Daniel Johnston obituary
If popular music is often driven by advances in technology, Daniel Johnston’s work was proof that sincerity, simplicity and primitive recording equipment can deliver enduring results. Johnston, who has died of a suspected heart attack aged 58, became renowned for the haunting honesty and directness of his music. Its lo-fi quality emphasised the raw appeal of his voice, which was sometimes likened to the vintage recordings of Hank Williams or the bluesman Robert Johnson. Johnston himself cited the Beatles as his biggest influence.
He accumulated a committed following on the alternative and underground rock circuit, and among his admirers and supporters were Kurt Cobain of Nirvana (a particular fan of Johnston’s 1983 album Yip/Jump Music), Jason Pierce of Spiritualized, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Beck, members of the Butthole Surfers and Sonic Youth. Yet during the early years of his career, in the 1980s, Johnston’s work appeared only on a string of crude homemade audio cassettes released on his own Stress Records label, which he used to give away.Continue reading...