If you’re not busy this afternoon and near your computer around 4:45 p.m. (and not already at the event itself, in which case I’d be extremely jealous of you), head over to Hulu.com and catch Daniel Johnston performing at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Hulu will be live streaming the entire three-day event (which kicks off a little after noon today with Asleep At The Wheel and wraps up around 10 p.m. Sunday night with Pearl Jam), which includes such well-known acts like Dave Matthews Band, Kings of Leon, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, John Legend, and Mos Def.
It’s Daniel Johnston, however, who’s of most interest to this blog.
If you’re not familiar with Daniel Johnston, I highly recommend getting familiar with him. The 48-year-old singer/songwriter/musician writes lyrics as intriguing as his tumble into – and success in – the music industry has been.
Born in California, raised in West Virginia, and currently living in Texas, Johnston began writing, performing, recording, and distributing his own music in the form of cassette tapes fairly early in life. After moving to Texas in 1983, recording two “albums,” and experiencing the onset of manic depression, Johnston joined the carnival and, after traveling for five months, ended up staying in Austin where his music started gaining local fame.
Johnston started gaining more serious notoriety in the early 90s when Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain wore a Johnston t-shirt at the 1992 MTV Music Awards. Cobain also regularly mentioned Johnston during interviews and, despite being in a mental institution at the time, record labels began vying for deals with Johnston and he eventually signed with Atlantic Records.
You can learn more about Daniel Johnston at his official site Hi, How Are You? and his fan site Rejected Unknown. You can also check out The Devil and Daniel Johnston, the “portrait of madness, creativity and love” that premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2005.
Oh, and if you do happen to catch his performance today, and like him, let him know. According to his site:
“[...] Daniel doesn’t have access to a computer, the internet, or email. However, any email that you send to Daniel WILL BE PRINTED OUT and hand delivered to him – usually once a week. He appreciates hearing from you, so don’t hesitate to write.”
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Last reviewed: 2 Oct 2009