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Interview:
Jimmy Buffett's Still Here -- And Happily So
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

There’s no hidden meaning intended by the title of Jimmy Buffett’s Year of Still Here Tour.

“I’m still out there — where would I go?,” the 61-year-old singer, songwriter and chief of a continually burgeoning Parrothead empire says with a laugh.

“Retirement doesn’t look so interesting to me these days. That’s kind of an old way of thinking, retiring at 60. Come on — I still think I’m 40!”

The “Margaritaville” man’s recent creative output certainly supports his resolve. Last month he published his seventh book, “Swine Not? A Novel Pig Tale,” a young readers’ story about a single-parent family in New York that lives in the hotel where the mother works and has a pet pig they disguise as a dog. Buffett credits illustrator Helen Bransford with the idea for what he considers a very different and challenging kind of narrative.

“It doesn’t have any sea planes or pirates or anything, but I loved the characters,” notes Buffett, a father of three who splits his time between Long Island and the French West Indies. “It was a challenge in trying to write something different. It reminded me of when I had to write on assignment for Herman Wouk for ‘Don’t Stop the Carnival,’ and I kinda liked that.”

Buffett has also released a new DVD, “Scenes You Know By Heart,” which features live performances of 15 tracks — several of which are previously unreleased — and is modeled after his popular 1985 hits set “Songs You Know By Heart.”

“We shoot everything,” Buffett says, “and somebody had an idea to do one like this. It’s kind of a unique platform in which to feature little vignettes from all over the place.

“It’s National Geographic with a good soundtrack — that’s what I consider it.”

It also fits the criteria he’s set for all of his projects, which are designed primarily to appeal to his Parrothead fan base. “I just like doing stuff that people will like to add to their collection,” he explains.

But Buffett, who operates his own Mailboat Records label and a pair of restaurant chains named after his hits “Margaritavile” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” isn’t sure when he’ll be providing brand new music for those collections.

His last album, “Take the Weather With You,” came out in 2006, and while he’s “writing songs and ... listening to different things that inspire me musically,” Buffett says he’s pondering over how the Internet and the changing landscape of music distribution may affect how he chooses to bring his material out in the future.

“I’m in no hurry to do (an album),” he says. “It’ll be interesting to see if I wait and get a collection of 12 (songs) together to do an album or go do four and put ’em online or something.

“The delivery systems now ... it’s very interesting how you can put stuff out there now, so we’ll see what feels like the best way to do it.”



Jimmy Buffett & the Coral Reefer Band perform at 8 p.m. Tuesday (June 10) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $137.50 pavilion and $37.50 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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