Jimmy Buffett talks about the Margaritaville Brand and Footwear

From Footwear News: “How to Build a Multibillion-Dollar Brand, According to Jimmy Buffett

You won’t find Margaritaville on any map, but it is taking over the globe.

A little over 40 years ago, singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett released his hit album “Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Latitudes,” featuring a catchy tune about wasting away in a tropical locale. In the ensuing decades, the pop song has been transformed into a roughly $2.5 billion licensing and hospitality operation.

Margaritaville Holdings encompasses everything from restaurants and hotels to apparel and shoes. Here in New York, it debuted a Broadway musical in January — “Escape to Margaritaville” — and a Times Square hotel is in the works for 2020.

Buffett is deeply invested in all these endeavors. When FN visited him in the green room at the show in April, Buffett was peering out the window watching the lines outside. And he made a point of mentioning that the cast wears his Margaritaville footwear onstage.

For fall ’18, the company is further boosting its shoe selection with a new label called Island Reserve. It will be a higher-end complement to the Margaritaville collection, which is stocked at major chains such as Famous Footwear and DSW, and sells for under $60.

How would you describe the Jimmy Buffett brand?
“It’s authentic because I lived this way for a long time. I went where it was cold to work when I had
to, but I would prefer to stay where it’s warm. And when I found Key West, I had a job singing in bars and working on fishing boats. And at that time, I thought it was pretty cool to do that.”

Have you enjoyed being in the theater business?
“It’s been a wonderful experience with a joyous cast. When I first started my band, we wanted to take people to a place where they could forget about stuff, and it’s the same thing with ‘Escape to Margaritaville.’ But there are some fun-police in New York that think we don’t belong there, but we’re doing just fine. People love the show. They go there and have a great time, and so to hell with The New York Times.”

What do you hope your legacy will be?
“I like to think I’ve made the world a little happier than it was before I got here. I’m not looking for awards and personal gain more than what I’ve already got. There’s an old French saying, ‘noblesse oblige,’ which means if you’re lucky enough to have this, then you help other people get there. I want to teach and I want to help kids who need financial aid getting into school – education is the thing that gets you places.

Buffett’s Support Helps St. Barts

From the New York Times: “Jimmy Buffett’s Support Helps St. Barts Move Forward

It has been 40 years since Jimmy Buffett traveled on a whim to the French island often known as St. Barts.

He liked what he saw then from the deck of his sailboat, and he has continued to return: surfing off its beaches, writing books and songs and celebrating many a holiday, including Christmas, which is his birthday.

He is 71 now, as much business mogul as entertainer, branding Margaritaville to sell everything from pool floats to retirement homes.

But he has also used his clout and voice to support St. Barts after Hurricane Irma, sending private planes to help ferry supplies in the early days after the storm and giving a benefit concert in the port of Gustavia in December. He is one of the ambassadors for Les Voiles de Saint Barth, the annual sailing regatta that will take place this month despite the challenges posed by the island’s recovery efforts.

He is in the process of building his latest home on the island and plans to race aboard a friend’s yacht during the regatta. He did this interview from his boat in the Bahamas. It has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Why was it important to you to be involved in this race?

I think anything we can do to make it known that St. Barts is on the way back is good, and as my friend said, “I guess your house will be ready just in time for the next storm.”

And I was going, “Please God, don’t let it be a big one.”

I think there’s a little bit of that apprehension in everybody there who went through Irma but you’ve got to keep moving on forward, breathe in and breathe out and move on. That’s kind of the way I think about it.

Read the full article

Les Voiles de Saint Barth – April 8th – 14th, 2018

Hollywood Reporter interview with Buffett and Frank Marshall

From the Hollywood Reporter: “Producer Frank Marshall Talks Helping to Bring Jimmy Buffett’s ‘Margaritaville’ to Broadway

“I like to put him in a movie once in a while,” says Frank Marshall of Jimmy Buffett, who has uncredited cameos in both Jurassic World movies, including June’s Fallen Kingdom. “And he puts me onstage once in a while at his concerts. But we’ve never put our heads together and created something from scratch until now.” What the longtime pals, both 71, have created is Escape to Margaritaville, a musical centered on Buffett’s oeuvre — and the beach-bum lifestyle he trademarked (literally, with his empire of restaurants, products, even retirement communities) — that starts Broadway previews Feb. 16. Not only did their friendship survive the five-year journey to create the show, but “we had a blast doing it,” says Marshall.

