Wednesday, January 24, 2018

WACKY WEDNESDAY: "Hi, How Are You?" Day

Daniel Johnston plays the Electric Lounge in Austin during the 1999 South by Southwest.
Monday was Daniel Johnston's 57th birthday.

And in Austin, Texas, where Johnston rose to become one of America's most beloved "outsider" musicians in the 1980s, the mayor declared Jan. 22 as "Hi How Are You?" Day.

In a statement given to various news outlets, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said:

"'Hi, How Are You?' is more than one of Austin's most iconic murals. It's a reminder to reach out to our friends and neighbors to see if they're OK, and for those experiencing mental health issues it's a reminder that you've got a whole community that can handle an honest answer because we want to help you get the help you need."

The mural

For the uninitiated, Hi, How Are You? was the name of Johnston's 1983 album, originally self-released on cassette only.

It's also a new foundation in Austin dedicated to generating "new conversation around mental well-being."

The mural of which the mayor spoke was one that Johnston himself painted on the wall of the old Sound Exchange record store. It was based on the cover of the album, a weird frog-like creature drawn by Johnston. The record shop is gone, but the mural remains.

Johnston's struggle with his mental health problems are well documented.

On Monday in honor of Hi How Are You? Day there was a Johnston tribute concert at The Mohawk. HERE is the Austin American-Statesman's coverage, written by my pal Peter Blackstock. Daniel himself was on hand for the show and performed "Caspar the Friendly Ghost" and "a couple of other short fragments of songs."

So happy belated Hi How Are You Day! Here are some videos of some of my favorite Daniel songs.

This is one of the many Johnston wrote inspired by his unrequited love for the beautiful Laurie.

Johnston teamed up with Jad Fair in the late '80s to sing about Roky Erikson

"True Love Will Find You in the End."

Here's a live performance of a Beatles song with Jeff Tweedy in Chicago late last year.

This is a my favorite cover of one of Daniel's most moving songs. It's by the late Vic Chesnutt.

Finally, here's a video from the Hi, How Are You Foundation.

My Daniel Johnston cassette collection,
(two with original Sound Exchange price tags)

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