Welcome to the seventh part in our
Louden Swain series! If you missed them, you can read part 1, part 2, part 3, Part 4 , Part 5 and Part 6. We’ll be posting a series of articles celebrating the band leading up to the release of their new acoustic album, Splitting the Seams, which will release on October 26.
We asked for input from fans of the band, and had them answer questions. We had a huge turnout, with many fans wanting to share their favorites and their stories. For this installment, fans share their favorite moments from meeting the band!
Courtesy of Kelsi Sickmann Photography
Natasha (@NatashaCole): “I’ve had a lot of great experiences with meeting the band, but the one I will never forget is probably when I gave them a copy of my Louden Swain art book filled with my lyric pieces at VegasCon 2018. I had 2 copies, chickened out on giving them a copy, and instead just asked them to sign mine. Rob stopped to actually look through it and he told me that it was amazing. He took forever to actually sign it because he was looking through the whole thing, so I finally asked if I could just give him a copy. He was so excited and I eyed him thumbing through it as I moved down the autograph line. Billy, Mike, and Stephen loved it as well and that experience made my entire con and encouraged me to keep creating art.” - Advertisement -
Dean (@ChucksVessel): “When I met them for the first time and the volunteer told Stephen I had a solo [photo op] with him and he had the brightest smile.”
Scoutstiel (@scoutstiel): “I don’t think SNS existed yet, but they were signing autographs after one of their later personal shows at a con, and they each had a beer. That’s a little detail I remember because it makes me laugh. Anyway, this was the first time I’d ever shown any band in-person the art I’d done of them, and I was absolutely flabbergasted by their response. They showed it to me saved on their phones, took pictures of it, recreated the noise they thought it would make, and I had absolutely no idea what to say. I think I just nervously swayed. I had absolutely no confidence in myself, and these four dudes single-handedly (er…quad…handedly. Octo-handedly?) changed how I felt about my own work.”
Tiffany (@Tiffany Shope1): “Favorite moment meeting them is every moment because THEY DON’T HAVE TO TAKE THE TIME TO MEET US. They don’t have to stick around after the shows. They don’t have to take the extra time to make sure everyone gets the chance to talk to them or take pictures with them. Yet EVERY TIME they do. They come out and get mobbed (depending on venue) and they still seem like they appreciate you coming out for the show and even after all these years can’t fully believe that people travel however far they do JUST TO SEE THEM PLAY. I’ve been to a lot of concerts and the overwhelming majority of bands don’t do that; and it makes a Louden Swain show special.”
Tiffany (@TiffIsWayward): “The first real interaction I had with them is one I won’t ever forget. It was the day after they had played ‘Purple Rain’ for the first time at SNS and I was in their autograph line to get my guitar signed. I approached the table and the first thing Rob noticed was the broken string on the guitar (I don’t play much, if at all) and the first thing he said was ‘This looks hard to play.’ I laughed and stumbled over my words, but as he passed the guitar to Billy I was able to spit out that I know a guy who had played keys in the original ‘Purple Rain’ movie with Prince and that this guy was discovered by Prince at 17. I wish I could have had a camera to capture they giant grins on Rob and Billy’s faces in that moment.”
Courtesy of Kelsi Sickmann Photography - Advertisement -
Jennifer (@macd1982): “They are always so incredibly sweet and they all give fantastic hugs. One of my all time favourite memories is a photo op that I did with them at the Toronto convention in 2015. I sat cross-legged on the floor with Rob and had Mike, Billy, and Stephen stand behind us. It turned out even better than I hoped it would and the actual experience of it all is one that I will cherish forever. I love every single thing about that picture. It is also framed and hanging on my wall.”
Kelli (@klairermusic1): “My friend Sammy and I did a photo op with the guys while in the UK. Rob came up with the pose of Mike being Big Ben and the rest of us being tourists. I then took that photo op and had the guys sign it. Mike drew a clock face on his chest and Billy…well I’m not positive what he drew. He either drew a camera with flash going off, or he is putting graffiti on Mike. Some day I will get an answer from Billy as to which it actually is. Norton was the last one to get the photo and he just laughed seeing what the guys had done to it.”
