Can I do it again?

This is a tad different than my thing with Steve Martin, since I never thought of Jimmy Buffett as some great, ground-breaking musician.  But I did count myself a Parrothead for a long time.  Back when I started going to his outdoor summer shows, he wasn’t terribly popular.  Only a portion of the parking lot would be filled with tailgate madness, and it was easy enough to show up on the day of the show and pick up lawn seat tickets for ten or twelve bucks.  (And back then, the lawn seats were as good as the stadium seats sound-wise, because once upon a time they built amphitheaters in unpopulated places.  We as a race have continued to reproduce way too damn much, so residential neighborhoods sprung up around the outdoor venues, so they have to keep the music down.  As far as I’m concerned, they shouldn’t be able to charge for lawn seats anymore since you can’t really hear to well.  And while I’m complaining, why would you move into a house near an amphitheater and then demand they turn down the music?  Would you move into a house next to Disneyland and demand they stop the rollercoasters?)  The tailgate party was always the best part, drinking too much beer, grilling cheeseburgers, and staring at ladies in coconut shell bikinis.  As time went by, the parking lots got full and the clientele morphed from average working stiffs letting off a little steam to drunken, aggressively angry frat boys demanding to see naked boobs in exchange for poorly put together Jello shots.  And I lost interest, I stopped going.

But Buffett didn’t seem to care.  The guy who created Margaritaville seemed to only care about generating more money, rather than what I initially took as a musical cult devoted to a peaceful, loving version of hedonism.  I’ve been told I was wrong from the get-go, and he has always been about making tons of money regardless, but even if that’s so, what was fun about his concerts has been lost as far as I can see.  Every one of the shows I saw in the last years that I went involved fights (both here in Southern California and back in Massachusetts where I was initialized into his Hawaiian shirt society.)  I was never in them, but I saw them happening all the time, angry drunk dudes who didn’t know how to hold their liquor looking for a way to get out whatever pathetic frustration they had over all those difficult collegiate trappings like “reading books.”  And all the titty flashing only seemed to fuel that angry aggression.  I mean, it must be tough knowing you can’t lick every single one of the boobs the drunk sorority girls are whipping out in a desperate attempt for attention.

It used to be brotherly and sisterly love.  I never saw any flashing when I was a kid (I mean, I like seeing boobs as much as the next boob-lover, but come on) and for me the bikini tops were plenty fun.  And their was conversation between Parrotheads, the sharing of drinks and food.  Now everyone comes there and opens up little stands trying to sell shit.  It isn’t escapist anymore.  It’s just commerce, even where the fans are concerned.

Still, all those wonderful high school and college memories still remain for me.  I still listen to his old music and can feel all right.  But it makes me sad that I can’t take a weekend out a year and go to the Parrothead extravaganza of yore.

I can’t decide.  Should I do the same for him I did for Steve Martin?  Should I forgive him for gobbling up endless supplies of money he doesn’t need and forgetting about the genuine roots of his fanbase?  Or should I stay sad and angry about it?

I don’t know.

I just don’t know.

Thinking of you, Todd

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