Communist Dayghter brings ghosts to Blind Bob’s

By Justin Kreitzer

Photo: (l-r) Communist Daughter’s Dillon Marchus, Steven Yasgar, Molly and Johnny Solomon, Al Weiers, and Adam Switlick

Communist Daughter is an indie rock band based out of Saint Paul, Minnesota, led by singer-songwriter John Solomon.  The band’s 2010 debut album, Soundtrack to the End, received great praise from critics and fans alike for its anthemic and cinematic folk-driven rock sound. Sadly, that success found Solomon struggling with addiction and mental health issues along with stints in jail and rehab that put his musical career on hold.

After much healing, the band went back to work and recently self-released their long-awaited sophomore album, The Cracks That Built The Wall, with the help of a successful PledgeMusic campaign. In support of the album, the band—featuring Solomon’s wife Molly Solomon—is out on tour and will make a stop at Blind Bob’s Friday, Nov. 4, playing alongside Man Ray and Heaven Dog.

In anticipation, the Dayton City Paper spoke with frontman John Solomon about the album’s personal themes, his musical influences, and more.

Communist Daughter’s sound has been compared to some great bands like Fleetwood Mac, the Beach Boys, and even your namesake, Neutral Milk Hotel. Who are some of your least obvious influences?  

John Solomon: That’s a hard question… I’m actually a huge fan of some Minneapolis musicians…people might recognize the songwriter Dan Wilson, or his brother Matt Wilson, and then Johnny Hermanson of Storyhill, Darren Jackson of Kid Dakota. I went through a phase where I basically exclusively listened to those musicians. I learned a lot from them. There’s always a little bit of Spoon and the Strokes in the back of my head, as well.

Your mental health and addiction struggles have been well documented in the press. Naturally, the new album is viscerally personal, dealing with your struggles directly.  How has the music helped you to heal?  

JS: I’m able to say things in the music that are hard to say in person. I’m able to confront feelings and moments that would probably remain under cover if I weren’t writing songs. It’s actually been a way that I deal with things and put them behind me. It’s a way to listen to the truth of my own existence without my own head getting in the way.

Do you hope your music will resonate with listeners going through some of the same issues?

JS: I more hope that it just resonates with anyone. I tend not to think of how someone could go through the same thing; I hate to think of anyone in that place. I just hope that people can break off whatever little piece of it that fits their life and have that resonate with them. Everyone has hard times or suffering; everyone can relate to that.

Additionally, you also have been linked to the mental health organization, Dissonance. Can you describe their mission and your involvement with them?

JS: Dissonance is an organization that is trying to get rid of the stigmas of mental illness in the creative fields.  It’s so easy to see, but hard to know how to help. I love that Dissonance is turning into a resource to connect people. Whether someone is looking for help or is just looking to see other people that struggle with the same things, it’s all under the umbrella of Dissonance. I love being able to talk to people about what got me through to the other side. Just recently, I got to sit down and talk to a crowd with another musician suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, and it was so great to see how much we had in common and not feel that our diagnoses would make us “other,” or unable to contribute as working artists.

After such a long hiatus, how does it feel to be back on the road and playing music again?

JS: I never really took time off, I was actually on the road and writing music the whole time, it just took a while for me to finish the album, but I feel like I have been working hard this whole time, it would be great to take a little break sometime!

The soaring and emotionally-charged album opener, “Hold Back,” sounds like a fun one to play live. What is your favorite song to play live and why?

JS: Well, that one is actually my favorite to play, I think it’s my favorite song on the record, but that’s mostly because I loved how that one came together. There are a lot of fun ones to play live, so many favorite children.

What can new listeners expect from a Communist Daughter performance?  

JS: Deep down, we are a rock band. Sometimes people expect a folk band to show up, but when the whole band is on the road, we have a lot of tools in the toolbox and we like to use them all.


Communist Daughter will perform Friday, Nov. 4 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. in downtown Dayton. Man Ray and Heaven Dog are also on the bill. Show starts at 7 p.m. For more information, please visit If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness please visit

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Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at

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