Eh Brah! Throwing Stones at Old Rockers

Illustration by Ron Pitts

Please, get some new material for your hippie painted-guitar act. You may think everyone loves a middle aged chick dancing on the bar–but sister and brother “rockers,” that’s where we eat. Seems like wherever we go these days, it’s the same old “Layla” and “Freebird” flowing out of the local bars and restaurants from the same old musicians. Time to move over and let the new kids have a chance at the mic. Onward and upward or outta here–my ears are bleeding.

UPDATE (January 28):

Dear Readers: This Eh Brah! has caused quite a stir. Please CLICK HERE to read our “Eh Brah! Clarification” post.



  • Dana Fulton

    Whoever wrote this does NOT know good music. This is offensive and repulsive to say about such a good-hearted woman who has a heart of gold. Please tell me your name, author, so I know never to buy any of your music because even though people may be older or younger in years, it’s character that counts and you- dear author- have none.

  • Kevin Roy

    Ms. Swanson is absolutely right. Don’t insult ALL the musicians for doing what we love. After only 3 years on this wonderful island, I’ve found the problem to be with the bar owners. I can’t understand the policy of asking bands to play for a percentage of the bar. My best friend and bass player in my early years was killed by a drunk driver that was pulling into another bar. You get what you pay for… if you offer real musicians, meaning true professionals, chump change, they will turn you down and go play their instrument and sing at the beach. I’ve seen just as much talent outside the bars as inside. To those that stick it out and play for less than they’re worth… KUDOS! As long as there’s integrity in what you do. I agree that the writer is a jealous dork!!! If anything, all these bands should learn a new list of covers every year, if they’re together that long. Aloha my rocker friends. Rock on!

  • Huli Opu

    It’s funny, but predictable, to see all the aged musicians on this island getting militant about an absolute on-the-mark Eh Brah.

    The stigma of Maui and it’s community of old “rockers” playing the same old electric lunch tunes from the 60’s and 70’s is spot-on accurate. To be fair, that designation may have more to do with the resident demographic here and the age group of the tourists that visit here. Club and restaurant owners are also from that same age group so it seems natural that musicians are playing dinosaur tunes from long ago in most venues.

    It’s also clear that many of the musicians and radio djs here stopped listening or searching out new music and different genres long ago. The dearth of progressive young people on this island leaves a gaping hole that can’t be filled by old musicians who cling desperately to the songs of their youth.

    I’ve been part of the music scene on O`ahu and Maui for over 40 years and I always find it odd that many Maui residents have no clue about the music scene – or any other aspect – of O`ahu; they tend to get stuck in a small circle of aquaintances and exposure – not conducive to developing new sounds or influences.

    Here’s a tip for all you irritable old Maui rockers out there : try not playing all your old favorites and tune into radio stations around the world, maybe some new influences will help you stay young. Here’s one for starters – KIWI FM from New Zealand. They play all New Zealand artists.
    You’ll be surprised at how far behind your geriatric tastes are.

    As for Maui Time – shame on you for capitulating to these gramps and grannies. They do have a point though, Maui Time was built as a free rag promoting the bar and restaurant business. As I see it it’s your journalistic duty to help pull these sticks out of the mud.

    Finally, why are you taking it so personally Gail ? You are a good musician and when I’ve heard you spinning on the radio your song selections are always good.

  • Shawn Michael

    Is this Eh Brah ranter seriously blaming the entertainers for giving the club owners and crowds what they want? As far as I know, nothing is preventing anybody with a professional act from getting a gig around here. Maybe this Eh Brah ranter knows some entertainers we don’t already know about that want gigs?

    Anyways, I’d love to see the list of these “new kids” they’d rather see. I can almost guarantee if these “new kids” got a good show, they got gigs. Go look em up and support em if your ears are really bleeding that bad.

    Peace Gail, I get plenty haters too.

    • Gail

      I agree, there are plenty of gigs and we all support each other in the musician community – all ages, all genres. We just gotta stay positive and do our thing. I let it all get to me, but I’m over it now. I appreciate all the support from friends and that means the most to me. Another life lesson. Got a new song in the works from this whole thing anyway. :)

  • Visiemsmailams

    I think whoever wrote this above, should at least appologize!!

