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PropertyOfZack Contributor Blog : : Jono Diener

A lot has changed for The Swellers since Jono Diener last wrote a Contributor Blog for PropertyOfZack, and we are certainly glad to have him back. In his new blog, Jono dives into the image of “misunderstood” musicians and how fans, or artists themselves, can misperceive what they hear around them and how stories of bands being “bad guys” can quickly become over-exaggerated. Jono did a great job with this piece, so read up on his full blog below!

Being in a band is like being in high school all over again. Your world is divided into different lunch tables based on genre of music or the cool kids, the losers, the bullies, the nobodies, and usually you have the goth table for good measure. When you’re traveling you hear A LOT of stories about your fellow musicians and eventually you start to notice certain patterns emerging when it comes to a few select individuals. These are the “bad guys” of music. It’s not different than talk in the hallway before class starts. I used to take everything I heard as gospel instantly, and to be honest I’d spread the word to my peers to keep their distance because it was fun to talk about. Whether or not these people did anything directly to me I was already biased based on their apparent decisions and actions. As time went on I realized I wasn’t solving anything by spreading this gossip, I was just becoming part of the problem and skewing people’s perception based on half-truths. I’d run into these people who potentially even like my band and I’d either keep my distance or keep things short. Over time I began to realize from observing these people like the crocodile hunter himself, they’re not actually BAD people, they’re just incredibly mislead or the situation is misdiagnosed. It might be the hippie in me, but I think there’s a little bit of good in everybody.

The stories become exaggerated over time like a bizarre game of telephone. My favorite stories are usually along the lines of seeing your favorite musician and yelling out to them… but then they COMPLETELY ignore you and walk away. From the storyteller’s standpoint, this was an incredible moment in their life finally seeing their idol and having their dreams shattered. The person goes from idol to asshole instantly after the story. It spreads and spreads until they tell it to me and I just start laughing. I then ask the context of the story, for them to get a little deeper into it. It goes from them being completely ignored to it being a thunderstorm and the singer of their favorite band was running into his tour bus after a show to get out of the rain passing a crowd of people. Most musicians usually have a set time to meet fans after shows at the merch or by the bus when the show is over. If they don’t, that means they just want a break and have some time to themselves. It doesn’t make them a bad person, it makes them a human being. I met someone from one of my favorite bands and he was pretty snide with me and almost made fun of my praise for him and his music. I was turned off instantly and left the show pretty bummed out. I found out a few months later that he was going through a divorce that week and was miserable. Do you have to tell your fans about your personal life? Hell no. People have bad days. I’ve had many bad days on the road. When you play from thirty minutes to an hour every night you get to forget about your problems but when you’re talking to fans and hanging in the crowd you’re just back to being a person again. You can’t always wear a mask or you’ll go insane. Sometimes the situations aren’t simply misunderstood, these people just have so many things wrong with them they get stuck in their metaphorical mask and that’s when problems begin.

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