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Author Topic: interviews&etc  (Read 3014 times)
dead dog laughing in the cloud
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"get yourself together or fall apart."

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« on: November 25, 2008, 06:08:50 AM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ68P3kXj-s interesting interview#1 of 3 parts 
denmark '08   
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDmEbrQdBxM another - short - interview germany '08

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVzmk0oWuK0 louisville festival '08
..which song is this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMIjqVA3fck  impromptu performance 
louisville '08  .. which song is this?

interview in print:
[JULY 2002]

Daniel Johnston: His So-Called Life


It’s early afternoon at the Crocodile Café in Seattle and Daniel Johnston is standing alone in a corner, holding onto the butt of a cigarette for dear life. He’s dressed in old, grey sweatpants and a weather-beaten windbreaker heavy with buttons advertising his favorite band, the Beatles. As he gazes doe-eyed around the room, a crouching photographer hops in circles around him. A few feet away, all three members of his road crew – his surrogate family, for all intents and purposes – sit talking and laughing and keeping a watchful eye.

Because although Daniel Johnston is 41 years old and has been playing his own music for nearly two decades, he still occasionally needs help finding his way to the men’s room, or ordering a burger and fries, or making it onto the small concert stages where fans wait patiently for his brief and rare performances that have been called “magical, sweetly innocent, and simply spellbinding.”

Johnson has always been at odds with his own obscurity. In the early ‘80s he began handing out homemade cassettes of his work to strangers on the streets of Austin, Texas, but it wasn’t until the innocently anthemic “Casper the Friendly Ghost” showed up on the KIDS motion picture soundtrack in 1995 that a shot at the big leagues actually seemed like a possibility. He was promptly picked up by a major label, Kurt Cobain was spotted wearing a Daniel Johnston t-shirt during the MTV music video awards ceremony, and for a short while the stars seemed within reach.

"I want to be a millionaire,” Johnston says as we settle into a booth to talk, a fresh pack of smokes and two Sprites in front of him. “It’s something I want, sure.”

But as he waddles onto the stage at the Crocodile later that night, an awkward hush falls over the crowd. “Oh my God, that’s him!” says a girl toward the back of the room. “He still lives with his parents!” says someone else. No rock club has ever been so silent, and we can hardly believe what we’re seeing as Johnston guzzles soda from a paper cup, wipes the resulting drizzle with the back of his hand and then rests a battered acoustic guitar against his generous pot belly, looking more like a sweetly over-grown cherub than the underground indy legend he’s become.

A life-long battle with severe manic depression has kept Johnston off the touring circuit for the vast majority of his career, and according to Jordan Trachtenberg, owner of Gammon Records, it also nearly cost him his life. “He was practically left for dead,” Trachtenberg says. “He was bedridden for seven years. That’s why he doesn’t have any of his top teeth, he refused to brush them.”

But Johnston’s 82 year-old father, who is also his manager, never gave up hope and eventually discovered a miracle combination of anti-depression medicine. “My Dad’s really my greatest hero,” Johnston says, “because he’s always been so kind to me. Ever since he took over I’ve been rich, I’ve been traveling, having fun. Even my art is selling for a ridiculous amount of money, like a hundred dollars.”

After 20 minutes of songs Johnston takes a break to confer with Trachtenberg, who’s waiting just off stage. “Was that 45 minutes?” he asks. Trachtenberg shakes his head back and forth, and then Johnston faces the audience. “The president of my record company says if I don’t play long enough I won’t get paid,” he says, with a hangdog expression on his puffy face. Embarrassed giggles and cries of “awww” work their way around the room.

But the show must go on, as they say, and so Johnston flips through the pages of his hand-written songbook and settles on an old favorite. It could be a child up there, singing about the power of love and all things good, and for another 20 minutes Daniel Johnston is the most famous rock star in the whole world.

"if ..
you become naked .."
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