Since 2015, we have asked independent artists to share their favorite memories from their time at SXSW. In just a couple of years, this project has become one of our most popular features thanks to the growing interests of bands and singers from around the world. Forty-five artists participated in this year’s edition, including Communist Daughter.
For the vast majority of bands and artists, SXSW represents an opportunity to be discovered and spread their music. But for Communist Daughter’s frontman Johnny Solomon, SXSW was a celebration and even a sense of redemption. If you don’t know his story, you must. Here’s a Coles Notes’ version.
For years, Solomon struggled with addiction and mental health problems. He has been incarcerated and placed in rehabilitation centers across the U.S. Even Communist Daughter’s critically acclaimed debut album, 2010’s Soundtrack to the End, was written in a state of uncertainty and isolation as Solomon tried to recover. The album essentially was Solomon’s eulogy or even will to himself, but when it resonated with thousands of people, the band became one of that year’s breakout stars. Solomon still struggled, and he checked himself in to one last treatment facility. Now going on six years, Solomon is clean and his sight is crystal clear.
The memories Solomon shares of SXSW, as such, is not limited to what happened in Austin and the music of SXSW. In addition his favorite memory may surprise you, but it is a reflection of Solomon’s appreciation of the smallest things in life. As you learn more about this great band, their new album, The Cracks That Built The Wall, is out now. Get it on iTunes or stream it on Spotify and SoundCloud.
1. Its hard to list any memories above the stellar parking of our tour van and trailer this whole SXSW. Lame, you say? Not at all! We spent about 3 months touring and it ended at SXSW, so I’ve attempted to park that thing with varying degrees of success all over the country and Canada. Every day of SXSW, we had a prime spot right outside our shows and that set the mood for every night. We came to blow your minds, but we just want to do it conveniently. I’ll take that any day over a celebrity sighting. (Also, I saw an actress from Arrested Development, and I tried to giver her a high five, but she was having none of it. So yeah, parking #1!)
2. I dig the whole wild vibe, but I dig it in doses, and the way I handle that is by soaking up the rest of Austin as well. Besides all the wicked shows, the free shoes, and the positive jams, we ended up staying outside town in an amazing desert ranch neighborhood in exchange for a private show at the end of the week. So every night, we drove outside of town and woke up in guest rooms surrounded by deer and horses (and the occasional tarantula). The neighborhood took us in, fed us, and treated us like their own. At the end of SXSW, we played a show just for them. Bonus, that neighborhood was about 5 minutes from the BBQ mecca of The Salt Lick, so that worked out well for us.
3. Speaking of our last day, that ranks up there as the best in terms of doing our thing. We were trying to not fill up with too many showcases. They were all pretty great this year in their own way, as we played the Blackheart with Temples, played Lamberts for SESAC, and day 3 we were at the famed Central Presbyterian Church. However, we ended up with 3 shows back-to-back on our last day – Paste/Daytrotter live, to Tiniest Bar, to that little neighborhood capstone show. All just throw-and-go, barely soundcheck, kind of things. It could have been a disaster, but maybe not giving us enough time to think is the way to do it. It helps that we had sweet parking spots for all of them.
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