An accomplished lyricist and cult icon, Daniel Johnston started his career as a musician by simply recording his music performed in his basement on cassettes and handing them out to whoever took them. When he started getting name-dropped by Kurt Cobain, his fame began to take off. His music certainly isn’t for everyone, but even he admits that his first album was recorded during a nervous breakdown.
I had the good fortune to see Daniel Johnston in concert at a very small venue in Cambridge, MA some time ago. It was just him, an acoustic guitar and a piano. I can attest to his weirdly magical stage presence and the strength of his lyrics and musical ability. He is also obsessed with Captain America. All of his drawings depict a seemingly manic version of the character staring back at the viewer in utter confusion, usually in situations that have nothing to do with the comic book creation. Maybe he read Jack Kirby’s Mad Bomb issues and they hit home? It’s not clear exactly what any of this means to Mr. Johnston, but it is very important to him.
Finally (?) these images are making their way to the mass market.
Daniel Johnston has designed a collection of T-shirts for Supreme, the long-running skate company beloved and often repped by Odd Future, as Complex reports. The shirts are available online and in stores in New York, L.A., and London on June 14, and in Japan on June 16.
(Via Pitchfork Media)
The documentary ‘The Devil and Daniel Johnston’ details Daniel’s tragic but never dull life and is highly recommended.