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Author Topic: what will become of daniel?  (Read 14127 times)
wickedwill
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« on: December 17, 2003, 10:34:44 AM »

we all know daniels parents are his caretakers but as they get on up there in age and are unable to take care of him who will? what will become of daniel? Sad
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2003, 11:23:14 AM »

Good Quesiton.  This may require some response from family members.
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DWJ
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2003, 11:54:10 AM »

I'm Daniel's brother.  I appreciate your concern.  This is a very real, very pressing issue.

Daniel is relatively "stable" and healthy right now, but the prospects for him are in the balance.

His father is 81 years old - and was hospitalized for a week after returning from Japan with Daniel in January.   His mother is 80 years old, had major knee replacement surgery earlier this year, and has failing eyesight such that she cannot even dial a telephone without help.

Despite Daniel's own claims, he fears moving out of the house from his parents, and doesn't look forward to the isolation - even if he were just to live next door.  He cannot be relied upon to take his medication regularly (to maintain stable mental health) and MUST have supervision.  He does not currently drive, and is not self-mobile - he needs someone to travel with him to get around.   He is so A.D.D. that he cannot maintain his surroundings - and so needs a regular housekeeper, etc.

Daniel is living on Social Security (disability) - which is some indication that he is not "wealthy" from his music and art income.  

Income from his records and royalties is decent for an outsider artist perhaps, but not enough for someone to live on.   There are sometimes very good earnings from tours at major festivals, but that is consumed by the costs of travel, etc.

So Daniel has a financial hurdle, a logistical hurdle (a separate place to live) and a personal one (leaving home).

Family members have become involved with helping Dan's career and moving to a point that Daniel can move out of the house and be on his own with some kind of help / supervision.   Time is critical, as his parents are far too old for him to be living with them, and time is limited that he can earn enough to retire on.

Many people are concerned with these questions and are actively pursuing things to help.   For example:

1 - Jeff Feuerzeig and Henry Rosenthaul are making a 2+ hour documentary which is hoped will place Daniel in the spotlight leading to some financial future.

2.  Jordy Tractenburg of Gammon records is well into the process of a Daniel Johnston COVERS BENEFIT album - by major artists with the proceeds going into a trust fund.

3.  Don Goede has long been a force behind Daniel's book publishing, a covers albums, and promoting Daniel's career.

4.  Jeff Tartakov remains interested in Daniel's independance and future.

5.  As mentioned, family members are actively involved: traveling with Daniel, promoting him, assisting their parents, searching for housing solutions, etc.

Daniel has come a long way to the current level of stability and happiness, but there are several new stages of life ahead of him that he is not prepared for - living on his own (financially) and moving out from his parents (or dealing with their eventual death).

Anyway, thanks for your concern, and BE ASSURED that EVERYTHING that fans do to "spread the word" is great help.  

It is the cumulative enthusiasm of Daniel's fans that is the greatest hope for Daniel's future.

Good question - thanks for asking!   Any other specifics?
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Henry Long
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2003, 05:33:56 PM »

DWJ-
Many thanks for the honest and obviously important response concerning Daniel's well-being and future. Speaking for myself, his music has seen me through some very rough times indeed, and I'm sure his fans are interested in returning the love anyway they can.

Anyway, I've often thought about a COVER'S BENEFIT album for Daniel's future financial security, much in the vein of Sweet Relief I (Songs of Victoria Williams) and Sweet Relief II (Songs of Vic Chesnutt) on Columbia Records (SONY).

Knowing that Tractenburg is planning something like this with Gammon gives me pause, however, in terms of artistic talent available for that label, as well as promotion, management, royalties etc.

One of the elements that made the aforementioned releases commercially beneficial to the artists was the name recognition of its contributing musicians; Folks like Pearl Jam, Lou Reed, Lucinda Williams, Garbage, Smashing Pumpkins, Sparklehorse, REM, etc. from a variety of record labels (Epic,  RCA, Sire, Warner Bros, Atlantic)

I guess what I'm getting at is although most of my personal musical interests are with the indie labels, I would like to see the songs of Daniel Johnston (Sweet Relief III?!) reach as many listeners as possible. Know what I mean? Airplay, as in radio stations, can be a good thing, even if it's only through NPR, College, or the rare listener-supported stations (WXPN)

On the other hand, look what happened with the Coen Brother's "O Brother Where Art Thou?" soundtrack phenomenia. Two or three well placed Daniel songs in a major motion picture (i.e. a HIT with star power) could make all the difference in the world.

Get George Clooney and Julia Roberts on the phone!

Well, it seems many have Daniel's best interest at heart, and I'm sure time will see only more success for his musical and artistic vision. Thank's again for sharing.
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2003, 05:43:19 PM »

Henry,

I appreciate your concern, and I understand this reaction.  I hope this isn't really an issue.  So far I'm very impressed with the list of artists they are engaging for this album, although I'm not sure I'm able to say who they are.

