Rock Docs returns this week with a discussion about a legendary artist with a troubled life and a legacy of incredible homemade music. Daniel Johnston became a cult icon for his prolific body of work of lo-fi, home recorded albums. He recorded countless incredible songs on a home cassette deck, usually just with keyboard or guitar, and even made his major label debut in the ’90s, featuring members of the Butthole Surfers. His songs have also been covered by a long list of artists, including Beach House, Sparklehorse, and Wilco. Johnston was also a filmmaker and illustrator, and though he became famous for his music, he also struggled with bipolar disorder and had been hospitalized many times throughout his life.
Your hosts Andy Keatts and David Lizerbram dive into the 2005 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston, directed by Jeff Feuerzeig, which focuses on Johnston’s upbringing and features interviews with his family. It also highlights his friendship with artist Laurie Allen who unknowingly became Johnston’s muse, as well as how, despite his mental health struggles and its difficulties for him and his family, he achieved some level of success thanks to famous champions of his music, like Kurt Cobain.
This week’s guest on Rock Docs is Noah Bond, drummer in a number of projects including Cut Worms, Bonnie Doon, Sylvie, Anna St. Louis and more. Listen to the full episode below, and check out the trailer as well.