The two met 38 years ago at Harrison Ford’s New Year’s Eve party in Aspen, Colorado, where Buffett was performing. They bonded over sailing, sports and guitars. “Frank is a student of the guitar,” says Buffett. “He can play ‘Margaritaville’ pretty well. So if I go down …”

“I’m kinda like the stand-in?” Marshall says.

“Well,” says Buffett, “for that song. The rest of ’em … no.”

“Who ever knew there was going to be a real Margaritaville?” Buffett says, eying a couple of wayward beach balls rolling around the Marquis mezzanine. “I didn’t write the song ever thinking it was gonna be a place you would live.”

Buffett is also blocking out the noise. “I’ve never won a Grammy. I’m not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” says the five-decade rock fixture, who Forbes estimates is worth $550 million. Still one of the industry’s top concert draws, it took him 30 years to land his first and only No. 1 album (2004’s License to Chill). He’d love to see his show recognized at the Tony Awards, “but it’s not what I’m out here to do,” he says with a grin. “We’re just a hard-workin’ band. It was always more important to us to have a loyal fan base. It all goes back to: We’re making a show that’s fun — and God knows we need a little fun in the world today.”

Jimmy Buffett interview in the New York Times

The New York Times has an article and interview with Buffett: “Jimmy Buffett Does Not Live the Jimmy Buffett Lifestyle

Mr. Buffett hasn’t stopped touring in his nearly half-century as a performer, but it had been a long time since he did a last-minute set at a bar. He had to get on a stage with a pickup band like in the old days and really get back into the original iteration of Jimmy Buffett.

That night, he went to the original Margaritaville bar in Key West, which he opened in the mid-1980s, unannounced, and played a three-and-a-half-hour set. He told stories between songs. He kept the audience active. It felt good to be back there, remembering who he once was.

Because that, in a coconut shell, was the problem. Jimmy Buffett is not really Jimmy Buffett anymore. He hasn’t been for a while. Jimmy Buffett — the nibbling on sponge cake, watching the sun bake, getting drunk and screwing, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere Jimmy Buffett — has been replaced with a well-preserved businessman who is leveraging the Jimmy Buffett of yore in order to keep the Jimmy Buffett of now in the manner to which the old Jimmy Buffett never dreamed he could become accustomed. And therein lies the Margaritaville® Mesquite BBQ Rub: The more successful you become at selling the Jimmy Buffett lifestyle, the less you are seen as believably living the Jimmy Buffett lifestyle.

Mr. Buffett and I both saw “Escape to Margaritaville” in New Orleans on Oct. 28, which is a day that fans have long since designated as Parrothead Day, though Mr. Buffett doesn’t know why. In the audience, fans wore feathers on their heads. When they sang along, it was in a unified hum, reminding Mr. Buffett of the recitation of prayers in church during his altar boy days.

After the show, there had been a big party where Mr. Buffett D.J.’ed alongside the movie producer Frank Marshall, who is his friend and one of the show’s creators. He had a tequila on the rocks and “a lot of water.” He’s 71, a married father of three adult children. He only occasionally drinks margaritas these days. “I don’t do sugar anymore,” he said. “No sugar and no carbs. Except on Sunday.” He doesn’t smoke pot anymore, either. Now he vapes oils, only sometimes after work.

A FEW WEEKS before the Broadway debut of “Escape to Margaritaville,” Mr. Buffett had breakfast at the Mandarin Oriental, next to his apartment at the Time Warner Center, where he stays when he’s in town. Once, a long time ago, he left Key West because it had become too commercialized. Now he lives at the mall.

