Episode 45: Good Music, the Flesh, and the Devil



This week we are privileged to have the great Gregory Thornbury, author of Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music and some terrific essays as well, notably this one on QAnon, to talk with us about The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Jeff Feuerzeig’s 2005 documentary about the late, supernaturally gifted, near-unknown singer-songwriter whose struggles with bipolar disorder kept him out of the public eye even as he amassed a following of similarly talented people. Also, demons.

Demonology is something we talk about a little on the podcast when we watch The Exorcist or Hereditary; here we get a lot more intense about it, and Greg shares some of his own observations and experiences and I just want to say I’m really grateful to him for being so open and honest with us and with all of you. We hope you dig this one. Also if you’re just in it for good music, you’ve come to the right place, and you can listen to new, happy, funky, countrified stuff from Greg’s amazing daughter Kate Thornbury on Spotify, too.

Greg was kind enough to supply the image for this week’s episode, drawn by Johnston himself for a showing of his art that Greg moderated, and is used with our thanks and permission.

Our theme song is Louis Armstrong and His Hot 5’s Muskrat Ramble, made freely available by the Boston Public Library and audio engineering shop George Blood, LP through the Internet ArchiveThe Devil and Daniel Johnston is copyright 2005 Sony Pictures Classics. Brief audio excerpts are used herein for purposes of review. All other material is copyright 2021 Sam Thielman and Alissa Wilkinson.

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