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Author Topic: Accuracy of the book "Hi How Are You"  (Read 26528 times)
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« on: November 17, 2003, 08:22:00 AM »

The book "Hi How Are You - the definitive handbook of Daniel Johnston" is a good resource containing great samples of Daniels art and lyrics throughout his career.   It also has a pretty descriptive BIOGRAPHICAL sketch and lots of photos.

Details of that BIOGRAPHY has been the subject of some dispute, and to generate discussion, some MESSAGE THREADS from Amazon.com on this subject are posted here.
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2003, 08:27:49 AM »

Response to the Dentist, May 1, 2000
Reviewer: A reader from New York  

Dentist: Hello Daniel Johnston fans. I'm sorry, but I don't really agree that this is definitive account of Daniel's life.

Fan: Of course you don't because you're not mentioned in the book. It's obvious you're bitter because no one asked your opinion. Not a definitive account? 95% of the information in this book comes from Daniel himself, his closest friends, not to mention his parents. What are you thinking?

Dentist: You see, I have been a friend of "Danny's" for most of his life and believe the early portion of Tarssa's account is bogus.

Fan: Bogus? I have spoken to the author and Daniel about this book and the information has come from INTERVIEWS WITH REAL PEOPLE so what you are saying is that everyone is lying?

Dentist: I know I'll get alot of "this review didn't help" but who cares.

Fan: Well, if you're really Daniel's friend wouldn't you want this book to do well? For him? Doesn't this book celebrate the man, the artist, the songwriter? Not to mention clarifying alot of misconceptions that have been floating around for years? Isn't the overall perception of this book positive or am I missing something? I've read it ten times! Try reading it off of Nitris Oxide (sp)

Dentist: I lived it with Danny.

Fan: Then why didn't they interview the siamese twin?

Dentist: I visited him when he was in Weston State Hospital in Weston, West Virginia; I picked him up from his home in New Cumberland, WV and brought him into my home to listen to his troubled times during manic as well as depressive stages, I was there when his medicine wouldn't work, I was there when his parents, Bill and Mabel, needed someone to talk too, I was there when Danny decided to start recording again and dug out my bass to play along, I was there when we practice in Bill and Mabel Johnston's basement preparing for "Artistic Vice".

Fan: All I can say to this is READ THE BOOK! There are many accounts of the friends that have helped him throughout the years. Contact the publisher so you can give an interview for the next edition. Quit bitching.

Dentist: I am still here when Danny calls from Texas at least twice a week.

Fan: You don't have to fib. A little bird told me it MIGHT be once a month. Dentists aren't allowed to use hyperbole.

Dentist: Don't label Bill and Mabel Johnston as religous zealots. They are good and honest,God fearing people and have raised Danny the best they could.

Fan: I know for a fact that Mabel and Bill have both read this book and they don't feel the way you do. I looked for the word zealot and can't find it anywhere.You are so off base with that statement. This book talks endlessly about the support they have given Daniel since his childhood and never ONCE does it say anything bad about them.

Dentist: Yes, Danny had his moments of fuzzy recollection,

Fan: You say you've read this book but that's all you can come up with is "fuzzy recollection" I would say objectively he is quite lucid in many of his recollections.

Dentist: and yes he didn't always get along with his parents, but they do love him and Danny loves them.

Fan: Where does it say anywhere in this book that they don't love each other!

Dentist: I love him too, and am still waiting for a "definitive" auto-biography. This one isn't it.

Fan: It's not an auto-biography! It's a handbook. Do you love him enough to want what's best for his musical career? Thank God you don't have clout.

Was this review helpful to you?

Fan: Yes, in a way. It made me re-read the book to try and find out where the this guy is coming from and after reading the "more about me" section it's obvious he's bitter about not being interviewed for the book. I'm just glad that he didn't facilitate a book about Daniel himself for half of it would have been about Dentistry and how much he loves blood, and we would have to find out why the walking advertisement for Clockwork Orange puts a pacifier in his mouth. The one question I have for the dentist is......

Why didn't you let Kramer play bass?

