Detroit bands to honor late singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston next month


  • Screengrab / YouTube

Beloved Austin-based artist, singer-songwriter, and master archiver Daniel Johnston is going to get a Detroit tribute next month.

Johnston, who was, by all means, prolific, died of a heart attack last month at the age of 58. Johnston was known for his incredibly endearing body of work as much as he was known for his ongoing battles with mental and physical health — namely his battle with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as his work was an extension of his struggle. The result? Well, just listen to fan-favorite “True Love Will Find You in the End,” on which Johnston's fragile voice fights to believe every word. He also really loved the Beatles and McDonald's. (All things that can be gleaned by watching the revealing 2006 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston.)

“He was first a legend in his own mind, then he became a real legend. That was the only time I saw that happen where someone was like, ‘I’m gonna get famous’ and he just kind of made himself,” Johnston's longtime friend Brian Beattie told The Austin Chronicle following his death. “He was the least likely person on Earth to get popular — and he did.”

The I'm OK: A Tribute to Daniel Johnston will take place on Nov. 15 at the Magic Stick in Detroit, and will offer performances by Matt Milia, Stef Chura, Ben Collins (Minihorse), Marlon Morton (Remnose), Greater Alexander, Libby Decamp, Craig Brown, and Jesse Shepherd-Bates (Handgrenades).

Tickets are $10 and are available for purchase via A portion of the proceeds will benefit Johnston's Hi How Are You Project, which aims to provide mental health awareness by funding various art and music events.

Get our top picks for the best events in Detroit every Thursday morning. Sign up for our events newsletter.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.