Daniel Johnston 







Missing Photo

Aug 2017

Erika Pinktipps
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Polka Dot Rag
The What Of Whom

The Beatles

Lost And Found

Speeding Motorcycle
Live with Smutfish in The Netherlands

Honey I Sure Miss You
Artistic Vice
Dead Dog Laughing In The Cloud
Continued Story

Daniel Johnston backstage in Boston 2009-10-15

Sept 4
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Daniel Johnston streaming radio
Yip Eye Tunes.com
Download mp3's for 24 of Daniel's albums at his DIGITAL DOWNLOAD site



More Songs

  Daniel Johnston's Fear Factor

Multiple releases due from cult favorite


Nearly six years of silence fell between Daniel Johnston's Fun, his Paul Leary-produced recording for Atlantic and 2001's Rejected Unknown, which found the singer-songwriter/artist on New York indie Gammon. But the next year or so shouldn't offer a sense of blackout deja vu.

Johnston will release Fear Yourself, an album arranged and produced by Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous, on March 25th, and he is recording another album with producer Brian Beattie (who worked on Rejected Unknown) that he says will be lushly produced and will reflect his lifelong love of the Beatles. There's also talk of a record with his band, Danny and the Nightmares, with Leary again producing, as well as a Johnston tribute album. And, for flustered Holy Grail seekers, Johnston's first two recordings, Songs of Pain and More Songs of Pain, are being reissued on April 15th on Dualtone.

Johnston speaks of his recent work with bountiful enthusiasm, perhaps because after a few thin years he finally seems comfortable with himself and his career. While his mental illness added a layer of mystique to his already robust cult, it became over-romanticized at his expense, with Johnston making nearly no money from his recordings and his artwork. Five years ago, his father took over management of his life and his art and things turned around. A lengthy legal tangle was unknotted in order to release Rejected Unknown, and Johnston's inimitable art work is now finding its way to enthusiasts rather than being given away or lost.

"Ever since he took over, I've been busy," Johnston says. "It's been the best thing that happened. After starving and suffering for the longest time, I write and draw every day. I'm a thousandaire, and that's alright for now."

Fear Yourself came about through an odd series of happenstance. Linkous -- a longtime Johnston enthusiast -- says he was ready to quit making music in the late Eighties, after his band the Dancing Hoods imploded. "I was disillusioned with music, the whole thing," Linkous says, "but Daniel's music and Tom Waits' music were the most inspirational things that kept me going. I always wanted to collaborate with Daniel, but I was always kind of scared."

It turned out that both Johnston's and Linkous' mothers were penpals from years spent in West Virginia (before Johnston's family settled in Texas in the early Eighties, where they remain today). Linkous had his mother contact Johnston's as a rough introduction. The project was further pushed by Jordan Trachtenberg, head of Gammon. A Sparklehorse fan, he spoke with Linkous and then pitched the collaboration to Johnston, after sending him some Sparklehorse albums. "I was kind of scared of them," Johnston says, "because it's scary music. [Sings] 'Death be proud in the light of the darkness of the night.' It wasn't really that way, but it was scary."

After agreeing to the collaboration, Johnston took a notebook of songs and headed to Virginia to record for four days with Linkous. Johnston would lay down songs on guitar or piano, and Linkous tried to complement his unique and left-of-center style.

"I didn't want it to be Daniel Johnston meets Sparklehorse," Linkous says. "I just love his music too much. For a song to come out of him and to get it on tape is a miracle. I didn't want it to be a parody of him. But it was quite a task, but imperative, to go into his world instead of trying to straighten him out like a normal musician. The hesitations and bits where you hear his brain working -- I wanted to leave all that stuff in there. They're the most charming things to me."

Johnston loves the production. "Just like George Martin or the Carpenters, he just worked on it forever," he says. "I thought it turned out really cool." He's also been setting aside another batch of songs for a second recording with Linkous.

As for the reissues, Songs and More Songs will be packaged in a two-CD set as The Early Recordings of Daniel Johnston Vol. 1. Singing and playing piano, Johnston made the spare recordings in his parents' basement in the early Eighties, and sold them as homemade cassette tapes that became the cornerstone of a cult legend. Because they were a scarce commodity, paired with the less-than-resilient nature of cassette tapes, Johnston's earliest works mostly went the way of the dodo. The Early Recordings represents the first time Songs and More Songs have ever been released on CD.

Those tapes earned Johnston a collection of fans that included Sonic Youth, Nirvana (Kurt Cobain regularly sported Johnston t-shirts), the Butthole Surfers and The Simpsons creator Matt Groening.

Early Recordings will feature new artwork by Johnston along with liner notes by Leary and Louis Black, an editor at the Austin Chronicle. Though the "Vol. 1" in the title hints at subsequent releases -- Johnston released several cassette recordings before issuing 1990 in 1990 on Shimmy Disc and Fun in 1994 -- there are no firm release plans yet.

Fear Yourself track listing:

Syrup of Tears
Mountain Top
Love Enchanted
Power of Love
Forever Your Love
Love Not Dead
You Hurt Me
Living It for the Moment

Tour dates:

2/25: Phoenix, Nita's
2/26: Tucson, AZ, Solar Cult
2/28: Los Angeles, Knitting Factory
3/2: San Francisco, Café du Nord
3/4: Portland, OR, Blackbird
3/5: Vancouver, Starfish
3/6: Seattle, Crocodile Café
3/8: Salt Lake City, Kilby Court
3/9: Denver, 15th Street
3/22: Austin, Emos

(February 11, 2003)