LETTERS TO DANIEL JOHNSTON
SELECT LETTERS FROM DANIEL FANS...
Dear Daniel, I am 17 years old and have recently
discovered you through videos of Kurt Cobain wearing you're "Hi, How Are
You" album shirt. I also just the other day saw, and watched your
biography movie. I instantly fell in love with your music, your art, and
your poetic lyrics. Seeing videos of you and the emotion put into the
music you perform and write is something that took my breath away. You
truly understand what music is, and it exudes from you. From watching
and listening to you play online, along with watching your life story it
has shown me that expensive software and equipment is not necessary to
record music. I have started writing music about a few months back and
you have given me in two days more confidence than i could have gained
in a life-time. I only wrote to you to pay my full respect and
appreciation to you. You are the definition of an artist and everything
music could possibly want to be. Your music and art give me a sense of
happiness and bring smiles to my face, the emotion is indescribable. I
only wish and hope your life is everything you ever expected it to be,
and i hope it continues to live out to your expectations.
Sincerely, and respectfully, Joseph O'Donnell
I just wanted to
tell you and Daniel THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU from the bottom of my
heart for the wonderful package you sent my way! I really appreciate the
effort you all put into it and I just wanted to let you know that it
means A LOT to me.
Honestly I was having a pretty
rough day when I opened my mail and when I saw the HiHowAreYou
frog-man-thing, I practically screamed. Daniel Johnston made my day!
See FAN PHOTOS
HI musician of feelings ! I'm writing
you from Bretany in France (sorry for my English...). My friend told
me once that you were like someone who extract jewels from the rocks,
beautiful diamonds full of feelings ! And even if they are then
sculpted to be more "conventional" they are still the most wonderful
when they are in your hands, because they just come from your heart,
from the deep and true feeling of human beings !
What we mean is that music is not good because it "sounds perfect" ,
but it's good when it makes you shiver and even cry or laugh because
emotions come straight on to you without your needing to come up to
We hope to see you Daniel ! at " La Route du Rock" in St Malo !
Bye and lots of love !
I've been a fan since I first heard the KIDS soundtrack in 1995. You
can often find me blasting your music dancing around here at the
flowershop. Impossible Love is one of my favorite songs of all time!
I love your art! I tried to buy a piece last week and couldn't
remember my paypal password...so I tried again today and holy moly! I
had no idea that the NYTimes was doing a story about you. So...I guess
you aren't my little secret anymore. I'll be checking your site to see
when more art is available...drat. I can't believe the difference a
few days can make. Congrats on your success!
I love your brain!
I'm glad you are back in good health,
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)
I hope your feeling better. I am
really enjoying this website dedicated to your work. I must admit I
have been somewhat out of touch with what you have been doing the last
few years. Lately I have been wanting to hear again one of your
records, Hi How Are You, so I was searching out a copy when I came
upon this website of yours. I will never forget the first time I heard
your music. I was with a friend out at Stonybrook College in Long
Island, NY and he was doing his weekly radio show. I was in the record
library pulling LPs for the show, when over the library speaker system
came your "Walking The Cow" song. I remember being totally blown away
by it. I dashed into the control room and quickly grabbed the LP
cover, which equally blew me away!! I listen to ALOT of music, I am a
record dealer, and I can say that when I think of the few times in my
life that I have really been MOVED by a particular piece of music, I
mean really mesmerized, that time stands out as one of the most
memorable!! Thank you, Sir. Recently I have had a similar reaction to
a obscure artist from Hong Kong who recorded in the 1970's, a young
girl named Chan-gel. Very, very interesting mixture of sounds going on
on her records. Organs that sound like a 1950's Sci-Fi movie
soundtrack, twangy Duane Eddy-esque guitars, marimbas and unusual
percussion. I'd be glad to send you a tape if you'd like, just let me
know. I'll be checking out some of your more recent works as well.
God Bless You Daniel!! Allen
I've purchased the Yip / Jump music LP a time
ago from a former radio station in the U.S.
The funny thing is that those people really
didn't understand a thing about it. I've made some pictures of the LP
as it arrived to me in the Netherlands. Also I've made a picture of
Too bad you had to end the European Tour. I
hope to see you in Amsterdam some time.
