Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Max Sollisch can't go anywhere without being struck down by an overwhelming sense of despair, a drag of some kind. It just takes its muscle-bound hind legs, it bucks and kicks straight to the chest, knocking the fucking wind out of him. It happens so much and so repetitiously that it's a wonder he ever gets it back fully. He might just be a guy who can operate on one fourth the amount of wind that the rest of us mortals do. He's got to have a secret that he uses. Aw, but hell, what's it matter? It seems that he's getting on by whatever means necessary. It just happens to lead him into some interestingly dark corners.
He revisits his childhood and takes us to a Friday evening of TGIF programming, watching "Boy Meets World," and getting dog-tired as a little boy staying up past his bedtime. He remembers getting scooped up into mom or dad's arms and taken off to bed, putty in their hands. He then fast-forwards a few years more down the line, when he remembers that same nurturer - again on Friday nights - drinking the evening away, with a head in the sink. The passing time, mounting concerns and life's tolls turn everyone a little less heroic - even when it's just the discovery that those protective and caring arms are just the ones that help lift the bottles and glasses meant to self-medicate. They're still just attached to a regular, old human being.
Sollisch's songs, which he performs under the name Dolfish, are heartbreakingly sad, but no more so than they should be. He doesn't mine memories for sadness, but rather just portrays them as they are and as they were. As said, like most people, he's been kicked enough times to not trust the damned horse much any more. He looks at those who are experiencing something that they'd like to qualify as love and he questions it - loudly. He observes and he makes predictions, forming an over-under for the impending collapse of all that good that they're feeling. He sings, "Love will tell you what you want to hear/But it will all come clear within a year/But your love is bumming me out." He watches and he suggests that caution should be taken. Nothing should be presumed as lasting or anything more than a façade. Sometimes he's wrong, but he knows that he's usually right and these impassioned country-ish songs sum all of it up, cutting through, while still detailing the crap.
*Essay originally published March, 2012