by Chad Campbell, senior producer
This was one of the few times in my professional career that I refused to take no for an answer. About a month before heading back to New Orleans for the 2011 Jazz Fest, I emailed or called the press contacts of about 25 musicians to try and set up an interview with Bob. Some replied with an immediate yes, some ignored me and some answered maybe. After some checking, the rep for Jimmy Buffett said “sorry, it’s not going to work out.” I replied with these arguments: Buffett and Bob would be perfect together, it would be a great conversation, Buffett has his own channel on Sirius XM, he has a personal connection to New Orleans - he’s even on he official Jazz Fest commemorative poster this year. Still no. I had recently produced Bob’s interviews with Nashville singer-songwriter Marshall Chapman and Hawaiian ukulele wiz Jake Shimabukuro - each former members of Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band. I appealed to them for help and Chapman forwarded my email to someone else in Buffett’s camp and being a fan of Bob’s and public radio in general, she got the ball rolling again. Thanks Sunshine, and I hope our listeners will be thankful too. The day before Buffett performed, we wound up at the New Orleans Ritz Carlton interviewing the Gulf Coast native and Jazz Fest poster boy about his music and his many business ventures. There’s Radio Margaritaville, Buffett’s own Sirius XM channel, which plays his songs, old concerts and similar beach-themed music by other artists. There’s the Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Pensacola, Florida - opened during last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. There are Margaritaville lines of clothing, footwear and eyewear. There is Margaritaville foods, beer and liquor, Margaritaville margarita mixes and of course Margaritaville “frozen concoction makers” also known as blenders.
Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band play tonight (July 19th) in Cleveland, Thursday (21st) in Detroit and Saturday (23rd) in Chicago. Click here for the full tour schedule.
If you need still more Jimmy Buffett in your life, he appears on a new CD coming out next month. Buffett reads the part of Huck Finn on Mark Twain: Words & Music. Special thanks to Cindy Lovell executive director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum for giving us a sneak peek.
Click here to read Return to Margaritaville, the 2007 Washington Post article by Gary Logan, explaining why he’s a fan of Jimmy Buffett.
After our conversation with Jimmy Buffett, not quite ready to leave the state of mind known as Margaritaville, we ate lunch at Jimmy Buffett’s French Quarter restaurant of the same name.