Outsider artist Daniel Johnston embarks on his last tour ever— or is it?
DURING THE 80S, Austin- based songwriter Daniel Johnston began recording fractured, childlike pop genius onto a boombox. As he passed the tapes around, he caught the attention of alternative acts like Built to Spill, Sonic Youth, and Nirvana— Kurt Cobain famously introduced the mainstream to Johnston’s music by wearing a T- shirt with the cover art for Johnston’s 1983 album Hi How Are You to the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. Praise from the punk giants allowed Johnston ( now considered an outsider legend) some notoriety in the 90s, and he graduated from making albums with a single microphone and a rickety piano to recording them in actual studios with backing bands. Since the 90s his records have lacked the magic of his early one- mike avant- piano- pop, but his knack for off- kilter, confessional brilliance has never faded away. His latest record, 2012’ s Space Ducks, is a full- on high- fidelity affair, slick and poppy throughout. At each stop of this tour, Johnston will be backed by a band of musicians who’ve been influenced by his work; he performs the Chicago shows with Jeff Tweedy & Friends. While Johnston’s current string of live dates has been billed as his last ever, the 56- year- old recently told the New York
Times that he sees no reason for this to be the end of his performing career. The shows will open up with a screening of the 2006 documentary The Devil & Daniel Johnston, which focuses on his career and struggles with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
DANIEL JOHNSTON WITH JEFF TWEEDY & FRIENDS Wed 10/ 18, 7: 30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, $ 45. Also Friday, October 20, sold out. 18+