Jimmy Buffett Speaks Out and Stands Up for His Gulf Home and Our Heritage

Truly successful and socially conscious musicians create and perform great music — not just to do well (make money) but to also do good (help the world)Jimmy Buffett has consistently displayed a strong and deep connection to and conviction for the oceans and the Gulf coast.  This ethic is conveyed to his fans in a credible and creative manner. Sunday (July 11, 2010 @ 7:00 EST) Jimmy’s rescheduled Gulf benefit concert will be carried live on CMT.  He recently gave a wonderful interview with Anderson Cooper of CNN (watch it here.)  He also has opened up his long-planned hotel in Pensacola, Florida. Read about his sister’s successful restaurant (LuLu’s) and the surprise show he plays.  Also included are some of his most relevant lyrics and quotes.

Click Below to read these and other stories.

Buffett hopes to boost Gulf spirits with concert
By Jay Reeves, Associated Press Writer

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — Singer Jimmy Buffett is just another mad Gulf Coast native when it comes to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but with an exception: He’s got millions of fans and a way to help lift spirits over the seemingly endless crisis.

Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band will play Sunday on the beach in Gulf Shores, Ala., which has been sporadically hit by oil for weeks. The show already has been postponed once because of Hurricane Alex, and Buffett is hoping bad weather lurking in the Gulf doesn’t create problems this weekend.

Known for laid-back tunes like Margaritaville and Cheeseburger in Paradise, Buffett told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that it’s perfectly normal for people to be mad when they see oil washing up on beaches and marshes.

“If you’re born and raised on the Gulf Coast and it’s kind of in you, and you don’t feel anger and rage initially over what’s going on down there, I think you’re a hypocrite,” he said in a telephone interview from New York. “That’s the way I felt. Now, what you do with that is a big question.”

Buffett said a beachfront concert seemed like the right thing to do after talking to people on the coast. “People were going, ‘What are you going to do about things?’ I mean, hell, I can’t stick my finger in that hole. Everybody wishes they could,” said Buffett.

“But there’s a huge amount of frustration and probably it will boil over in summertime anger, and I know what I’ve done for years is entertain. What I’m best at is two hours of escapism for people that have to go back and either live jobs that they don’t like or whatever,” he said. “It’s that Mardi Gras mentality.”

Born in Mississippi and raised in Alabama, Buffett has lived all over the Gulf Coast. He said memories of the region are laced through his music.  “I have pretty much surrounded myself with Gulf Coast influences for a long time, and … if you listen to those songs, I think it’s pretty much in there,” said Buffett, 63.

Buffett, a supporter of President Barack Obama, said the roots of the spill lie with the administration of former President George Bush, which was often criticized for being too cozy with the petroleum industry.  “To me it was more about eight years of bad policy before (Obama) got there that let this happen. It was Dracula running the blood bank in terms of oil and leases,” he said. “I think that has more to do with it than how the president reacted to it.”

Margaritaville will survive – July 1, 2010
Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN

Jimmy Buffett was out walking on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama when we arrived for the interview.  “This is the beach of my misspent youth,” he said, as we began to stroll along the water’s edge.  A few kids played in the water, but the rough surf created by Hurricane Alex kept them from swimming. A thin line of tar balls had been left on the beach by the morning tide.

“You’re not human if anger isn’t the first emotion,” says Buffett, who has long been involved in environmental causes.  Buffett’s benefit concert in Gulf Shores, Alabama has been postponed until July 11, but he came here anyway and played at his sister’s restaurant last night. He’s trying to encourage people to come visit the Gulf.

“Can Margaritaville survive an oil slick?” I ask. “Sure, hell, we’ll survive,” he says quickly, “people on this coast can survive anything. I mean, it’s another storm, it happens to be one we’re not quite used to in terms of what it’s leaving behind, but you know, this is hurricane country and people bounce back, and I love the resilience of people.”

Buffett himself has just opened up a hotel in Pensacola Beach, not great timing he admits, but he is not surprised this spill has lasted so long. He says he didn’t believe the early estimates put out by BP about the oil flow.  “You know what,” he says, “I’ve been in show business a long time, I know liars when I hear them. I thought they were lying from the beginning. That’s just me personally.”

Jimmy expresses his frustration with “people in the extraction business”, as protection of the Gulf is clearly not their primary concern.  When Cooper asks Buffett how he feels about the sight of tarballs littering the beaches he grew up on, he exclaims, “It’s depressing as hell!” Jimmy also talks about the unforeseen long-term effects of the chemical dispersants being used on the spill, and about the incredible resilience of the Gulf population to withstand any crisis thrown their way.