Read the full article and interview at NYTimes.com

Jimmy Buffett’s favorite Gulf Coast Bars

An article in June/July issue of Garden & Gun magazine lists Buffett’s favorite Gulf Coast Bars: “Why We Love the Gulf – Jimmy Buffett Drinks Here” (by Elizabeth Hutchison)

The son of a son of a Mississippi sailor, Jimmy Buffett got his start bouncing around Biloxi dive bars and New Orleans drinking dens before finding fame in Key West. “Culturally and historically, the Gulf is a unique stretch of water and land,” he says. “It always feels like home.” We asked the sun-
tanned troubadour to revisit his roots via his favorite coastal watering holes. “A place where you can have a cold beer and look out at the water,” he advises, “is the essence of throttling down.”

The list includes:
1) Bluegill – Spanish Fort, Alabama
2) Island Hotel – Cedar Key, Florida
3) Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar – New Orleans, Louisiana
4) LuLu’s at Homeport Marina – Gulf Shores, Alabama
5) Scranton’s – Pascagoula, Mississippi
6) Trapani’s Eatery – Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Talking surf with Jimmy Buffett

From the San Diego Union Tribune: “Talking surf (and Tourmaline) with Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett is a stand-up guy. Half the time, anyway. The massively popular singer-songwriter and Parrothead-in-chief has been in and out of San Diego of late, helping shepherd the La Jolla Playhouse world premiere of “Escape to Margaritaville,” a Broadway-bound musical built around his songs.

Now, if you’re a longtime surfer (as the 70-year-old Buffett is) who’s looking to try riding waves on a stand-up board (as Buffett was a decade ago), you might think about getting a board designed by the world-class waterman Laird Hamilton, who essentially launched the modern SUP phenomenon.

If you’re the actual Jimmy Buffett, you go ahead and buy the Laird board — and then have Hamilton himself teach you how to use it.

That was among the things I learned over the course of a long phone interview with Buffett, which was mostly devoted to “Margaritaville” but also detoured (happily) into a chat about his surfing and SUP exploits.

Q: Are you a full-time SUP guy now, or do you still do both?

A: I still do, because I think they both complement each other. I’ve probably been doing (SUP surfing) for 10 years, because it was the new new thing, and I surf mainly in the summer up in Montauk on the East Coast. There was like a Laird Hamilton 12-footer, so I bought one and I had no clue what to do with it.

You go out in the water and you watch the kids do it. And the first thing they told me was, get your balance on a lake and then go out. Long story short, I went out to a wedding in Malibu and ran into Laird, and so Laird actually taught me how to ride the board. And then I was hooked.

We just got back from Tavarua, which was amazing. I’m gonna have to scratch that off my bucket list. So I did regular surfing one day, and stand-up the other. We were doing two sessions a day. I think stand-up really helps your regular surfing, because you’re up (on your feet) so much — that’s the thing about it. I think your balance and your ability to be on the board and be comfortable on a regular board is accentuated by the amount of time you spend standing up on a stand-up board.

The thing of it is now, too, is that they have such great boards, Jim, that they didn’t have in the beginning. I’m riding a Naish, a 9-footer, but it’s 32 inches on the beam. And it’s a quad (fin). So you really can get into things so much faster. It’s not like before, where it was like having a tugboat on a leash.

I’ll tell you what, it keeps you in shape. But when we got to Tavarua down there, that was like a dream come true. I really caught a couple of great days out at Namotu. I know my limits now, but every now and then you’ve got that kid in you who wants to go. So it was amazing down there to get in overhead waves that just went and went and went. As fast as could be.

After a week of it, I went down to Australia to do some shows, and kept surfing down there, and then back to Hawaii. But I know that after that experience, to spend that much time on ’em, I can do bigger waves more comfortably, and feel comfortable on ’em. But I still get on my belly and paddle. I do both — it’s great!

Parrot Heads Documentary coming January 2017

A new documentary about Parrot Heads answers the questions on how they got started, what they do, and where their fins go will be released on January 3rd, 2017.

A trailer for the movie is now available along with pre-order on iTunes.
Directed by lifelong Parrot Head Bryce Wagoner, it is the story of the rise of the most dedicated fans in music and the present day world that they’ve created. Partying with a purpose, original genre music, and Scott Nickerson, the man (other than Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers) that brought them all together into one fantastic phlock. Featuring never before interviews with Jimmy Buffett, this feature length documentary is the first film under his Mailboat Records and distributed by Gravitas Ventures! More details on Facebook.

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