Buffett talks about his new album in USA Today interview

From USA Today: Jimmy Buffett talks releasing a new album during a pandemic and why he stopped drinking margaritas

True to character, Jimmy Buffett’s quarantine has consisted of playing guitar, practicing French and spending time out on the water with his family in southern California.

But one thing it does not include is margaritas. In 2018, the beach bum icon sent shock waves through Margaritaville when he revealed he no longer imbibes his signature drink. Instead, he prefers straight tequila on the rocks, and typically only on weekends.

“Margaritas have gotten very sweet. I like real lime juice; I don’t like a lot of sugar,” Buffett tells USA TODAY. “The other day I was watching ‘Queer Eye’ and they were doing a makeover, and the guy had what he called a Redneck Margarita, which was just bad tequila and Mountain Dew. And I went, ‘That’s way too far, I’d never do that.’ But good tequila and a lime, yes.”

Regardless of what’s under his cocktail umbrella, Buffett is the same master storyteller we’ve known for five decades on new album “Life on the Flip Side,” out Friday, his first album since 2013’s “Songs from St. Somewhere.”

The music is a return to the “Key West phase” of Buffett’s early ’70s albums, which spawned hits including “Come Monday” and “Grapefruit – Juicy Fruit,” and featured playful lyrics about finding love in paradise, years before cheeseburgers hit the menu. The album’s 14 songs cover expected Buffett terrain – lazy beach days (“Who Gets to Live Like This”) and wine-soaked nights (“Half Drunk”) – but also hit on more poignant subjects that resonate differently during a global pandemic.

“Live Like It’s Your Last Day,” for instance, was inspired by the singer’s past experiences with a 1994 plane crash and 2011 stage fall.

“I’ve had a couple close calls and I’m still here, so I think I’ve been living like it could be my last day for a long time,” says Buffett, 73. “I would just write out of personal experience, and all of a sudden, along comes a pandemic and a lot of other people can (relate). But that’s what songs are for, and I think that’ll happen with some of these songs.”

Buffett recorded the album earlier this year in Key West, Florida, with his Coral Reefer Band, to coincide with a sprawling U.S. tour this spring and summer. The dates were soon postponed due to coronavirus concerns, and his team considered delaying the album’s release as well.

“Jimmy, however, was the first to shut down that thinking,” says Mac McAnally, Buffett’s longtime co-writer and bandmate. “Since we can’t be there in person in this pandemic, he wants to be there to lift spirits any other way possible. Jimmy’s been making folks smile for several decades and continuing that tradition is much more important than maximizing any marketing plan. That’s one of the things I like most about him and our whole organization: We’re like a traveling circus with guitars.”

In lieu of live shows, Buffett has embarked on a so-called “virtual tour”: rebroadcasting archived concerts on his website and SiriusXM radio station every Wednesday and Saturday night. His devoted fans – collectively known as Parrotheads – often share pictures of themselves on social media “tailgating” in their living rooms and backyards, wearing bathing suits and flower leis as they drink and dance along.

“In the middle of dealing with tragedy, you have to have a little bit of fun and that’s really apparent in the people who are loyal fans of ours,” Buffett says. “We’ve always had the ability as Americans to solve problems. I’m not very keen on any of the political situations happening with it, but I believe in the intelligence of some of the people out there with the funds and wherewithal to get through this.”

As for Trump’s handling of the pandemic, “Let’s just say I knew him in Florida and he hasn’t changed since then,” Buffett adds.

And although the future of live music seems grim – with experts predicting concerts and festivals won’t return until next year – the music mogul says he has no problem playing to much smaller crowds in order to keep fans safe. He points to a 2014 show he performed at a drive-in theater in Fort Worth, Texas, long before that became a socially distant trend.

At the start of the pandemic, “people asked me, ‘Would you really go out and play to 10 or 20 people?’ And I said, ‘I’ve played bars where nobody showed up but the bartenders and waitresses,’ ” Buffett says. “If you’re not a performer who really loves what you do, then you don’t understand that it doesn’t matter if two people or 2,000 people are listening. They’re going to get the same show.”

Review: Jimmy Buffett brings sunshine into our darkness

From ABCNews.com: Jimmy Buffett’s first studio record in seven years arrives as the nation reels from a pandemic

Jimmy Buffett’s first studio record in seven years arrives with equal parts seduction and absurdity.

Coming just as we crave a margarita in a mason jar, sand in our toes and the salty wind of the ocean, Buffett’s beach bum life — often mocked — has never been so aspirational. What we wouldn’t do right now to join a goofy conga line.

The 14-track “Life on the Flip Side” is no departure from what Parrotheads have come to expect — that special Gulf Coast mix of country, pop, folk and rock, topped by Buffett’s swaying voice. Few can mix steelpans, trombones and pedal steel guitar so effortlessly.

