Daniel Johnston (the Nazi?) played SXSW
Daniel Johnston & THe Nightmares @ SXSW – March 17, 2007 (CRED)
Daniel Johnston played SXSW this year. I was there, but I never saw him. Though I was pretty excited Daniel was playing, I didn’t even make a serious effort to see him when I got there. I never checked to see exactly how many shows he was playing, but I knew I’d have to ditch my own day show to see him one time, and that another one of his shows was in the convention center (aka I wasn’t getting in without a badge).
Sunday night over dinner I was telling a friend from Austin how disappointed I was – if only I had planned more maybe I could have caught him. My friend asked if I had heard about Daniel’s recent interest in anti-semitism and Nazis. I said I hadn’t. He said it was true. I said I guess I didn’t regret missing him as much anymore. Neither of us had heard anything about how the SXSW shows went.
Today I did a search, and it looks like not only is it true, but it surfaced in Daniel’s act at SXSW too. Here’s an interesting review:
Today at the Convention Center, Austin icon and OG “outsider artist” Daniel Johnston told two jokes before a jam-packed day stage crowd:
1. “I heard they just sentenced a man to the death penalty… for trying to commit suicide.”
2. “I heard the Jews are having a pajama party… at the concentration camp.”
Daniel punctuated the last one, which drew a pretty uncomfortable silence, with a Nazi salute and a screechy “Heil Hitler.” [scan]
Can you blame Daniel for anything he says? His mental illness is well documented. Is it just for shock value? As usual, I don’t know, but I don’t really like it. I guess I’d need to know more about the context before rushing to judgement, but either way I say he drops it.