Muriel (@housecatsswain): “My first op with them at Rockwood. I didn’t go for the usual hug but asked to hug Rob while the rest of the band photobombed us. I really wanted to do this but was hesitant because except Rob I never met them and I tend to be really shy the first time I met someone. That didn’t happen with them. I asked. We did the op. Everyone was laughing in the room and I understood why when I got it later. Billy went the extra mile on it. It stills is my favourite op ever.”
Amanda (@AmandaC0124): “When i purchased Eskimo i decided to take the opportunity to get my cd autographed as i was nieve enough to think this was my only convention haha. I loved how approachable and kind they all were, when i said i drove over 10 hours to be there they were all blown away and thanked me for being there.”
Paige (@lightinmychest): “I met them at the brunch in Atlanta this year in January. My favorite part was when Stephen showed us Lucky on his phone and tried to get his attention on the live feed. Lucky wasn’t having it, though!”
Stacy (@LoveandSwain): “One was the VIP meet & greet for the No Time Like the Present release party. It was a very chill and relaxed atmosphere. We were just able to chat with the guys about random stuff like Hogwarts houses and Disney. I will never forget though at one point while in the middle of a conversation Rob grabs my arm and says, ‘you have to see this.’ He pulled me over to a huge poster of a movie he was in. I still to this day, have no idea why it was so important that I see this poster. But I did, and it’s one of my favorite memories.
Another was the meet & greet before one of the Swain shows at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC. There was a band performing in the other room so the m&g took place in the bar. All the guys were just mingling with everyone. The best was getting to talk to Mike for 15 minutes about the most random stuff ever. The man is just full of knowledge about everything. Also, he was taking requests for songs we wanted to hear. It was super cute.”
Katie ( @mattcohen4fake): “Whenever I meet Louden Swain, I try to bring a drawing of them to show. I love showing them my drawings because their enthusiasm is so genuine. I’ve been lucky enough to meet them a handful of times since 2014 and since then their support just keeps growing. Even when I don’t have any drawing to show, they ask me how my artwork is going and tell me that I need to pursue this and to not let this talent go. Not many celebs really go the extra mile to truly hype their fans as much as we hype them. Because the thing about this band is that they really care about their fans and what we create. Every time, they are floored by any fanart brought to their attention and can’t believe that someone would spend time to create something in relation to them. It’s always so funny to me because sometimes I feel like they don’t get it that we really like them and us creating something for them is sort of like a repayment for the art they create for us.”
Courtesy of Kelsi Sickmann Photography
Sam (@SwainerSam): “Every moment is always a special one but if I had to try and pick one I guess it would be Vegas 2018 when the guys were signing a photo op of us that had my guitar in it. As I went down the line each one of them hand the nicest things to say! Rob: ‘I look so excited in this photo because I actually am your biggest fan!’ Billy: ‘you play guitar really well, cant wait to hear more!’ Stephen: ‘I remember watching those videos with you playing! They were awesome!’ Mike: ‘can we use you for the next album?’ Way to leave me in tears guys.”
Maranda (@maranda_martin): “Favorite Norton moment was at brunch in Georgia, I had shown him my hand-written list of the band’s discography and all the songs I’d wanted to hear live/already heard live. He seemed so taken aback by it and he almost didn’t give me my list back when it was time for him to leave.
Favorite Mike moment would probably also be from Georgia. After the first night of shows, everyone was hanging out and waiting around for the guys. Mike tends to leave the venues early and I almost never get to take selfies with him, so I saw him and went straight up to him to thank him for a great show. He was trying to leave. I called his name and he reached out and grabbed my hand, lacing our fingers together. I gave him a hard time for always leaving so early. He smiled and said “I’m gonna see you tomorrow, right? I’ll stay later tomorrow and we can see each other then.” It was just really sweet. He’s sweet.
Favorite Rob moment would be Sunday autographs and the Supernatural convention in Seattle 2018. I was having him write a lyric out for me, and while he did that, I told him I wasn’t sure when I’d see him and the band again. He looked up at me from his table a little surprised and reached his hand out like we were gonna shake hands. I ask if we’re about to shake hands and he laughs and says no. He holds onto my hand, stands up and pulls me around the table and hugs me. He said some really encouraging things to me and sent me on my way. He went out of his way to make sure I was alright and it was a really beautiful experience.
