The images we’ve seen in the past few weeks of the gulf coast oil spill are pretty damn depressing. Sea turtles struggling to traverse through the molasses mix, pelicans caked in black sludge, a growing cloud of oil spreading beneath the water’s surface – all reminders of the man-made disaster devastating the ocean’s eco-system. But never fear my friends. All is not lost…yes, that’s right: Jimmy Buffett will still open his beach front hotel Margaritaville in Pensacola, Florida, despite the oil spill! In his own God-like words, the king of the Parrotheads pronounced,” This will pass.” What a saint! While our government fails to stop the chaos, Jimmy is standing strong and saying, “These flip-flops don’t run.”
Nothing can stop Mr. Buffett and his money-making machine: not hurricanes, not a lost salt shaker, and certainly not a little oil spill. No, this flip-flop wearing apostle will continue soaking up money from his multitude of bird-brained minions like a sun-bather on the beach, come hell or high water. Whether it be his line of piss tasting beer Land Shark, his two restaurant chains CheeseBurger in Paradise and Margaritaville, or his no-brainer venture Margaritaville tequilla (and accessories), it is evident that Jimmy can’t get enough of the almighty dollar. So much for being a beach bum! (I left out his line of shoes, shrimp, and casinos).
No other man has made more money out of so little talent. His voice is mediocre at best and his songs are as basic as they come. I have a few friends who I suppose would consider themselves Parrotheads, a premise that gives me the full body douche-chills. My friend Sewer swears by Buffett’s tropical fare. This is the same high school buddy who introduced me to the punk music of Minor Threat, Operation Ivy, and The Descendents. He claims that you have go further into the Buffett catalog, but the deeper I’ve dived, the more castaway songs about pirates, sharks, and hula girls I’ve discovered. And the songs that aren’t about drinking and paradise are almost always poorly performed covers, whether it be “Brown Eyed Girl” or “Mexico”. Unfortunately, these two titanic failures are as close as Jimmy Buffett will ever get to the talent of Van Morrison and James Taylor.
But really, with Jimmy, it was never about the music. It all comes down to marketing. Jimmy figured out early on in his career that drinking alcohol is America’s real past time (although he does a cover of “Take Me Out To the Ballgame” just in case he was wrong). And where there are shot glasses, there is usually music. Taking a hint from Irish drinking songs of old, Jimmy crafted a musical legacy by writing primarily about getting drunk in paradise. Even the prudest of the prude will have a pina colada when on a beach vacation, and Jimmy banks on this, literally. As a result, when all these midwestern rubes in their tropical attire return home and want to rekindle some of those inebriated memories, they throw “Margaritaville” in the CD player and pour a LandShark beer down their gullet.
Other than KISS, I can’t think of another artist (I use that term loosely) that has whored out his songs as a means of making money outside the world of music. You will never see a “Ziggy Star-Dust-Devil”, an “Evenflow Laxative”, or a “Tangled Up and Blue Vasectomy Clinic” simply because most musicians respect their craft and their songs as not a mass-marketing tool, but simply as a creation to be left alone and enjoyed. Jimmy Buffett doesn’t get this, and I don’t think he cares. He may be showing his compassion through his commitment to the coast in these hard times, but don’t be surprised if someday his hotel restaurant starts serving a molasses glazed turtle (the candy) as a dessert dish.
Jimmy Buffett hates Oil Spills and AIDS: