POZ Contributor Blog: Jono Diener
The Swellers had a relatively quiet summer to work on a new EP and start planning for their future, and it looks like Jono Diener enjoyed himself, so we’re glad to have him back. In a new Contributor Blog, Jono gives a big update to fans regarding how he spent his summer vacation (get it?) and what it was like to relearn a life away from tour and at home. Check out The Swellers’ upcoming dates with Strung Out here and read his full blog below!
Pushing Play: When The Break Is Over
So here I am, exactly where I started, on the last day of my summer break. I’m sitting at my computer and thinking about how crazy the last few months have been. At the beginning it was about the experience I had while on the road and overseas and how much changed in my life (personal and band-wise). It would be an understatement to say I’ve been through a lot. What makes the next few summer months different for me was all of the changes have been solely in my perspective of everything. Because of that, this summer has saved my life.
No, I don’t mean I was about to end my life. What I mean was I am remembering how to be a functioning member of society again. Instead of loading gear into a trailer or a van, driving for hours, unloading, playing, eating Taco Bell, packing up and doing it again… I got to experience normal life. It was my first full summer off in years, and a lot of people don’t know that or fully understand it. The summer has the same effect as the holiday season does to me. It’s this weird reunion of people you haven’t seen in years, some you missed and some you wished would stay away. But that’s life, right? It’s not perfect. You get to experience it all. I was playing catch up with everyone and it finally got to the point where I didn’t have to constantly answer questions like, “HOW WAS TOUR?” over and over again. I appreciate the sentiment, but sometimes I just want to feel stationary. I want to look out a window and watch the trees stand still and not see them flying by at 75mph on a highway in a state I don’t remember I’m in. Sometimes you just want a breath of fresh air.
For some reason this summer felt like my childhood all over again. We had the “punk rock softball” championship going on, regular karaoke nights, designated food nights with the same group of friends. It was like my life could finally be this strange romantic comedy I’ve always wanted it to all why finding out so much about myself and everything around me. Things just felt good. The strangest part is playing songs from our new EP coming out soon and hearing the lyrics I wrote when I was in such a dark, confusing place. It’s not that I was angry at individuals but the whole feeling of being pushed out of a moving van, looking up and realizing I had to start all over again. The problem I always have is over-romanticizing everything or blowing things out of proportion in a negative sense. I was so enthralled in getting into my own head and finally getting the last scoops of this negativity at the bottom of the metaphorical lyric ice cream carton out and typing it out in prose. Ok, maybe just filling in melodies to accompany music is a better way of wording it. I think I’ve made it through all of the strange parts and now I’m ready to find out what happens next. Are things 100% perfect? Have they ever been? It’s life, it’s all a work in progress.
What this summer and this break have taught me was how important friends are. Having people who truly care about you and can sit down and talk with you on a porch, or a couch, or a restaurant booth for hours without needing another activity to get in the way to help kill time. Through simple conversations I slowly realized that so many people are in the exact same place I am. We’re older than we were but have this strange fresh start that we get to take advantage of. I developed bonds with long lost friends I never thought I’d talk to again and it meant the world to me. The venue we worked forever to re-open is open again. All these strange things were taking shape, and it was like some sort of cosmic destiny… or it was just about time things started making sense again. As some more personal life lessons were learned, I slowly started hearing the question, “So when do you guys head out again?” I knew it was getting close, because how could I stay this long. I’m never home forever. There was a strange part of me clinging to it while the majority of my mind knew it was the right time to get out and do what I do best. To be completely honest I had the selfish wish of being able to press a giant imaginary pause button on my life back home, come back and press play and continue like nothing ever happened. I had such a fear of losing touch, missing out and growing apart from things back home. Now I know if they were truly meant to be and there for me it will be like I never left when I get home in a few months.
This truly was the perfect summer on every account. It’s a shame to see it end, but who said a season controls how we act as people? I’ll always remember the summer I cleared my head. The summer I learned what really matters. The summer I felt at home for the first time in forever. It’s time I pack that home with my other few belongings in a backpack, jump in a van then a plane and see what’s out there for me. I suggest you try it sometime. It’s the best feeling in the world.
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