Mid-Week Beat: Happy Birthday to Daniel Johnston

chapterone2Most people know singer/songwriter Daniel Johnston from the 2006 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston but this one-of-a-kind musician was influencing underground musicians well before the celebrated documentary came out.

Johnston became initially known within the Austin, Texas music scene in the early to mid 1980s. He recorded all his material on a $59 Sanyo monaural boombox, singing and playing piano, guitar and chord organ. He would hand out his cassettes to pretty much everyone he met and eventually gained attention from the press, developing a large and devoted fan base through his quirky, yet heartfelt, compositions.

Johnston self-released his cassette-only releases for almost a decade before he actually entered a real recording studio in 1988 to record 1990. However, it’s these early, lo-fi recordings that he’s best known for and which contain some of his best-loved songs like “Speeding Motorcycle” and “True Love Will Find You In The End.”

These early recordings have earned him a reputation as a seminal artist in the so-called “lo-fi” and “outsider” genres, but Johnston’s method of recording was more based out of necessity than a desire to achieve any sort of artistic aesthetic. It goes without saying though, that Johnston’s primitive recording techniques did give his songs a certain vulnerability that is often hard to achieve in a “professional” recording studio. The songs were recorded “as-is” complete with out-of-tune guitars, instrumental flubs and background noise! The definition of D.I.Y.!


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Have Yourself A Campy Little Christmas!

We are ticketing holiday events galore this month and I’ve been trying to suggest events that offer something a little bit different than the usual fare. We know you’ve seen “It’s A Wonderful Life” a thousand times, so how about mixing it up a little bit? Well, our friends at New Beverly Cinema and the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles, The Castro Theatre in San Francisco, The Royale in Mesa, Arizona and the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, New York got you covered. We’re talking serial killer Santas, Santa abducted by aliens, tormented sorority girls on Christmas break, vintage holiday curios from Johnny Legend, beer-pong with John McClane and the Griswolds and holiday-themed film noir.

Check it out!

Saturday, December 10¬† CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980) at midnight at New Beverly Cinema¬† Los Angeles, California¬† A psycho in a Santa suit gets to decide who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.
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