(click to enlarge)
Dear Daniel Johnston,
Although I'm not famous like many of
your other admirers I ,nevertheless, have grown attached to your
music. I first heard "Rejected Unknown" and then "1990". I picked up
copies of a few of your other CD's and have really enjoyed them.
There is something in your music that I certainly can relate too.
Thanks. Keep up the good fight and I hope to hear more of you in the
Dear Daniel Johnston,
I've never felt the need to write
somebody fan-mail before. This is actually my first one. But the other
day I was listening to "Don't let the sun go down on your grievience"
and I just felt good. I felt better than I had in a very long time,
actually. For the period that you're CD was on, I was in a good
place. I then realized it was because your music inspires me. I guess
that sounds really corny and lame, but I just don't know another way
to word it. I haven't felt this way about music since I discovered
Springsteen, and that was five years ago. I guess I'm one of your
younger fans, cause I'm only fifteen, but my family life isn't really
buckets of fun right now. When I put on your music, though, it's my
own therapy session. I just felt that you should know somewhere out
there you're music makes someone's life a little more bearable.
Thank you for that, and for sharing something so lovely.
just wanted to let you know that i recently
discovered your songs. don't know if you approve or not, but i was
reading a book called "songs in the key of z" and i was intrigued by
the description of your music, and by luck i recently found a copy of
"the late great daniel johnston" soon after. at first, i was a little
upset, because i thought you'd died, and was greatly relieved to find
that this was not the case.
anyway, i was deeply moved by the loveliness
of your songs. your songwriting is extraordinary. and while the cover
versions of the songs add a glossy sheen and listenability, i truly
enjoyed your originals, especially "like a monkey in a zoo".
just wanted to express my appreciation. i'm
really looking forward to listening to more.
good luck and best wishes.
p.s. i love your artwork too. and cows.
dear mr johnston
life sucks in general, gets really
really awful at other times and is usually more like purgatory than
hell. sometimes it's punctuated by moments of sheer joy that are all
that make the whole bloody affair remotely worthwhile, such as the
first time i read a book by larry brown or the first time i listened
to the originals disc of the recent tribute to you and it was like
prometheus showing me fire he stole from the gods, and in the several
days that i've had the record i have played it at least 10 times, and
the originals are better than the covers by the big name stars. do
yrself a favor and become yr own savior? that line does something
different to me every time, depending on the mood, whether it's jump
up and down or weep. and you have all those other lines that are that
good. the only 2 times that come immediately to mind in a pop song
where the vocal delivery perfectly punctuates the lyrics are on
pennyroyal tea where kc screams that he's so tired that he can't
sleep, and then on yr version of rock this town where you sing that yr
more dead than alive and you sound more dead than alive. the record
also depressed me in that i have gone this long (too long) without
owning any of yr catalog. i could go on and on forever, but i won't.
just keep doing what you do, writing immaculate songs and helping one
wounded soul at a time. joe scum, sc
joe scum sc
Is Danny dead? My sadness will not be contained. Please
Please do not be
Johnston is NOT dead.
He is alive and
well, and lives in Waller, Texas. He still spends his days
drawing and writing songs. He still plays at gigs near home, and
on occasion he can be persuaded to travel for a performance
somewhere in the USA, Canada, Japan, or Europe.
The album title "The
Late Great Daniel Johnston" is intended to mimic (in fun) the
album name often used to celebrate the music of someone who
is STILL ALIVE.
Happily, that is the
case with this album. Daniel is alive and doing well.
Thank you for
Many years ago, you helped me through a very depressed time. I had a
cassette of Hi, How Are You that I taped from a great radio station in
Davis, CA (KDVS) and I played it when I felt lonely. That meant I
played it pretty often. I found transcendence through that album. It
didn't bring me out of depression, but it made me feel good. And
Over the years, I have brought your music out and played it for
people. Usually it's someone I start to get close to and I want to
share this part of myself with. Once in a great while, I find someone
who really "gets" your music, and other times people just hear the
surface sound and think it's a joke album. I feel bad saying that, but
by this point you must have heard that angle.