The artists on the Gammon label does not correspond in any way (that I know of) to that list.

As I understand it, the artists placed on a list for consideration is about forty or so, and they are working from the top down AND they are finding new artists that fit at the top.

I can't say that they'll "do it right", but the only thing that I need to correct is the assumption that this is limited to Gammon artists or to Tractenburg's field of influence.   Several of the artists are altogether "out of the box" connections - although I don't know which have been nailed down.

AND if you have any additional suggestions (other than the ones you mentioned) by all means, speak up!

I think there are other threads in the message board that make suggestions about who to include - I'll try to locate those and continue that discussion there.  (or is there a way to cross reference topics in different threads??)
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2003, 06:26:47 PM »

On the subject of "what can be done to help Daniel"

A lot of good-hearted people have been sacrificially involved over the years determined to step in and rescue Daniel from himself with the artistic contributions he has made and can make.

In their attempts, we all face frustrating obstacles to helping Daniel - not the least of which is Daniel himself.  Daniel has no real financial savy, and a serious spending compulsion.  Also, Daniel's stability has hampered things, and his inability to travel alone, etc.  That makes anything that might be done an "uphill climb" for those involved.

I'm not going to successfully include all the important names, but for starters -

Names out of Daniel's past have been involved, were true friends, and were there to support him in the difficult times - these people are all too often overlooked.   Some that come to mind: David Thornberry, Ron Harris, Kevin Still, Mike West, and wow- I'm going to get in trouble here for not including more names... (I'll try to expand this list later).

Then in Texas, Jeff Tartokov labored many a year promoting Daniel.  While he hoped to reconcile the investment of time with creating income for both of them to survive, it probably wasn't possible just then - not without Daniel's further cooperation - and that wasn't in the cards.

Kathy McCarty, the Butthole Surfers, Brian Beatty, Mark Linkous, Jad Fair, Ron English (and many more) - all these people stepped in sacrificially to demonstrate the worth of Daniel's creative genius to a broader audience.  Their efforts resulted in some worth-while stuff, but none of it could leap the hurdle of wide-acceptance of such a stubbornly "my way" kind of music making that Daniel does - or the appeal that he seeks to meet.

Key people involved in the 50 Skaddilion Watts undertaking, Jaguaguar Records, Atlantic, and most recently Dual Tone and Gammon Records - to my knowledge their involvement was good hearted and strove at some risk, investment, and even loss to reconcile Daniel's appeal and a working business model.

My perceptions has certainly evolved over time, and I'm sure will change further - but ignoring what direction things might take if the feature-length documentary recieves wide viewing here is my current outlook:

Currently my perception is that the best long-term impact on his income is by the methods similar to what has happened so far: the wide audience of alternate-music / outsider artist appeal - which while large is not at all self-aware or integrated as a single entity.  It is multiple overlapping and intertwining threads of interest.

The best approached (it seems to me) to gain exposure in areas where this kind of expression is well received is through mediums like college radio - student audiences.  And so I try to promote exposure there - almost always with very warm reception.

What makes this strategy difficult to pursue is that these people don't necessarily have money that benefits Daniel right now.  But they will be the people who - if they've cultured an interest in this kind of music = will be back later as college grads and able to buy this kind of music.

Well, that' s my take on things - your feedback helps clarify, modify, or revamp these perceptions.

Thanks again for your very real interest in my brother's welfare.
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2003, 08:36:54 PM »

DWJ-
Thanx for the clarification.
Sorry if I came off "overly protective" or something. It wasn't intentional. Everyone feels some kind of intimacy with the music they love, and I guess that can lead to a certain possessiveness, which can be misplaced.
I look forward to any and all celebrations of Daniel's music, personal wishlists aside. Ultimately, it's all about the creative process, and THAT I'm into for the duration.
Happy Holidays to you and your family, and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!
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« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2003, 01:47:54 PM »

Wow.....great thread.  Thx for the info DWJ.
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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2004, 07:55:51 PM »

Quote from: DWJ
So far I'm very impressed with the list of artists they are engaging for this album, although I'm not sure I'm able to say who they are.


I won't spoil things either, but suffice to say, if even a small percentage of the names I've heard are really involved, everyone here will be floored.

 - Not Daniel
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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2004, 08:13:17 PM »

why not try to get daniel signed to matador records. that seems like a place that would be interested. cosloy put out some of daniel's stuff on homestead and yo la tengo could perhaps help in some way since they are friends.
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2004, 08:03:28 PM »

Quote
why not try to get daniel signed to matador records. that seems like a place that would be interested. cosloy put out some of daniel's stuff on homestead and yo la tengo could perhaps help in some way since they are friends.notdaniel


They're leery of Daniel's management situation.
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