John “Swami” Reis caught the local music scene by surprise on Saturday, announcing that he’s done with Swami Sound System, his weekly show on FM 94/9.
“I'm doing my last SWaMiSounDsYStem on fm949 tonight,” he said in a brief message on Facebook shortly before the show started. "[H]uge thanks to goes out to all the turbaned devotees for lending a kinky ear. [I]t was an awesome 7 years of ear bashing!"
It’s unclear why he's ending the show. Reis did not respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment. Garett Michaels, the alt-rock station’s program director, said he was not warned about the announcement and hasn’t decided how to fill the empty time slot.
"John’s a good character, and he’s a class act, and he put on a great final show, but he decided that he did not want to give any advance warning," he says. "A lot of the greats go out that way.”
The show isn’t necessarily over yet, Michaels says. He’s meeting with Reis this week and hopes to convince him to continue doing the show after taking some time off.
"We spoke early on Sunday morning," he says. "It was one of those things where the door felt like it was still open."
But Michaels acknowledges that the legendary local rocker has a busy schedule. Reis co-owns Bar Pink, plays in The Night Marchers and recently reunited the legendary indie-rock band Hot Snakes.
“I get it. There’s a lot of demands,” he says. “I could see how he’d want his Saturday nights back.”
Known for his mythic monologues and obscure tastes, Reis has gained a reputation as one of the city's most cutting-edge radio-show hosts. Musicians and music fans alike admire the man called Swami. After Reis made his announcement, many of his fans left comments mourning the end of the show. Some left notes like "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" Others wondered what would become of their Saturday nights. Still others said his show was the only reason they listened to the radio.
"I am going to sorely miss my earballs being assaulted by your bombastic arsenal of punkness," Bryan Blake wrote. "Maybe... you could post what you're listening to from time to time? I know that I am adding several groups to my Pandora from what you were playing on 94/9."
But some commenters also hoped that this means Reis will spend more time making music. As Ben Reed put it:
"[T]his means you're taking time out to write more songs right??!"