Singer-songwriter Daniel Johnson has died. A typical American underground scene, musician and visual artist died at the age of 58 in his home near Houston.
The musician’s death on Wednesday, according to his manager Jeff Tartakov, was caused by a heart attack, but was accompanied by health problems and manic depression throughout his life. His oddity was also legendary, wrote The Guardian.
His musical career began in the early eighties, gaining recognition by distributing his own cassette tapes on the streets of Austin to people. Between 1981 and 2012 he produced a total of twenty materials, most of which initially appeared only on tape.
Although he never really ran and became popular with the general public, he had many admirers on the American underground scene, including Kurt Cobain, Beck, Ezra Furman, Tom Waits, Jeff Tweedy or the Simpsons cartoonist Matt Groening. For a long time, he refused to sign with a major publisher – he said no to Electra because he considered their Metallica to be Satanic. He was arrested because he sculptured the New York Statue of Liberty with hundreds of Christian fish motifs. He came to Atlantic Records in 1994, but the breakthrough failed.
In 2005, he made a documentary film directed by Jeff Feuerzig entitled Daniel Johnston’s Encounter with the Devil. The work received a directorial award at the 2006 Sundance Festival and was nominated for an Oscar. Daniel Johnston also wrote comics.