The Lo-Fi Ballad of Daniel Johnston

Songwriter and artist Daniel Johnston passed away this week at age 58. In 2006, Texas Standard Host David Brown profiled Johnston.

September 11, 2019 7:00 pm

Updated September 12, 2019

Daniel Johnston died Tuesday of an apparent heart attack at his home in Waller, Texas. He was 58. Johnston had been in declining health for some time. The national media called him as an outsider artist, revered by the likes of Tom Waits and Kurt Cobain. 

Johnston was a sort of man-child celebrity who came to represent Austin before the phrase “keep Austin weird” evolved into a ubiquitous bumper sticker.

In 2006, the Whitney Museum of American Art celebrated Johnston’s visual works. At the time, Texas Standard Host David Brown profiled Johnston for “Texas Music Matters” on KUT-Austin, and discovered that though Johnston had moved on from Austin by then, he’d continued to almost compulsively record his thoughts and music at home.

The 2005 documentary, “The Devil and Daniel Johnston” tells the story of artist who called Austin home for many years.

“Jeremiah The Innocent,” the iconic frog painting by Johnston on Guadalupe Street in Austin, is still there, greeting passersby with a friendly, “Hi, how are you?”