WATCH & LISTEN – BEING SOBER IS VERY COOL –
April 2, 2021 – After almost a decade of steady touring and hustling to make their harmonious indie-rock group Communist Daughter one of Minnesota’s great shoulda-been bands, Johnny and Molly Solomon just wanted to get off the road and live in isolation for a while.
“Little did we know that every musician would be forced into the same boat,” Johnny Solomon said.
The married musicians also didn’t foresee just how isolated they’d be — that their new home would literally be “off the road” — when, in 2019, they started looking for a high-need area for Johnny to take a counseling job helping fellow addicts and alcoholics clean up.
Suffice it to say the Solomons are the only Twin Cities bandleaders promoting a new album this spring from 30 miles above the Arctic Circle in Kotzebue, Alaska, a town of about 3,000 people that has no roads coming in or going out.
“I kept looking farther and farther north and waiting for Molly to say, ‘OK, that’s far enough,’ “ Johnny remembered.
The singing partners traded a tour van for travel by bush planes. Not long before heading to Alaska, though, they made one last go-round in the studio with their bandmates for what they knew would be Communist Daughter’s farewell record — or “at least the last one in the tradition of the band we were before,” Johnny said.
“I wrote a lot of this record our last month living in Minnesota, so a lot of it is a goodbye love letter,” Johnny recalled in a phone conversation with him and Molly last month from his mom’s place in San Diego — their first trip out of Alaska since the pandemic started, and a rare chance to enjoy good cell service.
The couple had initially moved to San Diego. In fact, Molly said she only agreed to go so far north “because it was around the holidays, and I was feeling extra-depressed not being around any snow in California.”
Teaming with Minneapolis producer Kevin Bowe (Paul Westerberg, Joyann Parker), they flew from California to Minnesota several times to record with the band before heading north.
So it’s not surprising to hear lyrical references to moving on, starting new lives, etc., throughout “Unknown Caller.”
“Packed up, and I moved out,” Johnny sings right away in “Living With Your Ghost,” a somber start to the farewell album — and a song whose music video shows scenic footage from the Solomons’ new life in Alaska.