July 31, 2005
A foundation is ready to be poured for Daniel's house
next door to his parents in Waller, Texas
(click to enlarge)
A House for Daniel Johnston
July 31, 2005
Without all the needed funds in
hand, Daniel's father has started on the construction of a house for Daniel
in Waller, Texas, next door to his parents. This will offer them
some relief from the daily strain of living with a compulsive artist, and
give Daniel the personal dignity of being on his own. All this
while still keeping loving eyes on his health and well-being.
WALLER, TEXAS - July 31, 2005 Daniel Johnston has
been living with his parents in Waller, Texas since their move from West
Virginia in 1993. Mother, father, Daniel, cat and dog had loaded up to
leave their life-long home built on the farm where Daniel's father grew up
not far from the Ohio river valley. Leaving friends, relatives, and
countless attachments behind, it seemed that the move to Texas was the
natural thing to do. Texas has become Daniel's stomping grounds in the
80's, and Daniel's four siblings and ten nieces and nephews were in Texas -
most very close to Waller.
Since the move, Daniel has received continued medical help that eventually
brought him to the longest period of emotional stability in his adult life.
It was promising, but because Daniel could not hold a conventional job, his
dependency upon his parents has continued. Despite the attention
and activity over his music and art, there was little prospect that his work
could sustain him in their absence.
As time progresses, his aging parents (now 82 and 83 years old) are less
able to cope with the daily and hourly demands that living with a
medicated manic-depressive includes. Everyone still sought for
Daniel the personal dignity of his living on his own.
With all these concerns looming for Daniel,
key figures continued to pull for him. Thanks to Ron English,
his art began to get broad exposure. He began touring with
devout fan and personal confidant, Don Goede. Collaborating with Brian
Beatty, he published Rejected Unknown in 1999 - the first work in over five
years. That same year, Don Goede and Soft Skull Press published
the biography "Hi How Are You - the definitive handbook of Daniel Johnston."
The word was getting out.
Daniel's father then signed with Gammon
Records, who quickly put Daniel together with Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse.
The result was "Fear Yourself". By 2003, Daniel was able to
spend as much as several months a year on tour.
In 2004, with the release of DISCOVERED
COVERED, there began to appear a vision of Daniel being able to make it
without the constant care of his parents. Jordy Trachtenberg (then of
Gammon Records, now of Orchard Music) envisioned a 2-CD tribute album to
bring broad attention to Daniel's music. In that project,
eighteen prominent artists generously contributed to the cover album, and
142 pieces of art placed for sale as part of the "benefit" to enable Daniel
to live on his own.
The expressed intent of the project was to
"build Daniel his own house" - preferably right next door to his parents to
avoid the repeated traumatic failures of earlier attempts at living independently.
When money from the DISCOVERED COVERED CD
art sales became substantial, Daniel's father proceeded with hiring an
architect to draft plans for a house next door to his on land owned by his
father. The house plans for Daniel were basically the mirror
image (reverse floor plans) of his father's house, but scaled back overall in the number of rooms
In July, they cleared trees and laid frames
for the foundation. Last week a water well was drilled for the
house. That is the current state of construction seen in the [bottom] picture.
Daniel has alternating consternation and
excitement about the pending changes. It seems that he really
dreads what it might mean to be in a house by himself, but he also
anticipates some new freedom and perhaps a renewed sense of personal
For the moment, though, the noisy sounds of
construction next door has done little to distract Daniel from his
frenzied music-listening, song-writing and drawing in the garage of his