THE SWELLERS are back from the dead for one song only, with their efforts to be contributed to a benefit album raising proceeds to those affected by the water crisis playing out in Michigan.
The band announced their breakup last year after a 13-year run, but in the months following, neither frontman Nick Diener, nor drummer Jonathan Diener could have foreseen what would happen to their hometown of Flint, Michigan. If you’ve been following recent news, you would be aware of the crisis afflicting the community, due in part to poor decision making from elected officials, where the city’s entire water supply underwent a series of problems resulting in substantial lead contamination, potentially affecting the health of thousands of residents who trusted their local and state government to protect them from such dangers.
It’s out of the anger and confusion that’s arisen in the aftermath of this crisis that Jonathan Diener co-created Not Safe To Drink with Substream Magazine contributor James Shotwell. The digital benefit compilation will feature contributions from well over 70 bands, many of whom recording material exclusively for this release—including The Swellers. “Not Safe To Drink,” the compilation’s title track, which is the first new Swellers song since the release of their final album The Light Under Closed Doors in 2013 and will most likely be the last Swellers song ever.
“The last song on our last record felt like it was the bookend on our 13-year history,” Nick Diener stated. “We’ve all written songs since then for other projects, but in the midst of all these new Flint Water Crisis developments, I played things that I haven’t played in a long time. It sounded like a Swellers song. An eight-minute posthumous Swellers song, because we don’t care that we aren’t a band anymore and have all gone our separate ways.”
“Since this is happening to our hometown, it only made sense to resurrect the band for one more song,” Jonathan Diener explains. “I’ve been reading a ton, talking to our friends in Flint and all of it leaked into the lyrics. It’s the right time to be angry again.”
Not Safe To Drink— which will feature contributions from artists including Taking Back Sunday, Anti-Flag, We Came As Romans, Craig Owens, Aaron West And The Roaring Twenties, Real Friends, Jeff Rosenstock and many more—-will be released February 20 and can be pre-ordered here for a minimum donation of $5, with all proceeds being directed to FlintKids.org.