Daniel Johnston Dead at 58

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Daniel Johnston, May 2013 (Simone Cecchetti/Corbis via Getty Images)
Daniel Johnston, May 2013 (Simone Cecchetti/Corbis through Getty Images)

Daniel Johnston, the lo-fi singer-songwriter and visible artist who rose to underground fame within the ’80s, has died after struggling a coronary heart assault, his former supervisor supervisor Jeff Tartakov confirmed to The Austin Chronicle. He was 58 years previous. Johnston was a prolific musician, recording quite a few albums totally on home made cassette tapes. His easy, honest, and childlike music was revered and extremely influential.

Born in Sacramento, California, Daniel Johnston grew up in New Cumberland, West Virginia. He started creating music in highschool, recording piano, vocals, and chord organ on a boombox. Johnston dropped out of Abilene Christian University in West Texas after being enrolled only some weeks, however later attended Kent State University’s artwork program. During this time, he recorded his first LP, 1980-1981’s Songs of Pain.

After about two years, Johnston dropped out once more and ultimately moved to Austin, Texas the place he started cultivating a following by continuously passing out his cassette tapes to passerby. His native success landed him an look on MTV’s The Cutting Edge collection in 1985.

Johnston traveled to New York City in 1988 to report his eleventh album, 1990, with producer Mark Kramer. Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley contributed to the Shimmy Disc data launch. That identical yr, Johnston was identified with schizophrenia. Over the course of recording of 1990, his psychological well being deteriorated drastically. He was involuntarily dedicated to a psychological hospital after taking part in at a music competition in Austin, Texas in 1990.

During that point, a label bidding conflict started after Kurt Cobain introduced consideration to his music by sporting his Hi, How Are You art work on a T-shirt. Elektra Records and Atlantic Records had been among the many bidders, however Johnston finally signed with Atlantic as a result of he believed Elektra signees Metallica to be Satanic.

Though Atlantic dropped Johnston from the label in 1996—two years after his Paul Leary-produced album Fun—he continued to report and collaborate with excessive profile musicians. In 2004, he launched the two-disc compilation The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered with renditions of his work by TV on the Radio, Jad Fair, Bright Eyes, Tom Waits, Death Cab for Cutie, Beck, Sparklehorse, and extra.

In 2005, Jeff Feuerzieg directed the award-winning documentary about his life known as The Devil and Daniel Johnston. Around this time, he shaped his personal label, Eternal Yip Eye Music. He launched his final album by way of Yip Eye, Space Ducks: Soundtrack, in 2012. He launched into his remaining tour in July 2017. In 2018, town of Austin honored Johnston by naming January 22 “Hi, How Are You?” Day.