A Fan from New York
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2003, 03:45:08 PM »

I've read this a while ago and was kinda confused.  Who is this dentist guy and is he for real?  It would be weird if it was.
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2004, 05:15:28 AM »

Daniel has been different things to many people. It's inevitable that there would be some disagreement over the accuracy of the book. I was disappointed by some of the things that were left out, but overall it's a good book to read about a great guy. No fussin'! Danny would want the fan and the dentist both to relax and have fun instead of butting heads like goats. Eat a candy bar and read a comic!
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2004, 12:24:06 PM »

Here's another clue you might like.
The dentist was Mike.

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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2004, 12:26:06 PM »

Hey I just noticed I suddenly have Casper as my avatar. Nothing wrong with that but I didn't pick him - he just appeared!   smiley
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2006, 10:00:52 PM »

Mike who?
OR, who is Mike the Dentist huh OR..........
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« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2006, 06:57:52 AM »

mike the dentist is a guy in the band that played on the wonderful album Artistic Vice. He is the guy with that thing in his mouth on the back of the album cover.
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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2006, 02:57:16 AM »

I remember he posted a review of Artistic Vice, in which his sole motivation appeared to be stating that he wrote the music for 'The Startling Facts'.
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2006, 06:23:14 AM »

Are you refering to this?
'
Had a great time recording with Dan!, February 22, 2000
Reviewer:   Dr. Michael C. West
Hello you twisted music fans! I'm Mike West and I played bass on the Artistic Vice album. We had a wonderful time recording this album in a funky Geo-Dome recording studio in the hills of West Virginia. Shimmy Disc's Kramer controlled the recording sessions and mixed most of the songs on site. He doesn's waste any time in the studio and sure didn't waste any on us. The best part of this recording process was the practice sessions that led up to the recording. We jammed in Bill and Mabel Johnston's (Danny's Mom & Dad) basement just outside Chester, West Virginia. This was the best of times. Danny was in fine spirits (mostly because I supplied his much appreciated "soda pop" and that sugar buzz kept him going). The picture of the band was taken in Danny's back yard and yes, that's me with the pacifier stuck in my mouth. Never got over that "oral stage". Guess that's why I became a Dentist! The songs on the album sound alot more produced than anything Danny had done up to that point. The "Eye Band" wasn't professional but we had our moments. I believe that the one song on the album that really stood out was "I Killed The Monster", a real life self-commentary by Danny. "Happy Soul" is also a great peek into the mind set of Daniel Johnston in the year 1991. On the spoken word song "A Ghostly Story" that's my music being played in the background. Didn't get credit for it on the album, but then again just being able to work with Danny on this release was enough payment. Give "Artistic Vice" a listen or two. It will grow on you like a fungus (or at least periodontal disease). "I'm so happy! "----Mike
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2006, 10:57:23 PM »

And yes, it is my original music on "A Ghostly Story". It's actually an original song called "Hole In My Soul". And I did state that I was more than happy to give that original music to Danny. The post on Amazon was in direct response to what I believed was a non-plus book about Danny. They didn't get it right. 'Nuff said.
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« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2006, 06:27:07 PM »

Who is this wanker Ron English? Why is he all over the book? Is he married to the author or something? Inquiring minds want to know.

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« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2006, 09:57:57 AM »

Who is this wanker Ron English? Why is he all over the book? Is he married to the author or something? Inquiring minds want to know.

Jackand George

You got it. He is indeed a wanker who happens to be married to the author. From what I hear the second edition of the book that's coming out later this year will have considerably less Ron English.
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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2006, 07:46:06 AM »

I disagree. Ron English is a very talented, very creative fellow. Say what you will about the book, but "Wanker" is not a term which comes to mind to describe him. Others, perhaps, but not Mr. English.

He's always been a gentleman when I've met him. Personal, approachable and downright friendly.

For further information, I'd suggest his music, his art, his subversive billboards, his website (http://www.popaganda.com/), his films or his other art books. Then decide for yourself.
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« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2009, 11:09:42 PM »

Yes, Ron English seems to be one of the closest friends of Daniel (but I can be wrong of course). I find this picture (http://www.popaganda.com/photos/2007Dan/pages/dan%20sleeping.html) to be a good view of their friendship. Wonderful picture too.
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