I can’t really favor any one moment with Billy over another, but it always kinda blows my mind and makes me happy that he recognizes me when we see each other. It’s nice knowing I might be a familiar face in a sea of strangers.”
Katie (@katmgc): “Seattle ’16 fell during my birthday and that was the first time I really had more then just quick interactions with them. Rob hugged me during Sunday autos and I got to talk to Borja and Stephen for a few minutes. I remember telling Stephen that the band was the best and worst thing that ever happened to me, because their music had helped me so much, and I had made so many good friends. Borja chimed in that hopefully they weren’t the worst thing that ever happened me, and I told him that financially my wallet had to disagree. It was a good end to the weekend.”
Courtesy of Kelsi Sickmann Photography
Lynette (@LynetteParki): “I met them at SPNUK and got to interact with them through autographs and a meet and greet. The queue for their autographs was so long because they were truly taking the time to interact with everyone. They are so humble and appreciative to the fans and it makes me love the band all the more.”
Sara (@altsunthinkable): “They’re all fantastic guys and really know how to make their fans feel special. It really meant a lot to me that when I let them know I’d never heard my favourite song (Real Life) live despite having been going to their shows for nearly 4 years that they made sure to play it at the very next show I was at. Another time, i t was silly fun early on when they didn’t have a lot of fans who came to the cons just for them yet to make shirts with ridiculous jokes on them or hats with their names on them and show up to a con with a group of friends all wearing them. The band really got a kick out of it. Finally, i t’s always great to get the chance to really chat with them whether it’s a meet & greet at a con or one of the VIP events at a release party or on a tour. The brunch in Decatur in January was especially fun getting a good amount of time to talk with each band member.”
Jenna (@sushiswain): “At my first ever Louden Swain meet & greet at PittCon 2016, we had an all-out pizza party. I knew everyone in the M&G ahead of time, and we brought pizzas, soda, and dessert (Sarah R. made these amazing pop tart hearts that Rob was obsessed with! They tasted amazing!) It was such a fun, down to earth M&G. I’ve done others since then but that first one is still my favorite. Just getting to sit around a table for 45 minutes with the band and nine other people, making jokes and having lunch, was the highlight of my weekend at that con.”
Lori (@SPNZookeeper):“I’d say one of my most favourite moments would be the first time I ever met them at the Rockwood Festival in 2016. I was sitting at a table for the Backstage Party and Rob and Billy came and sat at our table. Billy immediately recognised me from the covers I’d been doing on Twitter. I was completely shocked, that not only would he recognise me just from seeing my face but that the whole band knew who I was. I had no idea they even watched them!! I still can’t believe it to this day, but it made me feel on top of the world. Having your favourite band and the people you look up to tell you that you’re talented and that they love your covers is just a feeling you can’t describe. I’ll never forget that moment.”
Emma (@simplyreflected):“I’ve met them once; Montreal SPN Con in April 2018. My favourite moment was actually getting to talk to Rob, Mike and Stephen about where I’m from (especially Rob remembering the day after I told him). I had spoken to Rob at the R2M meet and greet when he asked me if I was Australian and I told him no, I’m from New Zealand. I was excited by this because a lot of people (including people from New Zealand) have asked me if I was British. It meant a lot to me that he or anyone would remember that since to me it seems like such a minor detail.”
Em (@invisible_heir): “When I met Billy in Atlanta and told him I had written this book for his girls that he was given at a con and he smiled really big in recognition and set his equipment down and goes “Awww hug for that!” and gave me the biggest hug. The rest of the interaction was just as great and meant the world.
Another fave moment was when I had Rob sign my R2M poetry book at Nashville. He repeated the words ‘oh my god’ several times as he looked through it and read some. He asked me questions about it and then got up and hugged me. I gave him a copy of the Louden Swain book I had brought for him and he promised to read it. Then he spent the rest of the weekend making sure I knew how much he appreciated it. I had been so stressed and dead sure about them not liking it at all that I was nowhere near prepared for the kindness of his reaction. All of my Rob encounters have been amazing but that one holds a special place in my heart.”