Though the songs were written before the global pandemic, the album nods to our viral troubles. Buffett writes that he’d like them to be the soundtrack as we claw our way to normalcy. Think of it as the flip side of COVID-19.

“Hopefully, the songs we wrote and recorded, will also help folks deal with the fallout,” he writes in the liner notes. “There will be a time and a place when we emerge from these troubled waters and things will change for the better.”

Buffett’s incredible ear for hooks and light grooves are often overshadowed by his lyrics about fish tacos and sunsets, but don’t underestimate his song skills. Many of these tunes are destined to be played two generations from now at sandy beach-side snack bars. Will we be wearing masks still?

Produced by two members of his longtime backing band, Michael Utley and Mac McAnally, Buffett is also clearly having fun on the new album, including the jokey ditty “Cussin’ Island” where he rhymes “hypocrite” with “Messerschmitt.”

He salutes the folk who take the time to look around in “The Slow Lane” and mourns that so much of his surfing is on a website (“Hey, That’s My Wave”). He seamlessly mixes salsa and mambo for “15 Cuban Minutes” and gets jazzy in “Half Drunk.” The only song on the album that doesn’t quite fit in Margaritaville is his cover of Paul Brady’s “The World Is What You Make It,” which wanders too far lyrically and musically from the rest.

Toward the end of the album, Buffett treads carefully into Tropical House with the superb “Live, Like It’s Your Last Day,” which has lyrics seemingly perfect for this pandemic. “Live like it’s your last day/Time just keeps slippin’ away.” You’ll sing along with Buffett — and wish.

Update on Jimmy Buffett’s 2020 Slack Tide Tour

Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band are rescheduling the following concerts on the Slack Tide Tour 2020 to 2021:

North Charleston Coliseum – N. Charleston SC – April 15, 2021
Coastal Credit Union Music Park – Raleigh NC – April 17, 2021
Colonial Life Arena – Columbia SC – April 22, 2021
PNC Music Pavilion – Charlotte NC – April 24, 2021
Ascend Amphitheater – Nashville TN – May 18, 2021
Ruoff Music Center – Indianapolis, IN – July 10, 2021
Riverbend Music Center – Cincinnati, OH – July 13, 2021
S&T Bank Music Park – Burgettstown, PA – July 15, 2021
Jiffy Lube Live – Bristow, VA – August 7, 2021
Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater – Wantagh, NY – August 10, 2021
BB&T Pavilion – Camden, NJ – August 12, 2021
Xfinity Center – Boston, MA – August 14, 2021
Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO – September 7 & 9, 2021*

Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band are unfortunately unable to reschedule the following dates, so they will no longer be happening:

United Center – Chicago, IL – July 18, 2020
Shoreline Amphitheatre – Mountain View, CA – September 5, 2020
Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, OK – October 15, 2020

As always, we appreciate your understanding. Fans with tickets to the rescheduled dates are encouraged to hold on to your tickets, as they will be honored at the rescheduled dates in the 2021.

If you are a ticket holder and cannot make the new date or your show has been cancelled, you will be contacted directly via email with refund options for your show. For more details, please visit www.livenation.com/refund. *For more details for Red Rocks Amphitheatre please visit www.support.AXS.com.

Buffett joins “The View” to share a Mother’s Day surprise

From ABC.com: Deserving mothers on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak received the surprise of a lifetime for Mother’s Day this year.

These mothers working the frontlines at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx experience firsthand how demanding life has become in the fight against COVID-19.

Eva Calo, a head nurse at Lincoln Hospital, said on “The View” that she hasn’t had time to process the death of her mother-in-law, who passed away at her hospital because there were so many other patients that needed care.

Elsie Lecour, whose been the senior client navigator at Lincoln Memorial for 17 years, has gone above and beyond to be the liaison between patients and their families during the coronavirus crisis.

“Working in the emergency room when the coronavirus started, we had a lot of family members bringing in the patients and a lot of them were concerned because they didn’t have their phones,” Lecour said. “So we provided them with the access to communicate.”

Calo and Lecour are apart of the 150 working mothers at Lincoln Hospital who were surprised by singer Jimmy Buffett to reveal an early Mother’s Day gift.

“On behalf of Margaritaville and friends and partners at Karisma Hotels & Resorts, 150 of you hard-working moms at the Lincoln Hospital are gonna get a first-rate dream vacation from Margaritaville when all this is over,” Buffett said on “The View” Friday.

Once travel restrictions are lifted, these moms and their families will receive a four-night, five-day vacation that includes luxury accommodations.

Karisma Hotels & Resorts is donating 150 more vacations to those on the frontlines and their families.