16 Apr Remembering The Swellers
“Never forget The Swellers”. That’s what lead singer Nick Diener said to packed house at Chain Reaction in Anaheim, California right before the band closed out their final U.S. show ever with, “Best I Ever Had”.
It’s definitely a hard pill to swallow. I’ve seen dozens of bands come and go in this scene over the years, but it usually happens so fast there’s really no time dwell on hard feelings. Watching these guys close out their final set was like closing a chapter of my life. This band had been around through the early years of my introduction to the scene and A Gig Life Tour back in 2009 was one of the first true shows I had ever attended. I got to see this band share the stage at a packed Stone Pony in Asbury Park with Four Year Strong, Set Your Goals, Fireworks, and Polar Bear Club; and some days, I can still feel the effects of my cocky, 18-year-old self getting knocked down a peg in the pit.
When I ventured out of my suburban New Jersey bubble to attend college in Pennsylvania, I remember it being one of the hardest adjustments of my life; so just like any good scene kid, I turned to music to help me cope. It was my discovery of Ups And Downsizing that really helped me get through that first semester. The chunky, punk/alt-rock sound on this album was just what I needed to combat all of angst I was feeling from the process of learning to live on my own. Saying this album saved my life would probably be an overstatement, but it definitely had a great effect on who I am today and how my musical tastes have developed in the last six years.
Since that pivotal record, The Swellers have been a steady rock in this ever-changing scene. They have become synonymous with image of a mid-level band that has had to fight for every shred success they’ve earned throughout their career. Swellers’ drummer Jon Diener actually wrote an extremely enlightening article for Noisey called “The Life And Death Of A Mid-Level Band: The End Of The Swellers”. It put a spotlight on all the highs and lows a lot of bands face as they fight to build a fanbase and make a hit record. It also showed the appreciation this band has for their cult following. Although many people didn’t want to hear or believe it, this was the closure people wish they got from their favorite bands before the end. It was concise, informative, caring, and most of all, it lacked the mud-slinging drama that many artists feel necessary to declare as their musical foundation crumbles beneath them. In simpler terms, these guys are going out with a bang and doing it with class.
I wasn’t really sure where this was going to go when I started writing it yesterday, but I guess it has become eulogy of sorts for The Swellers. This is my way of saying thank you for all the years of hard work and great music they pumped into this scene. Sure it’s sad to see them go, but they left behind a hell of a legacy and a diehard fanbase. Maybe they didn’t get the mainstream success that some of their peers received, but I hope that they’re content knowing that the influenced many lives throughout their time as a band. I wish these guys much success in their future endeavors, and who knows; maybe we’ll get a reunion show ever now and again. The future is never finite. I do know one thing however, I sure as hell will never forget The Swellers.