Courtesy of Kelsi Sickmann Photography
Aileen (@fandomfreak221b): “Right after I had a meet & greet with the band at Vegascon this year, I went to their autograph session in the vendors room. As I approached the guys, we just all started bantering back and forth since I was the last person in line. I remember approaching Stephen and he looked right at me and said, ‘Hey, long time no see!’ To that, I immediately replied, ‘I know, it’s been forever since I’ve last seen you! Did you get taller?’ We all had a laugh about it and it was just amazing. I still smile like an idiot when I remember that moment.”
Gisselle (@lopezado8696): “My favorite moment from meeting the band probably happened during SPNCHI 2018, during an autograph session with the band. They were just so sweet to everyone, and enthusiastic about meeting fans! I actually had a nice, short conversation with Stephen for the time it took for him to sign my album and pass it over, and Mike and Billy both lit up when I told them how much I love Louden Swain. I actually had a Meet&Greet with Rob prior to the autographs and I had worn my Nerds and Beyond shirt to it, so when it was my turn for his autograph, he saw my shirt, looked up, and recognized me!”
Finn (@againsthewave_): “Too many to say. Every time I’ve gotten a “Hey, good to see you again!” or a long hug. The small moments are the best.”
Kim (@KimSaysSmile): “Every live interaction with Swain is a great one. The guys are all so sweet. A lot of my memories with them come from photo ops at Creation conventions. Letting them pick the pose is always an adventure. The pose is always elaborate and usually leads to Borja being some sort of inanimate object. One time he was a Christmas tree that Billy and Stephen were decorating while Rob, my friend Kim, and I were admiring the invisible packages under the Borja tree. When you come in with a photo op idea, they always try so hard to make it perfect. One time I wanted to create a Backstreet Boys pose. They took so long analyzing the photo to try and get it right. It was pretty entertaining to watch.”
Vera (@raths_kitten): “Honestly, my fave moment was when Rob first recognized me and made me feel special and like he was honestly happy to see me. He even asked me when we’d meet next and if I liked the concert – seeming to really value my opinion. Even now that he has so many more fans (this was in 2014 or so), he still makes me feel like I matter and he wants to make me happy with their concert. And he really does.”
Emma (EmmaV421): “At Minncon 2018 my sister and I were in one of the meet and greet rooms by ourselves, long before anyone else showed up and we were lucky enough to have each of the guys walk through and each one greeted us with the biggest smile.”
Erika (@soliloquywriter): “In Phoenix last year I was in a hard place, lots going on in my life that was out of my control; and so I was really looking forward to SNS as an escape, I always feel safe, and ever so grateful to God, kicked back in the very last row of seats in the room, in a mediocre folding chair, wrapped on all sides by the whine of Billy’s guitar, the pulse of Norton’s beat, the thrum of Borja’s bass, and the sweet comfort of raw emotion that envelopes me as Rob sings, because somehow the world just sparkles just a little bit brighter.
At this particular show I cried three times [a new record for me}, I cried during ‘Leg Up,’ ‘Fare Thee Well,’ and of course ‘She Waits’. So when I saw Rob at Swain autos the following day, I schooled my face into a frown and I said to him, very sternly as I took my place before him, ‘Three times Rob, three times!’ He blinked with a look of bewilderment upon his face as if to say ‘What have I done?’ as he looked up at me. In a softer voice, I continued, ‘Three times last night you filled my heart so completely that it leaked out my eyes.’ And just as my eyes are now misting as I type this in remembrance, so too did Rob’s eyes as he sat choked up past the point of speech, so instead, he grabbed my hand and squeezed tightly, and finding my own voice I said’“I love you Rob, you don’t have to say anything, I’ll say it for us.’ he said ‘I love you too!’ gave my hand one last squeeze, and I moved down the line to thank Billy, Stephen and Mike as well.”
Kari (@kariface27): “My favorite moment from meeting them is when I got them all to pose like pinup models for a meet and greet picture. Classic.”