I'm glad to hear that you're touring again, and I hope that you will
some day come to San Francisco. I drag all my friends to see Jonathan
Richmond when he comes to town, even through he doesn't really shake
with the honesty he had back in the "Summer Morning" days. I would
a special point to come to see you.
Over the years I have heard some second hand stories about you being
institutions and getting reckless and so forth. I can relate. That
hasn't been my path, but I have manic depression in my family, so I
hum the tune even if I don't know the exact words. I wish you peace,
even as a man who struggles with that, himself.
I hope that it gives you some pleasure to read that you have touched
the heart of a man in California. You have improved my life. Maybe it
would make you happier if this letter were from a girl, but, well, we
each do what we can.
There's a heaven, and there's a star for you, Daniel.
keep on rockin you crazy
hombre, always throw caution to the wind.eat ya greens an all
lots of love,
south shields, ENGLAND.
I would like to
marry you if you want
move your ass up to austria,
please. i don't had the money for a journey to germany and i'm sure
i'm not the only one......
it would be a pleasure!!!
When I was at the Roskilde
festival with my wife I listened to your concert. The second to last
song you played you sang about true love and how it won´t find you
unless you go out looking for it because true love is looking too. I
thought that was really beautiful. Please keep on making you r
sensitive and heartfull music!
Much love M and K in Sweden
I am a 17-year-old boy from
Denmark who has spent the past 8 days on the Roskilde Festival where
you played last Saturday. I didn't know anything about you and your
music until i read in the festivalprogram that you were going to play.
I took the chance and went to see you instead of the marvelous
rapartists El-P, Aesop Rock and Rjd2 who were playing at the same
time. I had been looking forward to the rap show for a long time so it
was a hard descission to make.
You didn't disappoint me. Your
concert is the most moving thing i've ever seen. Simply amazing. Your
lyrics and your performance left some serious marks on my
consciousness. Now I have to get Fear Yourself so I can hear if you're
as great on record as on stage.
Bottom line: You've given me
one of the most beautiful concert experiences ever. Thank you very
much Daniel. I hope you're well and that love isn't too tough on you.
We were all very sad to have missed you at the
Piccadilly in Vancouver on the 20th and want to send our best wishes
so that you might feel better soon. As always you are in our hearts
and minds and ears. Incredibly, almost everyone stuck around even
after hearing that you had canceled the gig. Someone must have brought
a copy of "Fun" with them to have you autograph and somehow talked the
bartender into putting it on the stereo. So we all sat around and had
an impromptu listening party at the club. Even through our
disappointment, it turned out to be a very touching and fun evening. I
wish that you could have been there to share it with us, but there is
always a next time.
The next time you have a moment, drop by my
website and listen to my cover of "Silly Love" that I've contributed
for the tribute album that Seth Graves is trying to put together. I
hope you approve. We do it out of love.
Kyle T (Headrush
Get well soon
you're feeling better today, Daniel. Your music and art has
meant a lot to me in times of trouble. I also suffer from
depression, so alot of the time it seems like you're singing about me.
I wish I lived in Waller, Texas so we could get together and jam.
You seem like you'd be a pretty cool guy to hang out with.
Your music I believe is some of the
purest most honest music ever to have been written from what I've
heard in the 17 years of my life. Your not afraid to be different with
your lyrics and your music. I'm not even sure if you realize that you
are different, which makes your music even more beautiful. It
would be a memory i would never forget if you could take a listen at
my music also. you can hear some songs on
www.geocities.com/lockjawliketodance thanks a lot!..
I am a
professional artist and have followed your writing and life for
several years. I find your writing wonderfully visual. One verse that
particularly sticks in my head is from an old cassette of yours that I
have. the line is ...."The sun is shining brightly, and the birds are
singing pretty. What's the matter with me?"....brilliant. That is
perhaps one of the most honest and enlightened sentences I have ever
heard. Anyway, I will not pine on about you, as JD Salinger said,
"Don't tell me I am a good writer."
[editors note: this the only email of this kind ever received, and so
somehow it seems worthy of printing to remind ourselves that 'not
everyone gets it']