In the following clip from CNN, Gulf coast resident and business owner Jimmy Buffett talks to Anderson Cooper about his reaction to the BP oil spill


Jimmy Buffett concert Resceduled for July 11 because of Tropical Storm Alex – Monday, June 28, 2010

GULF SHORES, Ala. — The highly anticipated Jimmy Buffett concert has been postponed until Sunday, July 11, because of concerns about Tropical Storm Alex.   Concert organizers are worried that the storm surge could send water up the beach and under the staging, undermining the stage’s stability.

The free concert will still be simulcast on the CMT network at 7 pm, featuring native son Buffett and a cast of friends and special guests. The show was an attempt to boost tourism and spirits in light of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  …

Some 35,000 tickets were made available for the show and were gone minutes after they became available online. Others were given to real estate companies to be offered as incentives for people to book rooms and bring tourism dollars to Baldwin County’s beaches.

City officials said Monday afternoon that all ticketholders should hang on to their tickets and that the tickets that were issued will be the tickets used for the July 11 show.

The sudden change in plans is likely to throw local rental agencies for a loop as they were selling weekend packages for people to stay and see the show. With no concert and people likely to back out, there’s precious little time to rebook rooms before the Fourth of July weekend.

Jimmy Buffett performs surprise concert in Gulf Shores, drawing over 2,000 people – Wednesday, June 30, 2010

GULF SHORES, Ala. — At about 6:30 p.m. Lucy Buffett delivered some bad news: Bluesman Sonny Landreth, who was supposed to play at her waterfront restaurant, Lulu’s at Homeport Marina, had to cancel his scheduled show. But, working a family connection, she had procured a substitute performer: her brother and south Alabama favorite son Jimmy Buffett.

Buffet and his seven-piece Coral Reefer Band then launched into a two-hour set before a very stoked crowd that grew through word of mouth to well over 2,000.

Though he played unannounced in 2000 at his mother’s birthday party at the old Lulu’s on Weeks Bay, tonight was his first performance at his sister’s much larger location in Gulf Shores. And for the occasion he rolled out much of his classic material, including hits “Margaritaville,” “Volcano,” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”

Imagine the surprise of diners like Amy Brown, who had arrived with her husband in Gulf Shores on Friday, prompted by the promise of a Buffett concert that had been scheduled for tonight at the city’s public beach. Surfside weather associated with Hurricane Alex forced that show to be rescheduled for July 11, and the Elizabethtown, Ky. couple was disappointed they wouldn’t be able to make it back to the beach next weekend, she said.

“We were very upset,” Brown said. “We came here for dinner tonight and this surprised us.”  From the stage, Buffett thanked those like the Browns who stuck with their plans to visit Alabama’s beaches despite the Gulf oil spill that has had a disastrous effect on the area’s tourism-driven economy and the announcement that tonight’s show would have to be postponed.

“How many of you heard the bad news and came anyway?” he asked between songs.  The crowd roared.  “Aren’t you glad you did?” Buffett asked.  Again, the crowd roared.

That Buffett planned to play an unannounced gig was a closely guarded secret.  Many Lulu’s employees were left in the dark until moments before the show. Inquisitive servers who wondered why Buffett’s road crew was on the grounds were told that because they were already in town, they had been hired on to help prepare for concerts that would bookend the beach show, said Johnny Fisher, the restaurant’s general manager.

Buffett, who wore a T-shirt on which he had scrawled “We’ll be back Sunday,” was ferried to the show via the Intracoastal Waterway by a boat that moored near the outdoor stage.

“It was a hard secret to keep,” Fisher said. “Jimmy wanted to play as soon as the other show was canceled.”  Once it was clear Buffett was there to jam, the news coursed through Internet and cell phones.  Cars overflowed onto nearby roads for several blocks in every direction.

A few songs into the set Mobilian Deborah Tillman, in town to check on some beach properties and delivered the news by a call from her sister, was among the fans racing to the restaurant from far-flung parking spots. She was among the million or so fans who tried and failed to get one of the beach show’s 35,000 free tickets, which were gobbled up in fewer than 10 minutes last week.

“It’s wonderful of him to do this for the local folks,” Tillman said. “This was a very nice gesture.”

Jimmy Buffett’s Sister Optimistic in Gulf – June 28, 2010

One of the biggest attractions on the Gulf’s Alabama coast is LuLu’s. “LuLu” was Lucy Buffett’s childhood nickname. And she shares the same of love of this area as her famous brother Jimmy.  People come to LuLus from all over the south. Lucy told “Early Show” co-anchor Harry Smith she served 800,000 people last year. Smith said people come to LuLu’s for the cooking and the karma.  Lucy said, “My thing is giving a positive experience and it’s worked.”

