What only a select few know, however, is that he’s also a pioneer of animal-based legal rights. In a series of videos starting last year, Poltz began referring to himself as the ‘attorney for dogs,’ explaining directly to furry friends great and small about how he can help them with their cases. “I’m allergic to dogs,” says Poltz. “But I love them, and they need representation. Yet they give me asthma attacks. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t, because I’m overcome with grief if I can’t help dogs. There are a lot of dogs whose owners are callous and cruel. I’m usually able to broker better meals and walks – but I also break out in hives and itch like crazy.”
For now, Poltz is taking leave from the law firm to pick up his guitar and play music to audiences around the world. Were you to peruse Poltz’ tour dates on any given day throughout the year, dozens of cities and towns across multiple continents will make up the extensive list. “I’m in a constant state of travel,” he says. “Something is wrong with me. I can’t sit still. I’m like a shark and I have to keep moving.”
Australia is a place that turns up far more frequently than most on Poltz’ itinerary – the man is here performing at least twice a year, playing not only in the big cities but in many regional areas and at festivals such as Woodford Folk. Even after visiting for so many years, Poltz is far from done exploring the sunburnt country.
“I love ‘Straya so much,” says Poltz, paying close attention to the dialect when referring to the country by its colloquial name. “There are still so many places I have to see. I want to play a show in Darwin – I’ve still never been there. I still haven’t been to Uluru. I need to see it. I’m a curious traveller, and am so happy to explore new places.”
If you’re not able to make it out to see Poltz, you’ll still be able to keep up with all of his various goings-on thanks to a Facebook presence that has amassed over 20,000 fans. That may seem small in a world of billions of video views and millions of followers, but Poltz has a way to make those that like him – both in the real world and the Facebook sense – feel like the most connected family in the world. “I love social media because it’s like creative writing for me,” says Poltz. “It’s a journal, and I just write about whatever is on my mind. I like to keep in touch and have no censor. In the old days it was a lot harder to get the word out. Now we have instant access which can be a good and a bad thing.”
Of late, Poltz has had a more political bent to his Facebook posts – unsurprisingly, given the circumstances he finds his native country in presently. At a time when many are frightened and uncertain of their future, Poltz is adamant about his voice and that of his community being heard. “The recent events in my homeland have me worried for the rest of the world,” he says. “We seem to be entering a new era. Everybody needs to take a chill pill and remember to be kind.”
His more political posts have drawn some minor blowback from some of Poltz’ followers, who would rather that the singer/songwriter simply “stick to the music” – as if that were somehow not the most redundant, circular and invalid argument one could present. Still, Poltz doesn’t shy away from people questioning his left-heavy politics. “I love getting asked all kinds of questions, so those are OK with me,” he says. “You’d think I may be tired of it, but I like the challenge of questions and trying to answer them in a thoughtful way. I really don’t mind.”
By David James Young