the soulful indie musician & poet John Daugherity wrote songs about life, love and loss.
John’s strong and mournful vocal, riffing electric guitar, and thoughtful lyrics will resound with fans of grunge, pop, punk, and experimental music. After a decade of enduring schizophrenia, John passed away in 2016. Hearttooth Inc. continues his music legacy.
John Daugherity grew up in the Midwest and was an illustrator by training and a graphic designer by profession, working in Oklahoma, in Texas, and in New York, where he was an art director for the financial securities industry then a freelancer for Marvel and NBC.
But as talented as he was, commercial graphic design was just a day job. He was a singer/songwriter at heart. Not only did he sing and write, he played guitar, piano and drums, and created the artwork for the covers of all his albums.
John moved to Brooklyn in 2005 to perform and promote his music. He was a self-taught guitar player and lyricist. His albums were Stranger Things Don’t Happen; Breaking Bats for Jesus, which was well-reviewed; and I Live in Turbulence.
He pressed 1000 copies of his CD Breaking Bats for Jesus, which charted on national college radio and was added into the MTV Music Library. He performed as Cezanne at premium venues in Manhattan with a drummer and bassist, starting out at the Knitting Factory and Cakeshop, and venues in Brooklyn like Trash Bar and Goodbye Blue Monday. John played solo at open mic nights, becoming a regular around Manhattan and Brooklyn at venues such as CBGBs, Sidewalk Cafe, Laila Lounge, Lucky Cat and Pete’s Candy Store. He was at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York in the fall of 2007.
John experienced a sudden onset of mental illness around age 30 while he was working in Brooklyn. One day in February 2008, he abruptly left NYC to come home, because he was hearing voices stating it was not safe to live there.
His mental illness diagnosis from Ben Taub Hospital in Houston included schizophrenia, bi-polar, and paranoia, which cemented his distrust in doctors, so, by his choice, he was not under a doctor’s care. Medication made him feel worse. He wanted to treat his symptoms with meditation, not medicine.
Our family researched about hearing voices. No one we knew had ever had this experience! We were referred to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which helped immensely with information and support. John’s parents spent each Saturday at a 12-week course for family members and caregivers, and made lifetime friends of other parents who had a loved one suffering from mental illness. The NAMI instructor had a stepson who asked his parents to not make him take medication anymore because he did not feel well on the medicine; he reminded us of John.
His symptoms — headaches and lack of concentration because of voices — greatly limited his ability to continue to work and create. He lived simply, peacefully, and independently, always seeking natural beauty and spiritual quietness in his living environment. After adventuring across the globe to China, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Korea, and Egypt, John settled in quiet Seaside, Oregon, then in Denver, Colorado. John’s family enjoyed visiting him in these beautiful locations!
John Daugherity passed away suddenly at the age of 39 in his apartment in Denver, Colorado, in November 2016. There was a coroner’s inquiry because he died so young: His cause of death was dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart). The manner of death was natural causes. We found receipts from normal everyday purchases like Starbucks during the week before he died. The coroner stated to us that John had probably not even realized he was dying, and that people with a mental disease typically die younger. We have since learned that people with schizophrenia develop heart disease at a rate double the general population (source).
People have wondered, so we’ll let you know for certain: John did not commit suicide, there was no sign of alcohol or drug involvement, and there was no sign of foul play. Sadly, his body failed him. His heart failure is considered a natural death. It’s so tragic. We are heartbroken. We miss him every single day.
There is so much more to John’s story — many, many details — and we plan on sharing them in the Hearttooth Blog. Click to subscribe and follow along. Also, follow @Hearttooth on all Social Media.
As Hearttooth Inc., John’s family will continue his legacy and will re-release his recordings and performances so more people can enjoy them. Click here to listen and download music and buy a CD, or view video performances.
John’s family and lifelong friends treasured his humor, artistic and musical talent, generosity, and compassion. He found peace meditating on God’s creation. He was a gentle giant with a deep voice and a Scotsman’s red beard. He told anyone who would listen: Love one another.