    Unfortunately I don’t know many Hawaiian musicians yet.. but because of the music that I heard over here in Europe, performed by Gail Swanson (imho a GREAT musician!) I want to travel more than 10’000 miles and visit your island in the near future with a hope that i can find similar treasures there!

    And by the way – i’m’s not about the age, dummie. Of course it’s a matter of taste – and you, as a journalist, should not push fw your stupid taste and write about your island in such a way! If I wouldn’t hear Gail’s music, i’d probably believe in what u are writing and would consider visiting other place than Maui.

    So please next time think before saying a word, moreover if u got a luck to print it!


  • Bout time it gets figured out

    Well, considering that Maui Time has always been a pretty bad newspaper, and the real reason people read it at all is because it’s free, It’s not surprising that the mean spirited, low brow attitude of it’s supercilious owners/publishers/editors would at last garner some good criticism. Frankly, it’s just not very good. Try reading the beautiful B&W magazine, (can’t recall the name) that boasts articles about health and happiness that’s usually found right next to it in most of the venues that carry it. Maui Time=Drek

  • live aloha

    Maui Time has stated that they do not support the views of the writer. (Eh Brah) However, Maui time supports freedom of speech, this right creates dialogue, and dialogue is good. People, do not be hypocrites! I have read some horrible slashes aimed at people of faith, religion, and politics you were not boycotting Maui Time during that. I disagree with the “slashers” of musicians and I too would have felt hurt if it referred to me. But I would never impose on a Maui Time to not print it. C’mon , what was meant for evil, has turned out positive ! Maui is talking about what is passionate to Maui, sharing Aloha through Music!

  • Cindy

    Eh Brah!!!!!! Watch your mouth don’t bleed too!!!!!!!!!!!!! Next gonna be your wallet!!!!!!!!! No job!!!!!
    Shame on Maui Times for even thinking about publishing this. The aged rockers you are belittling happen to bring thousands of dollars in revenue to the Maui’s economy and local charities….. Where are all the “new kids” when it comes to charity work??????? You’ve lost my readership.
    Onward & upward we’re outta there!!!!!!! I’m going to listen to Gail sing………………

  • Gail Swanson

    Newsflash: Musicians do not like playing the cheesey covers. We play what the people want to hear and we are trying to make a living. We mix in as many originals as we can. Whoever wrote the article must not have a job. He probably wants gigs but nobody wants him. He must not understand what it is to be a professinoal musician. And helloooo some of the BEST musicians out there play songs like Layla and Freebird – they play the shit out of them. Do you know much money the writers STILL make on those 2 songs? And this guy is probably one of drunk idiots swinging a beer around the whole time – hell he probably requests the songs. This column USED TO BE pretty harmless and anonymous. Now its slamming specific people, and spreading negative energy on our island. I invite the writer to come to my gig and let me show him my hippy painted guitar up close. Really close. And more than that (because really the writer is not the issue here) MAUI TIME PUBLISHED IT. This paper is being irresponsible, negative, hurtful, and NOT community minded. I remember when the paper was started and it was really good. Someone at Maui Time needs to man up and call me. Do they or do they not support local artists and musicians. And to the guy who wrote something negative about Erin and Ron – shut the hell up – those guys rock harder than you’ll ever dream of. Also, the places where we play spend alot of money advertising – and then the magazine slams the musicians they are advertising… interesting. You can call me old, I am old, and you can call me hippie, and I’m proud to be. But don’t insult all the musicians on the island for doing what we love.

    • Dave Carroll

      Gail, in the words of Kris Kristofferson “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”
      Clearly the wannabe writer of this ignorant nonsense has absolutely no clue about professional performance or quality songwriting. – You; on the other hand could write a book on the subject. Your catalog of original songs EGGSHELLS, HALF A HEART, DEAR ME, COUPLE IN THE CORNER and on and on … speak for themselves!
      Which is why the talented illustrator originally included your FAMOUS fans and collaborating songwriters, Willie Nelson, Pat Simmons, Michael McDonald, – as well as some good advise for the whiney author of this ridiculous rant.
      Some people wouldn’t know good if it was right in front of them, and lucky for us on Maui, you are.

