Artistic Vice

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Artistic Vice
Artistic Vice.jpg
Studio album by
RecordedJuly 1991
Chuck Picklesimer's house,
West Virginia
LabelShimmy Disc[1]
Daniel Johnston chronology
Artistic Vice
Singles from Artistic Vice
  1. "Laurie"
    Released: April 1992

Artistic Vice is the first studio album by singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston,[3] and his twelfth overall, counting his nine widely distributed demo tapes, two earlier aborted attempts at studio albums, (Continued Story and 1990), and collaboration with Jad Fair, It's Spooky. It was his first full-length album recorded after a three-year hiatus. The album is considered more light-hearted than its predecessor, 1990.[4]

Unlike his earlier CD releases, this one features the same track listings as both the LP and cassette.



Following his year-long stay at Weston Mental Hospital, Johnston recorded the Laurie EP in December 1989,[5] the title track of which is featured on this album.

A few months later, after the release of Johnston's 1990 album, Johnston was invited to promote it with three short performances at SXSW.[6] Instead of performing material from the album, Johnston debuted new material and reworked selections from his 1983 demo tapes. Johnston premiered four songs at these shows, 'Silly Love,' 'Do You Really Love Me?', 'A Lonely Song' & 'Love Wheel.'[7] 'Do You Really Love Me?'' was eventually re-worked into 'Tell Me Now', and the rest were shelved for future releases.

Immediately following the performances, Johnston was hospitalized for five months between March and August 1990, after causing his father to crash his plane into a forest amidst a delusional episode.[6] During this period Johnston's popularity continued to rise, partially thanks to Homestead Records' continued re-issues of his earlier tapes, concluding in 1991 with a cassette / LP version of Continued Story, and the 'Continued Story / Hi, How Are You' CD.[8][9][10] During this time Firehose' cover of Walking The Cow was released on their Flyin' the Flannel album, and The Pastels released their cover of Speeding Motorcycle, continuing to boost Johnston's notoriety as a songwriter.

The songwriting style on this album showcases Johnston's commercial ambitions, and slyly nods to his growing fame.[11] The lyrics also refer to Johnston's improving mental state, in particualr the song 'I Killed The Monster' confidently boasts that Johnston had defeated his personal demons. [12]


Johnston recorded the album in July 1991 at Chuck Picklesimer's house in his home state of West Virginia. For the album, he formed The Eye Band; a backing band made up entirely of Johnston's friends. The sessions were produced by Kramer, responsible for his previous album, 1990. Although the sessions took place in West Virginia, by late 1991, the Johnston family had relocated to Waller, Texas.[6]

Once the album was completed, Johnston excluded the song "I Killed The Monster", as he realised his inner demons were far from defeated.[12]

The album is dedicated to Laurie Allen, Johnston's muse who he had not seen in over a decade at that point. A copy of the album had been sent to her. Johnston was thrilled to find she enjoyed the album.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music[1]
MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide[15]
Spin Alternative Record Guide3/10[16]

Trouser Press called the album an "ebullient blast of lo-fi electric garage-rock," writing that "the glimmers of deliverance make this cogent album as encouraging as it is enjoyable."[17]


Two years after the album was released, Television Personalities released a cover of 'Honey I Sure Miss You'.[18] That same year, Terry Burrows, under the pseudonym of Yukio Yung, released a cover of 'I Feel So High'.[19]

In 2004, Jad Fair and Teenage Fanclub collaborated on a cover of "My Life Is Starting Over Again" for the Daniel Johnston tribute album The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered. A few years later, in 2006, the album's producer Kramer performed bass and keyboards on a cover of "Honey I Sure Miss You".[20] That same year, Jad Fair and Teenage Fanclub released a cover of "Happy Soul".[21]

In a 2009 interview, Jeffrey Lewis cited Artistic Vice specifically as an influence on his songwriting.[22]

In 2019, The New York Times included "My Life is Starting Over" in their list of Johnston's 12 essential tracks.[11] The following year the album was reissued on vinyl as part of the box set The End Is Never Really Over.[23] That same year Built To Spill covered "Tell Me Now" and "Honey I Sure Miss You" as part of their Johnston tribute album,[24][25] and folk supergroup I Was A King, featuring Frøkedal, Norman Blake and Robyn Hitchcock, released their cover of "Honey I Sure Miss You".[26]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Daniel Johnston.