But the oil and the worry and the aggravation is just about inescapable, Smith remarked, and it’s wearing folks out.  Lucy said, “There is this free floating I call it invisible anxiety that’s just heavy like the humidity because people feel so helpless because they don’t know.”

Lucy explained, “What people don’t understand is that we’re dealing with tides and winds and currents is different everyday I think that’s the thing, if you could say that oil is going to hit this shore in two weeks, it’s going to be four feet thick, boom done, it’s the not knowing that is driving people crazy, its driving people into despair, that’s the sad part.”

So people come to LuLus and hope maybe some of Lucy’s good vibrations rub off a little. It seems to run in the family.  Lucy told Smith, “I walk those beaches, that ocean is mighty, she is going to be OK. Nature takes care of itself, I know it. It will take time. I did a little meditation and what I got was she said, ‘I’ll be fine, you all need to take care of each other.'”

And now that’s Lucy’s new motto: “One love, one ocean” — a little Bob Marley with an idea that’s hard to deny. After all, Smith said, the world’s great oceans are all connected.  Smith asked Lucy, “You are still hanging in, you’re still resilient?”  Lucy replied, “I’m better than hanging in. I am.”  Smith asked, “Optimistic?”

“Totally,” she said. “I know it’s crazy. I was thinking this morning I knew you were coming over here and I thought, ‘Am I angry at BP? No. Am I angry at the president? No. Am I angry? Yes.’ I am angry that this happened at all. Now what do we do about it? That’s what I tell those people. Get creative! I don’t want to talk about yesterday. I want to talk about tomorrow. What are we going to do to solve this problem?”

Jimmy Buffett to launch Margaritaville Hotel on Pensacola Beach despite oil spill By Melissa Nelson, AP – June 5, 2010

Pensacola Beach will welcome the opening of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Hotel next week. Buffett said the oil spill will not delay the opening.  The timing might be a bit off for tourists hoping to waste away in Margaritaville. But that doesn’t bother Jimmy Buffett.  The singer — whose tunes are as much a part of life in this beach town as fried grouper sandwiches, Land Shark beer and the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels — is planning to open a 162-room Margaritaville Hotel in a week.

As tar balls came ashore Saturday from an oil plume shooting out of the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, Buffett said he had no plans to delay the opening.  “This will pass,” he said as walked along the city’s beachfront and fishing pier with Fla. Gov. Charlie Crist.  Curious beachgoers mobbed the duo in a frenzy rarely seen on the normally laid-back beach, snapping cell phone pictures and laughing as Crist and Buffett spent about an hour doing interviews and talking.

Buffett told fans he often went to Pensacola Beach while growing up nearby in Alabama. He said his favorite memories are of sunsets in the fall. He joked that he also enjoys the sunrises — but usually sleeps through them.  Buffet said the community will get through the crisis by pulling together. He wants people in the area to know that he’s there for them as the oil encroaches on their leisure and livelihoods.

If Buffett’s good for anything, it’s “helping people forget their troubles for a couple of hours,” the “Cheeseburger in Paradise” singer said.  Buffett’s $50 million hotel sits on the Gulf near the main section of Pensacola Beach. Hundreds of applicants lined up outside this week for a job fair even as television trucks filled a nearby parking lot to report on the oil slick’s arrival.  The hotel sits on land where Hurricane Ivan destroyed a previous hotel in 2004.

Gulf oil spill: Jimmy Buffett tells Florida beachgoers to stay upbeat
June 5, 2010 — Kevin Spear, Orlando Sentinel

Musician Jimmy Buffett, wearing his Margaritaville-brand flip-flops, stood Saturday on a pier at tar-ball blotched Pensacola Beach and led a pro-beach rally, urging Floridians to “not get a ‘sky is falling’ attitude” over the looming oil slick.

Buffett said he has survived hurricanes, getting shot at in Jamaica and a plane crash, and he insisted he’s ready to ride out the oil-spill disaster that in the last two days has hit the white sand beaches of the Florida Panhandle.  “This is an environmental disaster nobody asked for, but Floridians are a tough people,” Buffet said to the crowd of 1,000 beachgoers.

As spill-response workers collected oil blobs in the background, Buffett was joined by Gov. Charlie Crist. Although the expanding slick is largely offshore, it continues to drift east and threatens to devastate the state’s crucial tourism industry. …

For Buffett, crude oil washing ashore could spoil summer revenues as he opens his $50-million Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Pensacola Beach.  “Just batten down the hatches,” Buffett said.

