Rocks Off is very proud to present Daniel Johnston's in-store performance 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Cactus Music. As always, it's absolutely free, including the St. Arnold's.
Thinking about the in-store, we realized we hadn't heard much about Johnston lately, which is good in the "no news is good news" way, but still... he must have been up to something.
It turns out he's gone digital. This past spring, Johnston published the first issue of a new comic book, Space Ducks: An Infinite Comic Book of Musical Greatness, and released both a soundtrack and a video game based on the comic available as an iPad app. If Rocks Off could afford an iPad, we would totally download that.
Of course, the bigger question is about Johnston's health. The singer-songwriter, now 51, has been battling both manic depression and schizophrenia for most of his life, and some of his past medications also led to alarming weight issues at times. But after switching meds a year or two ago, his health has stabilized.
"Daniel's health is about the same," his brother and manager Dick Johnston told Rocks Off via email this morning.
"I think he's doing pretty good," adds Houston promoter Hector del Valle, whose Lunaface Promotions is presenting Johnston with an assortment of Houston indie musicians -- Joe Mathlete, members of Young Mammals, Wicked Poseur and Wild Moccasins -- Saturday night at Fitzgerald's with Grandfather Child. Waldo & the Naturals and Tax the Wolf are also on the bill, with Wicked Poseur downstairs Mikey & the Drags.
Del Valle notes that he was "blown away" to see Johnston last all the way through his previous in-store at Cactus last year, and even stuck around to sign autographs. He wanted to screen Jeff Feuerzeig's acclaimed 2005 documentary about Johnston's art and struggles, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, but the distributor was slow in responding so he couldn't get a copy of the film in time.
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Daniel's next stop may be back on the big screen. Dick Johnston says some kind of film project should be done in about two years. He didn't say much, but he did use the words "bio pic" and that his brother is working on some music for a "major motion picture."
Daniel has also recorded a version of the theme song for Weeds, Dick added. Season 8 of the stoner comedy starring Mary-Louise Parker is currently airing Sunday nights on Showtime.