Daniel, Daniel Johnson, Daniels discussed on Rock N Roll Archaeology
And that was Daniel Johnson's version of rocket ship. And Kathy McCarthy's cover version of that song and talk about Kathy with a little bit and and to me it's like just a classic rock and roll story. The Way Daniel comes to town makes a name for himself and swoops up one of the biggest stars of the scene Kathy McCarthy and they even given the uniqueness of Daniel Johnson's lifestyle briefly item. Yeah well you know at the time was You know the hot Austin Band. Daniel admired them joan on them and she she She dogging back. She was probably one of the first people to get those tapes and she fell in love with The artist I before she realized that what the person she was dealing with Was definitely difficult. What's so That stories well told in the film. I think the the better story is what happens with Gang does best friend in the film. And real life of course Dave thornberry The poet from West Virginia who steals art buddy and I love how ultimately Daniel Couldn't have Kathy. But then his best friend ends up marrying chaffey and they're still together in Austin right now so I think that's a beautiful love story Says a lot about Daniel and his unrequited love theme and also. Cathy goes on to record a full album of Daniel songs. The first person to do that in Nineteen Ninety Four. And you know like she says in the movie she thinks that's her best work and the and the thing she'll be remembered for it and you know in the nineties. I think That album did overshadow daniels work because he was in and out of mental institutions and had a pretty bad deal with Atlantic records that kind of buried him for a while. And and for me. I know playing Kathy McCarthy's version Was a great way to explain Daniel. That people like you play these songs and this is a really good album and then you tell them about Dan rather than seventy times trying to play him. Daniel for people that just weren't prepared for the Lo fi sound and that's another thing. I wanted to talk a little bit about is is Daniel's place in what became known as the Lo fi movement. Yeah well there's there's two conversations to be had I mean the whole the cover version thing is kind of amazing because though I personally prefer my Dana Johnston raw and real and I really enjoy listening to stress cassettes more than the covers. It's amazing how many covers have been recorded and like you know in cafes literally next Friday night Or on world you know. Young people are covering Daniel Justin right now and we're talking tens of thousands so this is a real phenomenon that's been going on not just died recently. It's been going on for a long time and when you see so. Many great artists moved by Daniel whether it was Sonic boom of spacemen. Three or Jason Spacemen. Three and spiritualized covering him and things like that that really they zoned in on You know certain tracks like true level. Find you in the end Those are just so universal great. They're they're becoming very much like woody. Guthrie songs like it's part of the great American songbook and that would really I think moves me definitely. Introduces people you know. I think Nick Cave is recently. It's been covering Daniel. The list is endless But there's not hundreds and hundreds of people around the world and cafes Friday night to my knowledge covering Nick Cave interesting okay. So you know. We're trying to tell you. I think it's great these. Are you know often? Great Artists Acknowledging another great artist and then lovely and it keeps spreading. But you know Daniels now. Finally taken his proper place in that rare Mount Rushmore of super great artists that I've always said he was He belonged in. Which of course is you know. He's right up there with dealing writer. He's right up there with Brian Wilson. He's right up there with Lou Reed you know and people was insane for saying these things back. Then you know. But that's what I felt so It took an independent voice and independent film to to to make that message and put it out there certainly really so magazine times at the time was never going to tell you that and You know it was treated very much like Fulton's folly. When we were making the film some people thought we were absolutely insane for spending one million dollars on Daniel Johnston and I'm glad that I did so. Yes we are too and yeah. It's it's interesting. The aversion to people to Daniel send people have just because of the way. The stress cassettes were originally presented its low recorded on. Cassette. It's Lo fi quality his. He's fairly erratic singer The performances vary wildly in quality. In you know especially back in the day when we would trade tapes around town because Dan would record these things sometimes and you would have the same cassette and you thought you had the same because of that and then you'd hear somebody else play it and you'd be like that's not the one that's not the that's not done in the new year and you're like holy crap. He did this whole thing over which is something that hasn't been done by recording artists. Since the day of you know Edison and and yeah and anyway it's it's just been a fast anything to me to see the different reactions to Daniel based on how it's presented and it's amazing. How much having documentary. That's obviously a great film overwhelmed those objections and so you know thank you for bringing Daniel to so many people and but the Lo fi like. He came along at a time when Lo fi was just beginning to be a thing where where there were few artists Jandak and a few other people that were recording things at home and putting him out on cassette. And you had also a string of sort of barack artists who had burned out like syd Barrett and and skip spence of moby grape and rock Ericsson and then their recordings took on kind of this naive our quality in a way people didn't know how much in control of his abilities and Daniel kind of was on the absolute cutting edge of that and then fair who collaborated with them. And who've you've also documented in in another great film that people probably haven't seen but it's on DVD. You can still get the band who would be king highly recommended. Can you talk a little bit about the relationship between Daniel and Jad fair and the Daniels able to plug himself into this nationwide network of underground artists? Sure I mean we wanted to touch on the low fighting just briefly so I don't know I think is interesting in know it became a tag. You know and people need tags. You know you know genres and things like that. I don't think the mediums ever the message so laws but whatever. If that's what got him some ink that was fine but he he was a real innovator because you know unlike springsteen who latched on early to the task him for track set in made Nebraska. You Know Day of top that Daniel went further gained took just a standard cassette recorder. But he was an incredible innovator with it because he did over dubbing. You know which you don't necessarily or you're not really able to do dubbing with two independent cassette decks so he picked up a lot of room ambience and things like that and it's obviously He had one tiny microphone to plug in. And it didn't get in the way at all of of those field recordings in in many ways he was sort of like a modern day. Self documenting like Alan Lomax. You know recording like Robert Johnson who stood in a corner and made with mono like a false stereo using the ninety degrees at the walls. I don't know if you're aware of that or not. So yes so. Daniel did his own thing and it had its own ambiance and an aesthetic And you know Ba- like you mentioned those tapes were dubbed. So you're getting you know. Second sometimes third generation Dale Johnston and he definitely was yet. I I used to say you had to squeeze your years through. Hess to hear his incredible piano playing in the incredible motion songwriter. But that was part of the fun. You know Now you know a lot of those masters have been better than they're up there up on all the streaming sites and you don't have as much of that problem and I.