Jimmy Buffett flies down to a Haiti ‘worth saving’
Associated Press – 2010-03-03

Jimmy Buffett may sing about “Surfing in a Hurricane,” but cruising through Haiti’s earthquake-ravaged capital nearly left the singer without words.  “It’s like it was bombed,” the singer told The Associated Press after touring the ravaged country’s capital.

Buffett loaded his seaplane with tents for some of the 1.2 million Haitians who lost their homes and set a course for the Caribbean nation on Tuesday.  The singer is a lover of Haitian music who has his own room named after him at the famed Hotel Oloffson.

“Haiti’s something worth saving to me,” he said.  He was convinced to make his first visit to Haiti since 1994 because of the needs of so many after the magnitude-7 quake struck on Jan. 12. On Tuesday, he was escorted by U.S. Embassy security personnel past downtown and the destroyed national cathedral.

After the terrible earthquake struck the country of Haiti Jimmy Buffett was deeply moved to help the Caribbean nation any way he could. Days after the tragedy Buffett posted a video on his website urging all Parrotheads to donate to help the cause. Buffett went a step further earlier this week flying his seaplane to Haiti to deliver tents to the homeless in Port-au-Prince. U.S. embassy security gave Jimmy a tour of the devastated city’s downtown. Buffett has been to Haiti before in 1994 and it had to be hard to city in its current state compared to his last visit.  He said “Haitians are the warmest and friendliest people I have come across in my travels.”

Son of a Son of a Sailor

As the son of a son of a sailor
I went out on the sea for adventure
Expanding the view of the captain and crew
Like a man just released from indenture  …

Where it all ends I can’t fathom my friends
If I knew I might toss out my anchor
So I cruise along always searchin’ for songs
Not a lawyer a thief or a banker.

A Pirate Looks At Forty

Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call
Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall
You’ve seen it all, you’ve seen it all

Watched the men who rode you switch from sails to steam
And in your belly you hold the treasures few have ever seen
Most of ’em dream, most of ’em dream

One Particular Harbor

I know I don’t get there often enough
But God knows I surely try
It’s a magic kind of medicine
That no doctor could prescribe …

But there’s this one particular harbour
So far but yet so near
Where I see the days as they fade away
And finally disappear

Young Jimmy in Key West with Beer!!

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

I think about Paris when I’m high on red wine
I wish I could jump on a plane
So many nights I just dream of the ocean
God I wish I was sailin’ again

Oh, yesterday’s over my shoulder
So I can’t look back for too long
There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me
And I know that I just can’t go wrong

With these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
With all of my running and all of my cunning
If I couldn’t laugh I just would go insane
If we couldn’t laugh we just would go insane

If we weren’t all crazy we would go insane

Tryin’ To Reason With Hurricane Season

Squalls out on the gulf stream,
Big storms coming soon.
I passed out in my hammock,
God, I slept way past noon.
Stood up and tried to focus,
I hoped I wouldn’t have to look far.
I knew I could use a Bloody Mary,
So I stumbled next door to the bar.

Well, the wind is blowin’ harder now
Fifty knots or there abouts,
There’s white caps on the ocean.
And I’m watching for water spouts
It’s time to close the shutters
It’s time to go inside.
In a week I’ll be in gay Paris;
That’s a mighty long airplane ride

Random Jimmy Buffett Quotes

And I try to give the best bang for the buck. I love performing more than anything else.

And I wound up in New Orleans for all those years and it was a great place, really a catalyst creatively.

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.

Humor has bailed me out of more tight situations than I can think of. If you go with your instincts and keep your humor, creativity follows. With luck, success comes, too.

I hate to mention age, but I come from an era when we weren’t consumed by technology and television.

I just want to live happily ever after, every now and then.

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.

I’m a big follower and reactor to weather.

I’m inspired by people who keep on rolling, no matter their age.

If it doesn’t work out there will never be any doubt that the pleasure was worth all the pain.

Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don’t know and I don’t care.

Moderation is the key so I work certain amount of time and then I take a certain amount of time off.

Older and wiser voices can help you find the right path, if you are only willing to listen.

People who think too much before they act don’t act too much.

Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.


One Response to “Jimmy Buffett Speaks Out and Stands Up for His Gulf Home and Our Heritage”

  1. Jimmy Buffett Entertains and Encourages; but Misses Chance to Educate and Engage « Information and Inspiration to Save Our Gulf of Mexico!! Says:

    […] Worry, Be Happy” attitude that no attempt was made to inform and inspire people to action?”  Jimmy does truly care about the issue, but perhaps he also figured politics would “hurt his brand” especially among the country fans […]

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