Daniel Johnston, Your Favourite Muso's Favourite Muso, Has Died Aged 58

Daniel Johnston, Your Favourite Muso's Favourite Muso, Has Died Aged 58

Daniel Johnston, the legendary Austin-based singer/songwriter and visual artists who was the subject of the 2005 documentary "The Devil & Daniel Johnston", has died from a heart attack Tuesday night at the age of 58.

Johnston was a huge cult figure in music, finding his popularity blossoming after he moved to Austin, Texas in the '80s.

Starting In 1988, and into the early 90s during the recording of his first studio produced albums, Johnston's mental health suffered, and he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. That album kicked off a prolific run of releases from Johnston, who is regarded as a pioneer of lo-fi folk and counts Kurt Cobain, the Flaming Lips and Tom Waits among his acolytes.

Johnston's most recent album was Space Ducks, a soundtrack to a comic book also by Johnston, which featured contributions from artists like Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Deer Tick, and Eleanor Friedberger, and was released in 2012. The Austin-based musician attracted a small but devoted following for his simple, emotionally direct, and sometimes profoundly affecting songs, most of which he home-recorded and self-released on a series of cassettes in the 1980s.

Daniel Johnston, Your Favourite Muso's Favourite Muso, Has Died Aged 58
Daniel Johnston, Your Favourite Muso's Favourite Muso, Has Died Aged 58

Johnston became known to a wider audience when Nirvana's Kurt Cobain started wearing one of his t-shirts around 1992.

Johnston also had physical health issues, according to Gimbel, related to diabetes and the medications he'd taken all his life.

After ultimately signing with Atlantic Records, Johnston was dropped when his music fared poorly commercially.

Johnston played his last major shows in 2017 via a five date mini-tour featuring backing from Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, Built to Spill, Modern Baseball and The Districts. Johnston told the Chronicle in 2018 that he had been working on a new album with Brian Beattie, as yet unreleased. A NY magazine article from April chronicled Johnston's work on an as-yet-unreleased new album called If.

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