The Inertia

Meet the Maui Musician Whose Battle with Cancer Inspired an Ode to the Ocean


The Inertia

Pat Simmons Jr., son of The Doobie Brothers’ frontman of the same name, has produced an album dedicated to the healing power of nature and how reciprocating will better us all. With soulful melodies and instrumental licks from the likes of Hawaiian artists Willie K. and Keali´i Reichel, Bonnie Riatt bassist Hutch Hutchinson, Blues legend Elvin Bishop, and Pat’s father, the work carries a powerful message.

After battling cancer years ago, Simmons was inspired to write about his relationship with the island he calls home, Maui. He found solace in the surf, which is a theme you can recognize throughout the album. The song Rust is an homage to the sea, highlighting the degradation of its systems. “After I got out of chemo, I started surfing a lot. It was such a sanctuary for joy and really solidified my passion for the ocean.” In the booklet of This Mountain is a photo Simmons took of big wave Maui charger Jonathan Walczak, picking up trash on the coast after coming in from a heroic session a Jaws. “It blew my mind to see this guy, after risking his life in the water, without hesitation, start cleaning the coast. It was such an inspiring moment.”

“After I got out of chemo, I started surfing a lot. It was such a sanctuary for joy and really solidified my passion for the ocean.”

As a newly crowned father of a 5-month-old, Simmons sees the urgency to preserve our environment more than ever. “It really put things into perspective, when my son, Malu, was born. And learning of the threats facing our planet, I want him to experience the things I have and his kids too. So this album is my manifesto to inspire people to give back to the things that give us so much.”

Editor’s Note: Give Pat’s work a listen at patsimmonsjr.com and patsimmonsjr.bandcamp.com. You can also find Pat on Instagram here.




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