybe questionable to some, but to others … they show the true essence of music.
Keep on Jammin’