Courtesy of Kelsi Sickmann Photography
“I’ve only gotten to meet Rob so far, at a photo op at a con. It was the last day, it was running late (I think by like 2 hours), and he’d been busting ass all weekend (as he does). When we walked up, he was so enthusiastic, he greeted my friend and I like we were his long lost friends. He was so happy to see us, and he gave me the best hug ever for our op. I miss that hug!”
Brittany (@tasteofmyhominy): “I was lucky enough to attend brunch with Louden Swain in Decatur, GA and going into it, I really didn’t know what to expect but I was, once again, completely blown away by the guys. Each of them were so incredibly kind and not only took time to listen to what we had to say, but also shared anecdotes of their own. It was the first Meet and Greet setting I’d ever really been in and they were above and beyond kind and put my shaky nerves at ease.”
Mary (@pare6386): “I was the last person to get my cd autographed at the table during one of their signings at Chicon 2018. I don’t think I spoke very coherent sentences, I used a lot of the word amazing and babbled. The band was great about it as I can imagine it happens frequently and we engaged in small chit chat. I was also fortunate to be in Rob’s M&G at Chicago and for my first convention, it was my favorite experience of the whole convention. He is truly a genuine person.”
Helen (@mywaywardsonsuk): “I met them at Rockwood and I think my favourite moment was just how genuine and how nice they all are and how they loved talking to us as much as we do them.”
MaryJane (@12TimeTraveler): “Honestly my favorite moment was actually from seeing The Station Breaks in Atlanta (not quite Swain I know) and getting to have brunch with Rob and Billy. It helped me be less star-struck around Rob and helped me see him as an actual person. And honestly my only interaction with Billy before then had been at conventions getting autos. Getting to talk with him made me realize he is such a sweet little dork (I say little. He’s probably a foot taller than me.)”
Judy (@JayeEmm): “Every time I’ve met them they are all individually so friendly and welcoming – I love that they know and remember so many of their fans by name or by sight – I’ve been a fan of a lot of bands over the years, but none of them have had a connection with their fans like this.”
Shannon (@reelnerdy): “When they performed at Eddie’s Attic in January, they also had a brunch. As an ice breaker at our table we had Cards Against Humanity set up. We played a round with each of the guys when they arrived at our table, except Stephen. We talked about Lucky with him.”
Elise (@broadwayswain): “For this question I’ll break it down based on each individual member:
Rob – At Phoenixcon, I had them draw my dog Milo during autos.
Rob laughed so hard and was excited to draw him. After autos, Rob YELLS my name from the table just so he can look at everyone’s drawings. He died laughing at Billy’s drawing because he drew a cat. I really liked this interaction because I’ve never had Rob yell my name before, Rob knows my name, and I made him full body laugh from doing this simple task.
Billy – At Pascon, I gave Billy chair socks.He seemed like the type to enjoy them, so I thought it’d be a nice gift.
They’re basically socks for chairs not to keep them warm, but to prevent them from leaving skid marks on the floor. Since then, he has appreciated the gift and brings them up every time I see him.
Stephen – I mess around with Stephen a lot.
My favorite interaction with him was when I got him to sign this photo op of him wearing the dog filter headband from snapchat while all of us looked annoyed at him. He laughed really hard at the photo and approved of it. That man loves his snapchat a lot.
Borja – I call Borja “Tito” all the time, which means uncle in Tagalog.
He honestly doesn’t care and he responds anyway. Anyway, my favorite interaction with him would have to be in Denver recently where I had him sign my very first op with Swain from Pascon. He asked where the photo was from and I said it was three years ago at Pascon. He said we all looked so young there and I said, ‘yeah and I was still in my first semester of nursing school at that time.’ He then asked how school was going and I said how I was almost done and I have a semester and a half left and he was just so proud of me for almost finishing. He asked a lot about taking boards and when I graduate, and I answered all those questions. He seemed generally interested and I loved conversing with him about it. It was also probably the longest conversation I had with him. I love my tito robot.”
Courtesy of Kelsi Sickmann Photography
Jess (@JessHawden): “Rockwood Festival 2017. It was my birthday weekend and a friend arranged for a photo op with Louden Swain as a surprise with a group of friends. Everyone was so lovely and made me feel so loved during the photo. The rest of the day every time I saw each member of Louden Swain they wished me Happy Birthday time and time again.”
