“True Love Will Find You In The End”
You’ve no doubt already heard about the passing of Daniel Johnston on Wednesday. Many Bowie fans will already be aware of the man’s music and art as Bowie was a champion of both.
Daniel was an American singer-songwriter and visual artist regarded as a significant and influential figure in the outsider, lo-fi, and alternative music scenes. Most of his work consisted of cassettes recorded alone in his home, artefacts that were much sought after long before his death from a heart attack on Wednesday.
Johnston spent extended periods in psychiatric institutions and was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He gathered a local following in the 1980s by passing out tapes of his music while working at a McDonald's in Austin, Texas. In 2005, Johnston was the subject of the documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston for which Bowie supplied this line:
“Daniel Johnston reminds me of aspects that made me love art in the first place.”
Bowie also provided Johnston with some wider exposure when he had him perform at London’s South Bank on 17 June, 2002, as part of David Bowie's Meltdown 2002 and then again on 16 May, 2007, to the Highline Ballroom for Bowie’s High Line Festival. Bowie also invited that other ‘outsider’, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, to both events.
Here he is talking about both artists to Paul Du Noyer for Mojo in 2002...
“The Legendary Stardust Cowboy is an outsider artist, he’s playing with a different deck of cards…and Daniel Johnston is like a one-man Brian Wilson/Beach Boys. He comes out of Austin, Texas, also another lad who had a lot of problems with thinking. He was in different institutions and hospitals all his life and would make funny little cassettes of all his songs, on an out-of-tune piano or guitar: beautiful, poignant, sad little pieces. And he’d take them into the local comic shop and swap the cassettes for comics.”
David’s son, Duncan Jones, had this to say on Twitter yesterday:
“My dad introduced me to Daniel Johnston’s music & at first I didn’t know if it was meant as a joke or something else. But…”
Duncan then posted this link to Hi, How Are You Daniel Johnston? (Short Film- 2015)