The Devil and Daniel Johnston

Whether or not you're familiar with "Don't Play Cards With Satan," "Frito Lay" or other songs from Texas rocker Daniel Johnston, this documentary from director Jeff Feuerzeig will come as a revelation. Are his songs primitive art or just primitive? Does he have fans despite his mental instability or because of it? Using video footage shot by Johnston himself, the doc traces the life of a boy born to Christian-fundamentalist parents who expressed his manic-depression in music and drawings. Bouts with LSD and devil phobias took Daniel off the deep end. No wonder Kurt Cobain was a fan. But it's the way Feuerzeig walks with him on the line between creativity and madness that digs this haunting and hypnotic film into your memory.

From The Archives Issue 998: April 20, 2006