Saturday, June 07, 2008

Late to the party

I’ve never exactly been on the ball when it comes to finding incredible music. I rely on Pete a lot for that. So, this morning, I was totally floored by a documentary I just finished watching, The Devil and Daniel Johnston. It’s won awards, did the Sundance thing…the whole shebang.

Um…wow. How come you never told me about this dude, Pete?

The movie is simply compelling. It tells the story of Daniel Johnston, a manic-depressive musician who’s self-destructive behavior – including an epic battle in his mind against the devil – almost destroys any chance of his art reaching an audience.

The film is an unflinching look at a very disturbed man, but told with a beautiful embrace of compassion. The director is very obviously a fan. This isn’t a detriment to the story, but rather necessary. In the hands of the wrong person, it could have ended up very heavy-handed and without much of a heart.

And his music...jesus.

If, by chance, you’ve never heard of Daniel – just as I hadn’t – you’ll be glad I’m not sharing much more than this.

Find this movie on cable like I did, or go rent it. Whatever it takes.

I think it would be impossible for any type of artist to walk away from this without a pocketful of questions about their own journey.

I have to go buy some music now.

1 comment:

Pete Best said...

I never in my wildest dreams thought you would be interested in DJ. He's been on my radar since the 80's. I've always enjoyed "outsider art", but never was that into him. His music has moments of brilliance, but due to his craziness and lo-fi recording style, it's a bit of a slog. I did love the movie, though. What a director's dream: every single dramatic moment of his life captured on film or tape. If you haven't seen Crumb, I would highly recommend that as being in a similar vein.