“Tears” – Daniel JohnstonPosted: May 27, 2012
An advocate for underground-music, Kurt Cobain is one credited with bringing widespread recognition to Daniel Johnston. After photographed wearing one of his trademark ‘Hi, How Are You’ shirts at the 1992 MTV Music Awards, speculation on the man exploded. In an era before the internet, this was a gigantic, yet momentary, spotlight on Johnston, where beforehand his only notoriety had come from handing out his cassettes to people at shows. At the time though, Johnston has just been released after a year being forcefully institutionalised. The reason? While being flown by his father in a small two-seater plane, Johnston suffered a manic delusion and believed he was Casper the Friendly Ghost. He then went on to wrestle for control of the plane, took the keys from the ignition and threw them out the window. Luckily, his father was able to crash-land amongst some trees, almost killing them and leaving the plane in shreds.
The insanity of Johnston’s life is uncontrollably mesmerising, and I can only beg that more people watch the incredibly-made documentary on him, ‘The Devil and Daniel Johnston’. The documentary covers the breadth of his life, his personality, his music, his idols and his dreadful, suffocating delusions. It covers his obsession with the Beatles, and John Lennon especially, a love reflected in his track ‘Lennon Song’. Johnston is an actual rarity, not with his own take on a genre or style, but just simply attempts to control his demons through an avenue he knows how too; music.
Johnston’s MTV performance, completely nervous, but with an adoring crowd: