RIP Daniel Johnston 1961-2019

Time stood still when I heard the news that Daniel Johnston left us this month. There are only a few moments in one’s lifetime when time stands still. At the time I felt guilty for the sorrow I felt and for the tears that I cried, because if you’re a Johnston fan, you know he wouldn’t want that. It wasn’t simply the fact of death that caused my sorrow, but also the sudden understanding that I would never see an artist of this caliber in my lifetime again.

The first time I heard Johnston’s music, I was thirteen, at an age when self-discovery seemed so crucial my mind and body felt like they were on fire. The year had not been a particularly good one for me and it felt like any daily event could change the course of who I was forever. I couldn’t put it into words myself, but I craved a sense of security — I craved a sense of identity, however strange it would be. I wanted a world where I could run away to escape everything going on around me, if only for a short while. Music was an obvious escape from reality, a place where I couldn't be bothered.

After some time spent going to record stores, watching old bootlegs of musicians, and wandering into clothing shops, I began to notice one image that kept catching my attention: Jeremiah the Innocent, the little cartoon frog from the cover of Johnston’s Hi, How Are You. Read the rest