For lead singer Johnny Solomon of Minneapolis rock band Communist Daughter, having two songs in one episode of ABC’s hit drama Grey’s Anatomy, came with some mixed feelings. In between gulps of Diet Dr. Pepper from a mason jar, Solomon, who named the band after a song by Neutral Milk Hotel, talked about those emotions and the results of getting sober.
Solomon was living in Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center when those two haunting songs about discontent and struggling to change were featured on Grey’s Anatomy. As a result, he is often reminded of that time when he plays those songs in concert and likely will be again when his band appears at The Horned Hand on Sept. 27.
“It was kind of bittersweet in some ways,” said Solomon. “One of the things I had to do to get sober was put that part of me in my past, wrap it up and say, 'I’m done with that.' So I have to live with those ghosts and revisit them every time we play.”
What stands out from Communist Daughters’ EP Lions & Lambs, which Solomon penned at Hazelden, is that the music bounces along with hopeful guitar strumming and whimsical lyrics. At times, songs include hand-claps and the comforting female vocals of Solomon’s wife and band member, Molly. According to Solomon, some of the positivity behind the EP’s first track “Ghosts” is a result of what inspired it.
“I was in treatment for a while and that was probably the first song I wrote sober,” said Solomon. “They give you some mantras when you’re getting clean and that song was recreating the phrases that made me feel better.”
While Communist Daughter has been successful at creating music that sounds happy and lighthearted—think The Shins, the lyrics have been dark and sad. It’s a standard that Solomon claims is changing as he feels more positive about life. According to Solomon, that perspective is also with him each day of the tour.
“It took a long time to get back to zero,” said Solomon. “I’m just now starting to feel really comfortable and sober. I wake up in the morning now and that’s nice. Seeing the country like this is kinda cool.”
Photo taken by Stephanie Coolgan.
Thursday, Sept. 27, 9 p.m.
The Horned Hand
507 NW Colorado Ave.
$5 at the door