Stab Magazine | Music Legends, Surfers, and Students Take On Gun Control

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Music Legends, Surfers, and Students Take On Gun Control

Stephen Tyler, Jack Johnson, Albee Layer, Willie Nelson, Matt Meola and more rally for the Concert For Our Lives Maui. 

news // Mar 21, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Typically, when we talk gun control on Maui it involves a crowded day at Jaws.

But right now, all corners of the island community are coming together to support the students of Maui County, who are standing in solidarity with the victims of the Parkland, Florida mass shooting.

Collectively they are endeavoring to tackle what many agree is a life-or-death subject: real, common sense gun control legislation in the United States.

“I was watching the students in Florida speaking with my four-year-old great granddaughter and saw in them an innocence and determination I haven’t seen since I was their age and protested the Vietnam War,” explained Maui resident and legend in the music and entertainment industries Shep Gordon. “I thought my job skills could help the students of Maui have a voice and show them that the community is behind them to change the world through voting.”

In the music business, Gordon’s about as heavyweight a player as they come. He’s handled everyone from Alice Cooper to Pink Floyd…hell, Jimi Hendrix gave him the idea to get into the management game.

Gordon reached out to friends on the island and very quickly the “Concert For Our Lives” was born. Set to take place on March 24 and run in conjunction the nationwide March For Our Lives, the event has steadily been gathering a head of steam.

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“Initially, Katie McMillan, a community organizer of the event, reached out to me to see if I would like to be involved in planning the Concert For Our Lives,” explains student Lily Katz. “Of course, I accepted the offer. I’ve always been the type of person who can’t stand passively by while issues like this are unfolding and as soon as I heard about the shooting in Florida, I knew I needed to get involved somehow. Katie’s call just came at the perfect time.”

Over a dozen students immediately joined the organizing committee and got to work. Meanwhile, Gordon called a few of his friends. Willie Nelson, Stephen Tyler, Kris Kristofferson, Mick Fleetwood, Jack Johnson and a host of others didn’t have to think twice.

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Rocky Point’s most unassuming standout, Jack Johnson will perform at the Concert For Our Lives Maui.

“The response has been remarkable on every level,” Gordon told Stab. “Fully funded by donations without actually asking anyone. All the artists said yes without a second’s hesitation and are donating their services.”

Gordon’s assistant on Maui happens to be Nancy Meola, mother of surfer Matt and singer Lily. They were all quick to jump on board. Nancy’s a dynamo when it comes to rallying the tribe. Lily’s gone to every organizing meeting since the project began and will be performing. Matt’s wrangling the surfers.


“The surf community has been amazing!” continues Gordon. “Companies are calling to give things away to the students…aloha is alive on Maui.”

Key players in the Valley Isle surf scene that are taking a leading role include Meola, Albee Layer, Paige Alms and Kai Lenny. Notable surf brands including RVCA, Outerknown, Sanuk and Mizu Life are all donating product to the effort. Tony Hawk’s even chipping in a signed deck.

“These students are so inspiring, and we wanted to stand by them and support them,” Meola told Stab. “Hawaii actually has some of the best gun control laws in the country. We’re hoping that people can see that as an example.”


“I think guns are fun to shoot, I won’t lie,” copped Layer, “but to me owning one isn’t worth having them all over our country causing deaths every single day. I was lucky enough to be included with a very influential group of people to brainstorm an event to help start building a solution to the kind of mass shootings that unfortunately are normal to us. As always, it starts with our youth. They are the future of our world, so getting them educated and having them do things like register to vote as soon as they are of age is very important.”

“It’s not that we’re against guns. I own hunting rifles,” continued Meola. “But is the right to own a military-style weapon with a large-volume clip more valuable than someone’s right to live? We just want to see laws that make sense and protect the public so that some crazy person can’t just go in and buy a weapon and kill a bunch of people because he’s having a bad day.”

It’s important to keep in mind, this isn’t an “anti-gun” movement, it’s a pro-life movement that’s seeking to reform a broken, deeply flawed system largely run by the NRA, special interest groups and corrupt politician.

“A misconception about this movement is that we want to take away guns from everyone, but that just isn’t the case,” agreed Katz. “This movement is advocating for common sense gun reform that would outlaw things like assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and close loopholes so people unfit to own a firearm can no longer legally obtain one without a background check. It’s ridiculous how America, the only developed country in the world with alarmingly frequent mass shootings, has politicians and organizations that say our gun regulations don’t need reform while teenagers and teachers are getting killed in their classrooms.”

Deeply moved by the tragedies he’s seen play out in American schools all too often, Gordon laments that it’s had to come to this.

“They are getting killed while they’re trying to study,” said Gordon. “We have to stop this, and these kids are the strongest voice I’ve ever heard on sensible gun laws.”

You can purchase tickets here. 


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