  • Karen

    I am really surprised that Maui Time would publish something like this. I won’t be supporting this paper anymore. How completely unprofessional. The restaurant and bar managers in this community hire the musicians that #1 bring in a crowd and play what the customers want to hear, (if that means Layla or Freebird, so be it. #2 have a good reputation in the community for giving back. (maybe the letter writer should get a little more informed and check out which musicians are helping out the new musicians on Maui). #3 Are good people who are easy to work with.
    Shame on you Maui Time.

  • Somesaytheheart

    Eh Brah- maybe you still hear those same ole songs cuz they are melodies and lyrucs that are still meaninful and have lasted the time. Not some noise that is here today and gone next week. Also, Maui Weekly, becareful you don’t shit wear you eat – Eh Brah may be for rants, but most of the so called “old” on-island rockers would never think of dissing new and sometimes much less talented newcomers to the music scene.


    As a supporter and general fan of many Maui bands, I think this article is childish (no offense to children).

  • jg

    Well much to say but little space and time….. #1 respect all musicians and original artists. #2 Maui club owners need to come up with a little more $$$ for these artists who play their hearts out. When was the last time a musician got a raise? do you know wat the avereage venue pays th musician? #3 You who dis others are not worth replying to, except, be careful of what you say. Maui is still a small town and WE WILL stand up for eachother. #4 YOU….da younger “professional” STOP working for peanuts and beer! WT F is that??? Paying your dues is not always easy but it can be fun …if you don’t get payed at least 1 C note, hold out or do open mics until u develop a following that u bring home at least that buck…. u make it hard for us who are trying to make a living…..

  • Aleta “Lee”

    The state of Maui’s music scene is not the fault of our artists. Taking shots at the musical legends who reside on Maui and are willing to play/perform on Maui, is like telling Pearl Jam or Pink Floyd that their music should not be played in venues in their home towns. Maui’s restaurants, bars and other paying venues hire the musicians that will bring in the money and the customers. All MUSICIANS are required to play mostly cover tunes as opposed to original lyrics/music. To knock the musical pillars of our community for sharing their talents is not a very astute approach to the obvious frustration that person is feeling about Maui’s lack of artistic freedom.
    The musicians pictured (along with many others not depicted) have each lovingly and willingly given of their time, talent and money to support our community, and the numerous fundraisers we hold.
    It is obvious that Maui has a need for more artistic range and freedom. A more productive approach to this dilemma would be to for all of us to put our money where are mouth is and actually “pay” to attend venues where new artists are performing. That small act would motivate the people who hire musicians.
    Kudos to Maui Time for being bold enough to post this “Eh Brah” article, it’s one way to bring more awareness to Maui’s music scene, stirring the pot always gets peoples attention.
    Aleta Lee, Owner/Partner

    • K.A.I.

      Force feeding a certain genre of music to anyone and telling them to like it is wrong. I also think it is wrong to tell musicians what to play is wrong too, but if you are doing it to get paid hey, that’s your business. I grew up on this island and felt forced to listen to a lot of music that I didn’t necessarily care for. Frankly today, this island could stand to have better musical acts, but I think the lack of support here is why there is so much frustration and angst. We even have grown some of our own talent here on Maui, but for lack of support and appreciation they move elsewhere to survive. The up and coming generation is a multifaceted generation with music appreciation that transcends many musical genres. We should recognize this and cultivate this. We should bring in artists and musical programs to expose and educate musical appreciation. Instead of my angst ridden gen X such as myself who can really resonate to the article and can understand the point of view that was being displayed, but the message was lost in the translation. Let us say to our elders who are the benefactors who can finance such hopes and dreams to make music a reality for the kids. We are pissed off and poor. You guys have the money. Make it happen!

  • Mike Trail

    Welcome to Maui and home of the lounge singer/act. Bars with jukeboxes do the trick for me. Got nothing against live music but the same tiring acts playing the same routine of tunes has become quite a bore. And what lounge acts that do incorporate their original music into the performance, really should maybe stick to cover songs. It can’t get much worse when you get Ron from the Crunch Pups playing a loop of Sublime and White Stripe songs or Erin Smith playing Kihei Town as guaranteed songs to be played with set list. Oh well, shit never changes.

  • TipAndRing

    Know your audience. if they want Freebird you play Freebird.