Jonathan Diener from The Swellers sat down and answered some questions from street teamers and fans. Here is Part 1:
Does anyone in the band have any pre or post show rituals?
We all have our own set of rules and rituals, but I think the most important law we abide by is NO EATING AN HOUR BEFORE WE PLAY. I’ve had some bad instances with a foot long sub a few years ago… We all make sure to stretch at least 20 minutes before we go on to prevent injury and soreness the next day. A lot of people think they’re invincible, but when you’re on tour your body acts like an 80 year old man. You smell and you hurt everywhere all the time haha!
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
Right now the number one album I can’t stop listening to is Nada Surf’s ‘The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy’. Also new albums from The Menzingers, The Sidekicks, Cheap Girls, Fun., and Noel Gallagher’s solo album are really good listens.
Which member of the band would be most likely to do karaoke?
Anto is the KING of karaoke. He will transform into whatever singer he’s supposed to be the second the music starts playing. Any rendition he does of a Creed song will get a standing ovation. It gets weird, REALLY weird. This is why we love Anto.
Favorite guilty pleasure song?
Our whole band is OBSESSED with Taylor Swift. It sucks how good she is. The songs are incredibly moving compositions, great storytelling and it just makes you feel good all-around. It’s easy listening but when you start analyzing it… it’s brilliant.
What is your favorite tattoo, and why?
I think my favorite tattoo is starting to be my American Robin on my right leg. It’s the newest one I got done by my buddy Tim Shafer aka Shafey Fury in Florida. It was a cover up of my Michigan outline tattoo, which was my first when I was 18 years old. It’s kind of symbolic that I got it covered up. First of all it was free, poorly done, and half of our band quit after ALL of us got it. It was also a way for me to feel relief and not feel guilt if I ever decided to travel away from Michigan. The American Robin is the Michigan state bird and when it gets cold most birds travel south to warmth. On top of all of that, I think it looks rad.
Favorite song off of your new album and what is it about?
For me, ‘Parkview’ is my favorite off of the album and favorite to play live. It was written during a really hard transitional time in my life while we were coincidentally in a temporary living situation on a street called Parkview. It’s mainly about me not being a push over anymore, standing up for myself and moving on rather than being bummed about things. Playing it live isn’t only physically fun but it gets pretty emotional at the heavy ending watching the kids in the crowd sing and head bang.
What was the first CD you ever bought with your own money?
I love answering this question. It was ‘Pennybridge Pioneers’ by the Swedish melodic punk rock quartet known as Millencolin. The album changed my life and the way I look at music. I heard about them from listening to Punk O Rama compilations and LOVED the singers voice and the way the music made me feel. I bought the album and it actually helped me learn to play drums by playing along to it every day for years.
What do people in Flint think of Michael Moore?
I guess it’s the same way as asking what people in Michigan think about Barack Obama. It goes both ways. Some people who just hear gossip or read headlines without looking into anything come up with assumptions he’s a big liar and only shows bad sides of Flint. To the more informed follower of his work, I think he does really great stuff. He brings up questions people are afraid to ask, he does things in a way you HAVE to pay attention which I would never have the guts to do. He says he wants Flint to get better, he isn’t saying it’s a dump. That’s where people get confused.
How do you stay entertained during long distance drives while on tour?
We have a lot of weird games we play in the van when people aren’t all passed out on their respective bench. We have a game where we honk the horn to the rhythm of a song and the rest of the guys have to guess, even though it’s just a single note the whole time. We also have a game called Mario Karting which we legally can’t talk about.. it involves bananas. Also we just jam new records and have sing alongs, which movies on our laptops or just get engaged in deep conversation about weird stuff like the meaning of life, ghosts, and food.