“I Was Living in a Devil Town…


Didn’t know it was a Devil Town.”

- Daniel Johnston

All the prattle on design and development is getting old, no?

Last night I saw Daniel Johnston at Neumos.  Sold out show, the room totally packed with the youngest and hippest Seattle has to offer, and out walks this guy on stage all alone who looks like he belongs at a backyard BBQ in a Sopranos episode — puffy white sneakers, sweat pants, navy warm up jacket with stripes over a t-shirt, silver-gray hair, and Santa-sized belly.  And he steps up to the mic, his arms hanging down at his sides and visibly shaking, and his dry strained voice rings out accapella with John Lennon’s lines, “I don’t expect you, to understand, after you’ve caused so much pain, but then again, you’re not to blame, you’re just a human, a victim of the insane.”  And he had the crowd. 

Johnston doesn’t sing well, and he doesn’t play guitar well.  He’s very nearly a Saturday Night Live parody of himself.  But his raw, heartbreaking genius makes up for all of it.