Goodhood x Folk x Daniel Johnston


A high school loner and underachiever who became an eccentric underground hero to like-minded underdogs, outlanders, and those on the fringe of society. To celebrate Daniel Johnston's legacy, we take a trip into the life of the cult singer-songwriter, who inspired a generation of outsiders. We've been working on a very special project with our friends at Folk. A proportion of the proceeds will be donated to Daniel Johnston's charity 'Hi, How Are You?’ Check out the collaborative capsule, and our profile on the late, great Daniel Johnston below… 

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Daniel Johnston only ever dreamt of two things: to be a rock star and a famous artist. He succeeded at both in his lifetime, and his music and spirit has left a lasting influence on fans. He was a cult favourite with fans from every corner of the world, including his own music heroes. Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was pictured wearing a “Hi, How Are You?” t-shirt in a tonne of promotional images in the early ‘90s, more famously at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, back when Nirvana was one of the biggest band in the world. 

Original Artwork by Daniel Johnston
Goodhood x Folk x Daniel Johnston The Right One T-Shirt



Story Of An Artist 

The unexpected fifth child born to committed Christians Mable and Bill Johnston on the 22 January, which is now known as “Hi, How Are You Day”. Born in Sacramento and moved to Utah, the family wound up in Chester, a small town in West Virginia where Daniel was raised, and where a lot of his music was written and recorded. 

His first love were comics. Particularly Marvel Comics that featured superheroes like Captain America, who often pops up in Johnston’s illustrations and artworks. Daniel made comics of his own, a lot of them based around the constrast between good and evil and the dualistic teachings of religion and the decline of his own mental health. He would also create his own characters, notably Ratzoid, amongst other playful creatures, who would eventually feature on his cassette covers. Comics books were one of his favourite collectables throughout his adult life too. He was once fined $1400 on a trip by Jetstar in Japan for the extra weight accumulated by comic books in his luggage. 

In high school Daniel was a loner and an underachiever, he spent more time playing his piano in the basement of his parents house than he did hanging out with his peers. He spent a lot of his time in high school depressed, his parents unaware. They put Daniel’s behaviour down to his age and labeled him a typical self-absorbed teenager. Daniel graduated high school and enrolled in art classes at Kent State University at East Liverpool. This is where he met one of the greatest influences in his music, Laurie Allen…

Goodhood x Folk x Daniel Johnston No Escape T-Shirt
Original Artwork by Daniel Johnston



True Love Will Find You In The End 

Laurie Allen was a life-long muse of Daniels. They met in their art class and became friends. Lyrics of his song, “Laurie”, read "once I saw the most beautiful girl sitting next to me, I asked her what was her name, she said it was Laurie”. His love interest went on to be the main subject of Daniel's music, even when they fell out of touch, he continued to write songs about her. Laurie was engaged to an undertaker when her and Daniel first met, but Daniel still had his muse; his albums are filled with songs to Laurie and songs to true love. He would sit at the piano, turn on a cheap tape recorder, and play lo-fi and beautifully sincere songs about unrequited love, the misery is being a loner, but still following your dreams anyway. Then he’d draw, then he’d go back and record. Laurie eventually married the undertaker, giving us a lesson; that love doesn't owe you anything in the end. 

The 2005 documentary “The Devil and Daniel Johnston” gives us the platonic, but happy ending in the reconnection of the pair, after 26 years apart. Innocently and perhaps naively, he valued true love more than maybe anyone.

Original Artwork by Daniel Johnston
Goodhood x Folk x Daniel Johnston Love Is T-Shirt



Despair Came Knocking 

Daniel dropped out of University in 1982 and his parents, who grew increasingly concerned about Daniel's supposedly unproductive and poorly rounded life, sent him to live with his older brother, Dick, in Houston. Using a toy chord organ and ukulele, he recorded his fifth self-released cassette tape in Dick's garage, entitled Yip/Jump Music. After a series of disagreements with Dick's wife, Daniel moved to San Marcos to move in with his sister, Margy. Daniel spent his time there delivering pizzas and recorded one of his most well-known albums, "Hi, How Are You?" here whilst struggling with a nervous breakdown. Mable wrote to Margy, suggesting Daniel be admitted to a mental institution. When Daniel caught wind of his mother's wishes, he fled his sisters home and joined a carnival. Daniel stayed with them for a while, but eventually quit the carnival when it stopped at Austin in 1984. He got a job at McDonald's and he passed out his tapes to anyone he would meet there, or at the local University hangout spot Guadalupe Street AKA The Drag. He'd hand out his tapes and say "hi, how are you? I'm Daniel Johnston, and I'm gonna be famous." This lead him to gaining a repuation and a following; his live shows became anticipated and quite well-attended. 

From here, he got his first manager. He also talked his way onto an episode of the MTV show 'Cutting Edge' in August 1985, which was doing a feature on the Austin music scene. He introduced himself to the world by waving his tape in the air and announcing "my name is Daniel Johnston, and this is the name of my tape. It's Hi, How Are You, and I was having a nervous breakdown when I recorded it." It was as if one of his superhero drawings had came to life; he put on his mask and presented himself and his art to the world. The carnival, the nervous breakdown, the decline in his mental health, family disagreements, the woman he loved who would never love him back. All the heartbreaking songs sang so beautifully and childlike, it was all real, and the world was about to know about it. 

Goodhood x Folk x Daniel Johnston If Only Shortsleeve Shirt
Original Artwork by Daniel Johnston



Devil Town 

A few nights post-acid trip, Daniel was loitering at a creek near UT, singing hymns and calling to Jesus, trying to wash his sins away. The Police picked him up and took him to Austin State Hospital. He was released after promising never to take LSD again in a court hearing at the hospital. He then dumped his tapes and drawings in the bin, under the belief that they were evil. They were later found by Daniel’s manager, Jeff Tartakov, who passed them onto his dad, out of fear that Daniel was suicidal. This led Daniel’s dad, Bill, to fly his son back to West Virginia and take him to the hospital, where he would later be diagnosed with schizophrenia. Daniel spent the next year in bed, taking heavy-duty antipsychotic medicine and thinking he was going to hell. He stopped taking this medicine in 1998 and headed for New York City, where he hung out with grunge legends Sonic Youth and Galaxie 500 recorded more music, and got arrested for drawing Christian fish symbols on the base of the Statue of Liberty. Amongst all the chaos, he wrote and recorded a crucial song his album, 1990, called “Devil Town”. Daniel eventually returned home where he received further medical help and was treated for the manic depression he had been diagnosed with upon his return.

Original Artwork by Daniel Johnston
Goodhood x Folk x Daniel Johnston The Right One T-Shirt



Some Things Last A Long Time

Since passing in the autumn of 2019, Daniel left a lasting legacy with fans worldwide, including us at Goodhood. He’ll be remembered for his 17 albums and countless artworks, but also his admirable ability to openly talk about loneliness, alienation, and longing. It has created a space for outsiders, and serves as a reminder. To be your authentic self, cut out the bullshit, retain your independence and integrity. Rest in power Daniel Johnston.