Posted by: kubiakl | July 8, 2009


It would seem that United Airlines doesn’t care too much about guitars.  Dave Carroll had to find that out the hard way.  Last spring, his band (the Sons of Maxwell) flew United Airlines from Halifax to Omaha through Chicago for a tour.  During the first stop, while waiting to disembark, a woman near them on the plane yelled “My God, they’re throwing guitars out there!”

Dave looked out the window in time to see his bass player’s instrument flying across the tarmac.  His own Taylor 710 had already taken its turn as a projectile.  I don’t have pictures of the event, but this is what I imagine it looked like:

Artist's Rendering

Artist's Rendering

(That’s what three minutes in Microsoft Paint gets you)

In trying to stop the baggage handlers from further abusing his guitar he ended up being stonewalled by the flight attendants.  One even said “But hon, that’s why we make you sign the waiver.”  (Does that mean that when a parent signs a waiver for their child, they shouldn’t get upset when the child’s neck is snapped?)  After finally being told to take the matter up with the ground crew in Omaha, he got (wait for it)… stonewalled again!  The runaround culminated in being told that United would not compensate him for his loss.

Now let’s be honest – most of us have damaged instruments.  Either through our own stupidity (my Strat) or weird accidents (Washburn) guitars can get banged around.  But it’s completely different when someone who is paid to handle baggage is mishandling yours.  I don’t care if it’s a $100 Squier or a $4,000 Martin – if you play it, you have history with it.  And unless you’re an idiot who thinks smashing a guitar magically makes you Pete Townsend, you don’t want to see it busted.

Most of us would (rightfully) be upset and promise never to fly United again.  Dave decided to be creative and produce three songs about the incident.  Here’s the video for the first one, “United Breaks Guitars”:

Dave, here’s hoping that you never have to go through that heartbreak again.  My hat is off to you amigo.



  1. The true story behind the video made me cringe for every musician out there, but between the video and your expert drawing skills-funniest blog to date!

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