Left Field Godfathers: Daniel Johnston + R. Stevie Moore

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What happens when left field artists like Daniel Johnston and R. Stevie Moore are left to their own devices?

They work on projects.

For decades both Johnston and Moore been crafting music so far from the mainstream it’s been deemed, for better or worse, “outsider.” While they’ve never collaborated, there is a certain sense of autuerism prevalent in both Moore and Johnston’s work, so much so that when you hear an R. Stevie Moore song, you know it’s an R. Stevie Moore song. Same can be said of Johnston’s wide-eyed balladry, and, even more so, of his art.

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A noted influence on Kurt Cobain, Johnston’s playfulness and child-like view of the world is as apparent in his art as it is his music, if not more so. From the covers of his records to his iconic “Hi, How Are You” drawing, it’s almost impossible to separate Johnston’s visual art from his music. It’s as if they are one in the same, playing off, and to, each other, flourishing in unison.

With the recently launched Kickstarter project Infinite Comic of Music Greatness, Daniel’s worlds are colliding. The center of the project is a comic book, one which Johnston has been wanting to create since he was a child. And yet the “infinite” part of this comic isn’t just a catchall phrase, but a truism, as the digital version of the comic will feature a virtual marriage of drawings, music and other whimsical imaginations guaranteed to take readers on a never-ending adventure.

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While Johnston is focusing on illustrations, the infamous R. Stevie Moore is doing what he does best -– releasing albums, and his Kickstarter project will help him self-release his first one since moving back home to Nashville. While Moore has released over 400 records (yes, you read that correctly….over 400 records) since the late 1950s, his life as an idiosyncratic pop autuer is best summed up in his own words; “I’ve worked harder than anybody to become rich and famous, but I remain poor and anonymous.”

While fame has circumnavigated the prolific Moore, cultish fans have been snatching up his often hard to find, homemade releases like gangbusters for decades. To his credit, rarely are two albums similar — with his twisted pop tunes taking on many forms, yet always remaining undeniably R. Stevie Moore. An original WFMU on-air personality, the venerable Moore is known for his all-encompassing DIY aesthetic, having produced and released most of his records himself. And now, Moore bring fans directly into the experience, giving backers insight into a creative process previously only available to those with access to his basement.

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