Originally Posted by Brown Jenkin
when the guy who:
1. founded the band
2. named it
3. wrote most of the songs
...asks for someone to not use the name, it's probably time to move on, respectfully.
It just doesn't look good. The post-Olson years don't seem to appeal to anyone below 45, and they're playing shows to 20 people at a rehab clinic.
And what age group does a guy wearing grandpa vests and ugly sweaters appeal to? OK, sorry that was a cheap shot...
2 of these 3 above statements are factually incorrect. Olson was not the sole namer of the band (hint: the one guy in the band who's been there every second of its existence and is the biggest fan of The Band/The Hawks in the world, and who also is one of the legal owners of the name, might have had something to do with it) and while Olson no doubt dominated the songwriting for the first few years, "most" is a wildly inaccurate overall assessment. By the early 90s, the songwriting was essentially evenly split and if we want to look at the band's most commercially successful and popular songs - not to mention the totality of the band's 29 year existence - Louris is the clear winner.
As for the band's commercial success post-Olson, the band did just fine 15 years ago and they're doing just fine now. The recent Euro tour and selected US summer dates went great and ticket sales are strong for the upcoming US tour. Fans seem to be actually excited to see a vibrant, engaged band not bogged down by internal strife, something born out by the near universal praise for this years shows to be found in the social media, something that most definitely wasn't the case a few years ago (especially in 2012). Also, unlike the 2009-2012 version of the band, the current lineup is performing music from all eras of the band's long history while, understandably, concentrating on the material from the recent reissues, making for a much more pleasurable fan experience.
Oh yeah, for the record, the attendance at the "rehab clinic" was 1500-2000 at a second year festival in a location an hour away from MSP where no booze was served. Speaking of which, the implication that playing a "rehab clinic" is somehow a "bad" billing (ala Spinal Tap playing an afternoon tea party at an Air Force Base) is particularly offensive and only an ignorant, insensitive troll would make that disparagement given Gary's very public and brave dealings with substance abuse and recovery in recent years and his subsequent dedication to helping the recovery community whenever possible.
As for the age old name dispute... A case could be made that the name should've been changed in 1996 and Gary publicly stated exactly that on more than one occasion during that time. However the record company left them no choice: either continue on or make your record somewhere else (this is addressed in the liner notes on the recent SOL reissue). For better or worse (depending on your point of view) the world got 3 more Jayhawks records from 1997-2003, records that are widely loved and praised (anyone who followed the band during that period knows that this is beyond dispute).
The band in its current lineup has every right to earn a living supporting albums that were made after Olson had quit the band, and to do so using a name they are perfectly - and legally - entitled to use. For someone to take issue with that - and to use vague, unsubstantiated "promises" as evidence - says a lot more about that person than his former bandmates. Similarly, making light of someone's recovery and mentioning an incident were you physically bully a partner and supposed friend to the point of a breakdown isn't exactly a way to make yourself come off as very sympathetic - or even rational. (note to Olson: hire a new PR person, stat!).
Bitterness and negativity are terrible personality traits and will surely pave the way to estrangement from proper society, not to mention a surefire way to guarantee an increasingly irrelevant career.