ACL Music Fest Friday Interviews

Get behind him Satan. Austin's iconic prodigal son returns.

ACL Music Fest Friday Interviews

Daniel Johnston

4:45pm, Austin Ventures stage

As evidenced by the autograph line to greet Daniel Johnston last year at ACL, the 2005 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston has brought general intrigue surrounding Austin's beloved prodigal son to unprecedented levels. His endearing battles of precocious optimism and unrequited love have transcended every possible medium: visual art (2006 Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial), rock opera (Speeding Motorcycle), and even an iTunes video game (Hi, How Are You).

In preparation for his Jason Falkner-produced new album, Is and Always Was, the 48-year-old songwriter agreed to a quick game of interview hot potato.

On his new album: "It sounds very Beatles-ish."

On Danny & the Nightmares' Death of Satan: "We've been working on it for about a year. It was basically a lot of jams and songs that we made up on the spot. It's pretty spooky. Some titles are 'Death of Satan,' 'Satanic Church,' 'I Feel Like Lucifer Tonight.' I love monster movies. That's what we like and the kind of music we play – scary music with a sense of humor."

Favorite horror films: "My favorite movie is King Kong. I like The Bride of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Planet of the Apes."

Favorite musicians to work with: "I'm good friends with the Butthole Surfers. Me and Paul [Leary] are planning to get together to do another record. My friends the Rhythm Rats and I did a lot of recordings and made videos [that] I plan to include on my new movie I'm working on, Untitled Motion Picture."

Life in Waller: "I have my own house now and sleep most of the day. Things are going well. That's about it. I'd like to say hi to everybody, and thanks for calling."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Daniel Johnston
Faster Than Sound: Music Lab Explores Consolidation
Faster Than Sound: Music Lab Explores Consolidation
Rehearsal space’s Oltorf location posted for sale; Hi, How Are You Day draws the Flaming Lips; and Esme Barrera tribute launches Girls Rock El Paso

Rachel Rascoe, Jan. 18, 2019

Playback: No Really, How Are You?
Playback: No Really, How Are You?
Daniel Johnston provides backstory to Hi, How Are You? Day, plus the first 2017/18 Austin Music Awards talent reveal

Kevin Curtin, Jan. 19, 2018

More by Austin Powell
Record Review: The Young
Record Review: The Young

Aug. 22, 2014

Pickathon Polishes Off No. 16
Pickathon Polishes Off No. 16
Oregon fest boasts IPAs, ATXs, camping, and sustainability

Aug. 4, 2014


Daniel Johnston

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle