an email I just sent to Lentz:

so I saw Daniel John­ston last night.  Jesus.  I must

I got there with James and Amy and Kimya Daw­son played
in front of 20 peo­ple.  I was expect­ing her to suck (I
don’t know why) but she was actu­ally really good.  She
fin­ished and then peo­ple started show­ing up, maybe 80
peo­ple were there…apparently they were there to see
this Dan Bern guy, who’s some honkin’ fuckin’
country-rock Ryan Adams boo­gie bal­ladeer macho fuck.
And peo­ple were into it.

While this was going on Daniel was sorta walk­ing
around try­ing not to make eye con­tact with any­body but
not going back­stage to be alone.  James tried to talk
to him but didn’t get too far, so he told Daniel that
he heard he liked comics so he was going to get him
some.  This made Daniel happy, so I drove James to his
house and picked up some books to give Daniel.  Daniel
liked them and drew James a pic­ture.  Then he went
back to wan­der­ing around the club, mostly
unrec­og­nized, because evey­body was into the
shit­loafers grind­ing out the blue­sham­mer pickin’
cot­ton blues slop.  They even had a guy come out and
‘sit in’ with them on some bon­gos.  Peo­ple were
yelling for an encore, and then the club turns up all
the house lights, like the show is over.  The road­ies clear
off the stage com­pletely, till there’s just a chair,
some mics, and an elec­tric piano.  Daniel comes out
and they turn down the lights and Daniel yells “I need
the lights!  I can’t see the words!”  He had a
note­book with his lyrics to read from.  Then his mics
weren’t even on.  This made the whole thing even more
shaky than it was going to be.  I really felt like the
club was try­ing to screw Daniel over at this point, or
that they were just so fuck­ing clu­less to who he was
by hav­ing some fuckin hard-rockin’ coun­try rock band
play before him to make their money back.  Ass­holes.
So Daniel’s play­ing and now there’s only about 30 of
us watch­ing him, most of every­one else has left, and
about 20 peo­ple are in the rear of the club par­ty­ing
down, play­ing video games, pool, and talk­ing really
loud.  Mia Sla­dyk was among them, scen­ester club
good­dess or what­ever she was.  Daniel was play­ing his
songs on a lit­tle gui­tar with nylon strings.  His
play­ing was ner­vous and fran­tic, he was mash­ing
what­ever strings he could hold down and singing he was
just fine.  He’s Daniel.  He burped dur­ing one song
which made him laugh, but mostly he looked like he
didn’t want to be there.  He was play­ing the songs
faster and faster until the words weren’t match­ing the
music any­more.  Then he went to play some songs on the
piano.  He put the note­book on the piano and
acci­den­tally turned it off.  He turned it back on and
put the note­book down and turned it off again.  This
hap­pened a few more times until he yelped “Help!  I
need some help!”  His voice is so child-like and
frag­ile, man.  Then when some­body was finally help­ing
him, the key­board got put into some psy­che­delic whimsy
cheese mode and that made Daniel laugh then he played
two songs and said “Bye” and ran off the stage out­side.
That was it.  20 min­utes.  That was fine.  I  don’t think any­body
was there tak­ing care of him, he might have just been there by him­self.
He’s play­ing like 40 dates on this tour.  I don’t know why.  I hope
nobody is forc­ing him to do it.