Disclaimer: If you’re stumbling onto my blog for the first time, then allow me to warn you: I am a Parrothead. I talk a lot (some might argue, too much) about Jimmy Buffett. Today is no different.
Two weeks ago today, this was me:
I won’t bother to post a comparison photo. Let’s just say I don’t look like I’m having anywhere near this much fun today. 😉
Two weeks ago today, Jimmy came to The Woodlands (a suburb just north of Houston). This was just another stop on his “Under the Big Top” tour, but it sure felt more special than ordinary.
The man’s a genius. I think I’ve said that before, but he is. He has made jillions of dollars selling an island lifestyle, rather, the idea of an island lifestyle that blue and white collar folks alike wish to emulate. This was my 7th Buffett show, and my first without my Parrothead bff Mandy. Mandy lives in Denver and was unavoidably detained by a nasty 4 letter word (work) and therefore, unable to join me. Mandy and I make an annual pilgramage to see our Papi, picking a unique city each time (Baton Rouge, New Orleans, New York, Houston, Las Vegas, Chicago), but with him being practically in my backyard, I couldn’t pass the opportunity. She and I have plans to make concert #7 (together) later this year in Mountain View, California. We usually couple these concerts with major league baseball games, but with this one coming after the season, a visit to the wine country will have to suffice instead. That is unless the Giants or the A’s wind up in the playoffs. I suppose anything could happen.
For this Houston show, I was joined by some local friends and my brother Anthony and his son Chase from Mississippi. I was elated (to say the least) to bring these 2 guys into the mix!
Chase will be 21 in a couple of weeks, and he spent the last year serving our country with the Mississippi National Guard in Iraq (have you thanked a soldier today?). He’s a “Buffett Virgin”, but he’s followed his Aunt Amanda’s Buffett-related antics for several years now. I was THRILLED when he im’d me from Iraq back in February and said “I hear Buffett’s coming to Houston. I’ll be home. I want in.”
Anthony’s a “Buffett Veteran”, having seen him back when he was playing venues like the Grove at Ole Miss and Mud Island in Memphis. I remember riding around in Anthony’s Ford Bronco when I was around 4 I guess (he’s 14 years my senior), and listening to Buffett. At each of the 6 shows I’d been to, somewhere during “Come Monday”, I call Anthony and scream into the phone “THANKS FOR INTRODUCING ME TO THE COOLEST GUY EVER! YOU’RE AN AMAZING BROTHER, AND I LOVE YOU!” (I was, afterall in margaritaville.) For show #7, it warmed my heart to be able to look him in the eyes and say those sweet words to my dear sweet brother. Awww…
To validate my fervent feelings about my Papi, I’ll turn to Ken Hoffman, a columnist for the Houston Chronicle. Ken went backstage for this show, and he wrote an amazing article that makes me want to be him–but just for the length of time of this one experience. I don’t think I’d make a good Jewish man from the northeast.
If you’re not going to follow the link to Hoffman’s article, atleast read these 2 vital nuggets:
About an hour before the show, Buffett, wearing baggy shorts, yellow T-shirt with the sleeves rolled up and shower flip-flops, hovered over a monitor checking out video from sound check. He noticed me and said, “Hey, Ken, it’s nice to see you again.”
Buffett is a businessman, politician and smart cookie. He remembers names of arena managers who book his shows and reporters who cover them.
He asked me, “Still writing?”
Yeah, still writing.
“So am I,” he laughed. “It’s still working, huh?”
I met Buffett a long time ago when he allowed me in the recording studio while he mixed a live album. Over lunch I did some investigative reporting, asking whether he was saying “medium rare with Muenster” or “medium rare with mustard” in Cheeseburger in Paradise.
I knew I was right! It has to be Muenster because there’s no other mention of cheese in the song. If he were singing “mustard,” the song would be Hamburger in Paradise. And certainly not one in paradise. Buffett has it about right. He likes his with Heinz 57, Muenster cheese, lettuce and tomato, an onion slice, french fried potatoes, and a “big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer.”
(Learn something new everyday, dontcha? )
Sisson [Coleman Sisson, Woodlands resident and general manager of Radio Margaritaville on Sirius radio and www.margaritaville.com.] met Buffett in 1990. Buffett was writing the novel Where Is Joe Merchant? on a laptop computer when his hard drive crashed. Two years of work down the drain. Panicked, he called the Compaq help desk.
“I was working at Compaq and got a note that Jimmy Buffett called. Everybody at work knew I was a big Parrothead.”
He said he lost 300 pages of his manuscript, and he had no backup and no copies. I told him to send the laptop to me, and I’d take a look. I found the manuscript.”
And he’s been working full-time for Buffett ever since.
(How cool is that?!?)
Now if only Jimmy would call me up for some PR work, my life would be complete. Until then, I’ll continue being a Parrothead, and I’ll leave you with some more pics from this trip to Margaritaville:
(p.s. the pic of the fuzzy license plate is a pic of MY license plate that is now my nephew’s license plate, mounted proudly on the front of his new Tahoe. That license plate is 14 years old, give or take, and was only removed from my vehicle when I moved to Texas. Darn Texas and their front license plates.)