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Sound Circuit

Dave Zollo has lived


Dave Zollo has lived. Musically, there are few people in the state who can claim his pedigree. Between

Dave Zollo & The Body Electric play Wooly's on Friday, Dec. 19.

Dave Zollo & The Body Electric play Wooly’s on Friday, Dec. 19.

founding Trailer Records and performing in iconic acts like High and Lonesome and his own Body Electric, there is no doubt that Zollo’s image would belong up on the Mount Rushmore of Iowa music.

And for anyone who graduated from the Bukowski School of Artistic Misery and firmly believes that no art worth appreciating comes without a certain degree of struggle and suffering, well, Zollo is your man, too. And, brother, “For Hire” is your album.

“It’s obviously been a long time coming,” Zollo said of the album in a phone interview. “For a number of reasons.”

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He’s not lying. The Zollo and The Body Electric’s last album, the Mellencamp-tinged “The Big Night,” came out in 2002. In the meantime, it is not like Zollo has been dormant, or had nothing to say; he’s just had some problems getting there.

“Some of them are well-known problems that I had a few years back with the local law,” he admitted with a sheepish chuckle. “Some personal problems, got divorced — there was a lot of stuff going on. Then my health took a sudden downturn right when things were getting going. I was really, really sick for about a year.”

But now, after everything, life is on the uptick. Zollo has remarried — he and his ex-wife reconciled — and he is feeling healthier and happier than he has in a long while.

“Music, for me, has always been a real sacrosanct thing,” he said. “It’s often been the closest thing that I’ve had to a religion. So there were a lot of things that happened that kind of rekindled my faith. I’ve always loved the process, but this time around I was really gratified by it.”

The narrative arc in “For Hire” outlines every dark, painful, redemptive and beautiful year that has passed between “The Big Night” and now. Personal hurdles, love lost and found, departed friends, it is all here, laid out boldly and simply as the tattoos on Zollo’s arms.

“It’s a real personal exploration,” Zollo concurred. “The listener can hear that, if they listen with that in mind.”

It is a musical journey that has been a long time in coming. And Zollo, for one, is happy to finally be back on the road. CV


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