Pageonelit.com: Let's talk about
Parrot Heads. What was the beginning?
Jimmy Buffett: It actually started
in Cincinatti, OH with the audience. It was audience generated.
They started wearing outlandish Hawaiian shirts and costumes
and so they started decorating themselves. I wish I could take
credit for it, but it was an audience thing. So it started in
Ohio and sort of just picked up. And now, you dress if you go.
They looked like Deadheads with a little better wardrobe so that's
how the name sort of originated.
Pageonelit.com:You've written books,
you've got restaurants, you've got a clothing line, and you've
done Broadway. Where do you find the time and do you have a preference
in all this?
Jimmy Buffett: Well, I sort of pace
it. I actually have found some kind of unique way to balance
the time. Moderation is the key so I work certain amout of time
and then I take a certain amount of time off. I still consider
it a summer job, though. So, I try to maintain that summer job
as long as I can. But it's exciting to be able to have the opportunity
to do things I always dreamed of as a kid. First of all, to make
it successfully as a performer and then to branch out into other
areas that always interested and challenged me. it's all about
learning how to be a good performer and entertainer sort of created
an audience, and the audience created a demand for other things.
The stores and the things like that, the business side of things
came out at the point when, I'd say probably in the early '70s,
it looked like the year of the singer-songwriter was over, 'cause
music changed in our time and the spotlight was out. You know,
I saw people dropping off of record labels like flies. Bonnie
Raitt, Van Morrison, I figured I was next. So, I said, well hell,
to cash in on something, which is only my good name-and we went
into the merchandising business because people wanted it. And
from there it just developed into stores. You know, I figured
in those days really making it would be owning your own club.
That's what the musical was all about. To write
with somebody on the caliber of Herman Wouk in itself is an experience
and an honor. And, we spent 3 years quietly working on the Broadway
project. It was an assignment which was new for me. Herman sends
me material and then I had a character for which to write, from
the book "Don't Stop the Carnival" which it
was based on. So, that's definitely different, and in terms of
volume, it's twice as much as I've ever put into an album.
Pageonelit.com: And what do you credit
to your success?
Jimmy Buffett: Luck. And I try to
give the best bang for the buck. I love performing more than
Pageonelit.com: I read that you wrote
Barometer Soup at the public library in Key West. Is that
true? And was Carl Hiaasen singing in the background on The
Ballad of Skip Wiley?
Jimmy Buffett: Yes, Barometer
was written in Key West and I did spend many hours at the
library there. Every song on that album has a literary connection.
As for Carl signing? He was clapping.
Pageonelit.com:I love the album Barometer
Soup. Where'd you get the name?
Jimmy Buffett: Mark Twain. If you're
gonna borrow, borrow from the best. Actually Herman Wouk had
told me about a story and it just was a great metaphor. You know,
as a writer, I'm more of a listener than a writer, cuz if I hear
something I will write it down. And that was such a great metaphor
and it sort of summarized where I've sort of been. I'm a big
follower and reactor to weather. So, this thing sourt of hinged
on that whole title.
Pageonelit.com: Are the book and
short stories you have written a logical extension from songwriting
or is that a whole other process for you?
Jimmy Buffett: Well, it's a logical
extension but it's what I wanted to do first. I, fortunately,
had a 20 year music career that got in the way. I wanted to start
out being a writer, 'cause when I first came to New Orleans it
was a writers' haven, there were great writers-Walker Percy,
Tennessee Williams, people that I'd read. And when I lived there
I stared reading the things that were effected by their being
there. And I wound up in New Orleans for all those years and
it was a great place, really a catalyst creatively. Places I've
lived since then had to have some kind of uniqueness and character
about them. And logically Key West, and then Down Island. So,
all of that stuff sort of had it's roots in New Orleans and went
Pageonelit.com:Do you have more novels in you?
Jimmy Buffett: I might. But I'm not
forcing them out. When they come they come. I think
more short stories now. You know, you just have to do what you're
going to do, and I'm just going to see what happens. When I was
doing the books I went to New Orleans and spent a lot of time
just holed up and let it flow, and it really works. And you find
as a writer there are certain spots on the planet where you write
better than others, and I believe in that. And New Orleans is
one of them.
Pageonelit.com:What do your fans
say about your literary career?
Jimmy Buffett: The fun is finding
people that don't know I sing but like my books. I've been doing
music long enough that you'd think people might know I do this
for a living
Pageonelit.com:I heard you once say
that pirates were your heroes. What do you mean by that?
Jimmy Buffett: Oh, yeah, when everybody
else was studying generals and American war heroes, Jean Lafitte
was my hero. I remember when I was a kid I had a plastic model.
Everybody else was building battleships, I was building the Black
Falcon, which was Lafitte's ship. And he, of course, was heavily
entwined with the early history of New Orleans. I guess he was
my pirate hero and still is in a way.
Pageonelit.com:What do you do for
Jimmy Buffett: Exchange good books
Pageonelit.com: Who are some of the
young stars on the music scene you like today?
Jimmy Buffett: Phish and Dave Matthews
really know their audiences and really treat them well. There's
something missing in the music industry today . . . and it's
music. Songs you hear don't last, it's just product fed to you
by the industry. Some people
get that #1 hit and they're off, but the quickest way up is also
the quickest way down.