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Dan Murphy

The Total Man Package: I'm Living in a Famous Guy's Apartment
by Dan Murphy

June 2003

I found out on May 1st by accident that I am living in the former apartment of a famous musician/artist. His name is Daniel Johnston. I did a Yahoo search on him and 7680 web pages came up. Here is an excerpt from one:

"Daniel maintains the support of many famous fans, from Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons) and Johnny Depp to David Bowie and Kurt Cobain. Daniel is the musician's cult musician, whose music is appreciated for its utter lack of artifice and the undeniable simple brilliance. A range of artists, such as Beck, Wilco, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Nina Persson (of The Cardigans), Sparklehorse and Pearl Jam have all covered Daniel's songs in the past."

Here's what happened. It was around 4:35 p.m. and I was leaving my apartment to go to the post office and when I opened my door there was a film crew in the parking lot filming the complex.

Coincidentally, one of the guys with them was Jeff, someone I knew from my previous address. Jeff lived in a house next to my old complex. I asked Jeff what they were doing and he said they were filming a documentary on Daniel Johnston who used to live in the complex. I asked who he was and they told me he was a famous musician/artist. Then when I asked them exactly where he lived they said it was in my apartment unit. I was surprised and gave my friend Jeff my business card and mentioned that I would definitely write a column about this.

Jeff asked me if there was any fire damage in my apartment. I said, "Fire damage? No. Why?" He said Daniel had set the apartment on fire at one time.

When I got back from the post office, the film crew was now standing right outside my apartment complex doing close-up shots of my front door.

I talked to Jeff some more and asked him what his affiliation is with the film. I knew he had his own business but I didn't know what it was. It turns out Jeff managed Daniel for seven years and is a consultant on the film. Jeff is also the CEO of Stress Records. I wasn't aware of any of this. You can check out his website at:

I asked, "What happened with your relationship?" He said Daniel had some mental problems and that's how he found my complex. Daniel spent some time in the Austin State School on Guadalupe and when he got out he just picked an apartment complex that was nearby. Hey, another coincidence. That's how I chose the complex as well! Except I had just got out of the insane asylum.

I also got to speak with the Producer, Henry Rosenthal. He has produced several films for the Sundance Festivals. He said they have been following Daniel for a couple of years or more now, filming him around the world.

Before the crew left my complex I asked them if they wanted to come inside my apartment unit to do some shooting. They said they might come back later to do that. I also let them know that we could set the apartment on fire again if they wanted and do a reenactment. (This probably explains the abundance of fire extinguishers at the apartment complex.)

Needless to say, I am seeing $$$ signs! The movie should be released within a couple of years and they said it will probably be on a tour guide. So, I'm going to have to start charging tickets to get into my apartment. Or, I might have to sign a ten-year lease and sublease my apartment out to some obsessed fan for $1500 or more a month.

According to my brother the person who owns the house where David Gayle (as in the Kevin Spacey film LIFE OF DAVID GALE) lived in Austin is charging people for dropping by. It's going to be real fun when I'm giving tours of my apartment to fans of Daniel Johnston and I'm saying things like, "This where Daniel Johnston created his hit," did this or that, and "This is where Daniel Murphy went nuts and SCREAMED AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS WHEN HIS COMPUTER WHEN DOWN." Or, "This is where Daniel Murphy Drank eight Dr. Peppers in a matter of hours and they weren't even diet!" Yeah, it's got real crazy in this apartment.

Remember, they'll want to hear about me: Daniel Murphy (World Famous Columnist, Extra and Actor) as well as Daniel Johnston. Here's the proof. I got a copy of the Pedernales Electric commercial I was in a few weeks ago. It's a professionally done local commercial and i'm on camera for at least 3 Seconds.

Moreover, for additional income, I'm going to buy knock-off brand colas and other drinks and charge exorbitant rates for visitors to buy them. I know this will work because I've seen the Convention Center do this as a standard business practice. Yeah, the Center uses brand names, but I'm greedy. I want more money.

Hey, if I'm really lucky maybe some Groupie Chicks will come by and say, "Are you Daniel?" and I'll say, "Yes, of course." Then, they'll just start worshipping me because they'll think I'm him. Oh, this is GREAT! I won't be committing fraud or anything like that because my name is Daniel on my birth certificate. My defense: they never asked for my last name. Other possible scams I'm thinking of include making some art and selling it for thousands, saying Daniel Johnston created it.

Furthermore, my idea about having a Knock-Off SXSW Show (check my last column out for details) at my apartment complex is no longer such a crazy idea. I'll be able to drive some real traffic to my show now by mentioning that Daniel Johnston lived in my apartment. Hell, I might even start selling pictures of Daniel Johnston's old apartment on eBay. (Man, this might actually work!)

I don't know why weird things like this keep happening to me. In mid-April I was on the set of Spy Kids III by happenstance. The movie crew was filming downtown on Congress while I was on my way to work at the Convention Center. I think it was a secondary crew.

I keep telling you guys: Austin is turning into a mini Hollywood!

If coincidental weird stuff keeps happening like this to me, I'm going to create a new game like that Kevin Bacon one except I'm going to call it "7 Degrees of Dan Murphy."

I even caught one of Daniel Johnston's videos on the Austin Music Network about a week ago by accident while flipping channels at 2:15 a.m. The video is weird, but I like the song called "Rock This Town Tonight" Dir: Mark Miller on Tim Kerr Records.

Also, it's now a PRIVILEGE to sleep on my floor! So, I don't want to hear any more jargon from my DIRTBAG FRIENDS who sleep over on the floor and complain about how uncomfortable my apartment is when I've got Daniel Johnston Groupies paying hundreds of dollars for the same entitlement.

When you do drop by to see me be sure to have your $5 cover charge or I won't let you in. Thursday and Fridays are LADIES NIGHT. 50% off on all knock-off high-priced drinks.

Here is a link to a website with a bio on Daniel and his picture:

I'll see ya on MTV cribs. They are doing a show on Daniel Johnson's old crib. It might be the shortest segment ever since Daniel's old crib (now mine) is an efficiency apartment. The only separate rooms I have are a closet and bathroom.

Talk to you later. Take care!

The Total Man Package!!!! WOOOooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

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