1."My Life Is Starting Over"2:06
2."Honey I Sure Miss You"3:22
3."I Feel So High"3:21
4."A Ghostly Story"2:58
5."Tell Me Now"3:28
6."Easy Listening"2:09
7."I Know Caspar"2:02
8."The Startling Facts"1:54
10."It's Got To Be Good"2:17
11."Happy Soul"3:54
12."The Dream Is Over"1:44
13."Love Of My Life"2:36
14."I Killed The Monster"3:57
16."Fate Will Get Done"5:08
Total length:44:05
Bonus Tracks, 2008 CD
17."I Get Depressed When You Undress" 
18."I Feel So High" (Demo) 
19."Laurie" (Demo) 
20."The Monster Inside Of Me" 


Eye Band

  • Brent Conkle & Donny Spencer: Lead Guitar
  • Dale Dudgeon & Tom Gruda: Rhythm Guitar
  • Mike West: Bass Guitar
  • Fred McMahan: Drums



  1. ^ a b Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Vol. 4. MUZE. p. 667.
  2. ^ Peisner, David (September 12, 2019). "Daniel Johnston's Essential Songs: Listen to 12 Tracks (Published 2019)" – via
  3. ^ Powell, Austin; Freeman, Doug; Johnston, Daniel (February 1, 2011). The Austin Chronicle Music Anthology. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-72270-5.
  4. ^ McLeese, Don (September 11, 2019). "The Healing of Daniel Johnston". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  5. ^ Daniel Johnston - Laurie (Seminal Twang, TWANG 13, 1992)
  6. ^ a b c The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Dr. Jeff Feuerzeig, 2005
  7. ^ "Live at SXSW - YouTube". Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  8. ^ Daniel Johnston - Continued Story (Homestead Records, HMS155-1, 1991)
  9. ^ Daniel Johnston - Continued Story (Homestead Records, HMS155-4, 1991)
  10. ^ Daniel JohnstonContinued Story + Hi How Are You (Homestead Records, HMS 155-2, 1991)
  11. ^ a b Peisner, David (September 12, 2019). "Daniel Johnston's Essential Songs: Listen to 12 Tracks". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  12. ^ a b Yazdani, Tarssa; Goede, Don (2006). Hi, how are You?: The Life, Art & Music of Daniel Johnston. Last Gasp. pp. 50–51. ISBN 978-0-86719-667-2.
  13. ^ Yazdani, Tarssa; Goede, Don (2006). Hi, how are You?: The Life, Art & Music of Daniel Johnston. Last Gasp. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-86719-667-2.
  14. ^ AllMusic review
  15. ^ MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Visible Ink Press. 1999. p. 611.
  16. ^ Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. 1995. pp. 200–201.
  17. ^ "Daniel Johnston". Trouser Press. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  18. ^ A Tribute To Daniel Johnston Vol. 1 (Little Teddy Recordings, LiTe707, 1993)
  19. ^ Yukio Yung - A Brainless Deconstruction Of The Popular Song (Mermaid Records, JUNG 004, 1993)
  20. ^ I Killed The Monster (21 Artists Performing The Songs Of Daniel Johnston) (Second Shimmy, 0100, 2006)
  21. ^ Teenage Fanclub And Jad Fair - Like A Monkey In A Zoo / Happy Soul (2006, PeMa, PEMA001)
  22. ^ "Exposure: Jeffrey Lewis". The List. April 21, 2009. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  23. ^ "Daniel Johnston's 1990 and Artistic Vice LPs collected in new box set". The Vinyl Factory. June 26, 2020. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  24. ^ Martoccio, Angie (May 15, 2020). "Hear Built to Spill's Wistful Cover of Daniel Johnston's 'Tell Me Now'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  25. ^ Built To Spill Plays The Songs Of Daniel Johnston (Ernest Jenning Record Co., EJRC167, 2020)
  26. ^ I Was A King - Grand Hotel (Coastal Town Recordings, CT03, 2020)