DANIEL JOHNSTON Stereo, Glasgow, Sun 10 Aug

Some artists are made for the masses. but while the likes of Coldplay and U2 straddle the globe turning their tricks for the millions, there is a very different kind of musician out there shuffling around music's hinterland and being acclaimed by everyone else in the business. This is the

musicians' musician.

You couldn't swing a cat backstage at any festival without smacking at least half a dozen Tom Waits fans around the chops and into that same category you can slot American musical misfit Daniel Johnston.

He has been producing intriguing, and often exceptional, records for over 20 years now in a career that has been dogged by manic depression. And while he cuts a somewhat fragile figure onstage there is plenty in the man’s heartfelt and beautiful music that excites others

plying the same trade.

Probably his most famous fan was Kurt Cobain, who repeatedly talked him up during interviews and wore Johnston T-shirts. More recently, the likes of Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth and David Bowie have been known to laud the man to the hilltops, and Johnston‘s most recent release, the superb Fear Yourself. sees him

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collaborating with another long-time fan, Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse.

‘Daniel was everything I thought he would be.‘ Linkous said of meeting his idol. ‘He’s probably the sweetest person I have ever met an uncorrupted child in a way. a completely pure soul.‘

These days Johnston has his mental illness under control enough to make it out on the road touring. including a first ever Scottish show at Glasgow‘s Stereo.

“It’s been almost five years that I‘ve been stable,‘ he says. ‘It used to hit me like a ton of bricks - manic depression, a terrible feeling, the pain in my brain. But with medication. I‘ve been active and busy and writing and working.’

The 42-year-old still lives in Texas with his dad (who doubles as his manager) and mum, but with a handful of albums up his sleeve as well as an equally prolific and successful career as an artist and cartoonist, Johnston is happier now than he's ever been.

‘Things have turned out all right,‘ he says. ‘I was in an insane asylum, now I'm travelling. I‘m spending cash, girls are around, I have a lot of good friends and l have a good old time. I'm really happy these days. more so than ever and I'm looking forward to a brighter future.‘

(Doug Johnstone)

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