february 2, 2011 // neckache of the month

It's that time again.. It's time for February's Neckache of the Month! For those of you who don't know what that means, I'll be highlighting one person a month that inspires me creatively. Last month it was Jim Henson.. and this month it's.. drum roll

......................................... Daniel Johnston!


I first learned about Daniel Johnston back about two years ago on my first Roadie tour. We passed through Austin, Texas. It was my first time there and I was told that I had to visit the "Hi, How Are You?" frog on the corner of 21st and Guadalupe. Sadly, we didn't have to time to stop by.. When I passed through Austin again on my road trip from Connecticut to move out to California I made sure to visit the city landmark.


I didn't know much about Daniel Johnston.. actually.. up until a few months ago. An artist and musician, Johnston got his start recording songs on a $59 boombox. He started handing out tapes of his music for free. Austin record stores got a hold of the tapes and started selling them locally. His songs have heart and meaning and, though he never claimed to have a great voice, his music became increasingly popular in Austin and the surrounding area. He was eventually featured on an MTV show called "The Cutting Edge", which brought more attention to his music and made him a minor celebrity.

Daniel Johnston is also an incredible artist. He draws cartoons that are fun to look at, are sometimes crazy, but that usually also have deep symbolism.


Johnston has struggled with mental illness since his early twenties. A documentary was made about his life and creative career called The Devil and Daniel Johnston . I haven't seen the documentary yet, but I'm hoping to this month! Daniel turned fifty just a few weeks ago on January 22nd. I love how simple, yet meaningful his work is. Despite urging from friends and family to learn more practical stills, Daniel continues to push forward creatively. His fan base has continued to grow since his early days of fame in Austin and more as more people learn about his life and work.

I really admire his unique creative energy. This month I'm going to challenge myself to write and record five songs on cassette tape.. just the way Daniel Johnston recorded his first songs. I purchased an old tape recorder from Goodwill for $1 (it was half off - score!), which I'll use to record my songs. They'll most likely be awful.. but they'll be mine. One of my goals on my 25 before 26 list is to write and record five songs, so this will be a good challenge.

Daniel Johnston, you're inspiring! Keep up the great work that is uniquely yours!

1 comment:

  1. The documentary is good! Definitely worth checking out.


Thanks for your comments! Each and every one means so much!

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