Chris (@Chris_afec): “I’ve been lucky enough to meet them several times over the last few years, and on every occasion, every one of them has been warm and engaging. In particular, a M&G at SPN UK was really chill and fun. And bless them, they played a few acoustic songs at that while we were there too, and it was wonderful.”
April (@AprilVian): e”Every time I’ve met them they have friendly and engaging. My first “meeting” with them was a Skype call I had won through a random a drawing, it happened to be on a very hard day for me and is definitely my favorite moment with them.”
Veronica (@veronica_bum): “One of my top ones is when I went to the Atlanta Supernatural convention in 2016 for my birthday (which was the Saturday of the convention). When I went up for my photo with them, I said I wanted a birthday group hug and they all wished me a happy birthday and gave me a wonderfully squishy hug! After the concert that night they did autographs and I asked for them to design me a birthday card as a memento. It’s my favorite birthday card ever!”
Holly (@AccioAwesome): “I was checking into the hotel for VegasCon 2014 and Stephen was in line in front of me. I said hello and got to chat for a few minutes and show him my lyric tattoo. He took a picture and sent it to the rest of the guys, then months later I got a flurry of notifications tagging me because one of them had uploaded the photo to their instagram. I was very tickled!”
Sam (@honeybeemish): “I don’t have one particular memory that comes to mind. It’s a mix of multiple interactions where they each have individually done something that really sticks out. At DCCon 2016 when they still did autographs after SNS, Rob asked me what I thought of the concert and I was trying to say ‘amazing’ and great’ so I went back and forth and he laughed at me. Stephen at NJ ’16 talking to me asking how the weekend was going, and not paying attention trying to slide me someone else’s autograph. My first convention I was super nervous to meet everyone and Billy was super sweet to me and complimented my shirt. I had the guys write out lyrics at Pittsburgh this June and Borja was super focused on writing the word I had for him, his handwriting is so nice it looks like a font. Every interaction I have had with them was nothing but sweet.”
Niki (@darlingniki): “This is tough but I think it must be from after Swainlanta shows when it was snowing like crazy and we were all just adrenaline buzzed and spinning around in the snow and we got to say hi to them while they were packing up the van. It wasn’t a long chat but the energy was great.”
Courtesy of Kelsi Sickmann Photography
Sarah (@SharksandSwain): “Mike: running back to give me a hug after a show even though he had to leave immediately. He didn’t have to, he was already running late, but he saw me and ran over anyway.
Stephen: when he sang to me during an autograph session at the Rockwood Music Festival in Germany last year. I asked all four of them to draw something that reminded them of me, and he drew a smiling sun and started singing ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’.
Billy: the very first time I said more than two words to him, we took a photo and for some reason my phone flashed twice. So in the picture, we’re making these really weird faces because we were blinded by the flash in the dark room. It’s become a bit of an inside joke and ever since, we purposely make the ‘surprise flash selfie’ face whenever we take a photo together.
Rob: We were leaving Navy Pier on his ChiCon 2017 bus tour when he reached out and pulled me next to him, and we spent the next few minutes walking back to the bus, arms around each other, chatting one-on-one about aquariums and beer. It was a really chill and low-key moment.
All four of them: I made the band a really detailed handmade “thank you” card with their instruments made out of layered pieces of paper on the front and a bunch of little paper items on the back that each represented a different Swain song. It was really fun to see their reaction to it and watching them guess what song each of the things on the back represented.”
Karyl (@karylannegeary): “I met them in Chicago. My best friend bought us a photo op as a birthday present for me (complete with birthday hats and kazoos!!!). It was the very first thing we did at the con and I was terrified. The band was so wonderful though, and so excited about the props. They all told me happy birthday, and Rob could tell how anxious I was (I was literally shaking). He rubbed my back and told me it was okay. It was the best birthday gift I’ve ever received.”
Shaena (@StartoftheAct): “I went to a meet and greet at Pittsburgh and it was probably the best moment of my life.”
Stay tuned for our finale!