* As I begin writing this, It’s 10:44 p.m. I’ve been waiting for 25 minutes for someone to help me dub some video from my camcorder to TV-friendly DVC Pro tape.
Finally, at 10:55, my hero arrives. Rob from maintenance helps me jack into a deck and start dubbing. As soon as the 10 p.m. news finished, everyone else who could help me ran screaming from the building, so I hope this sticks.
It’s midnight and finally, my tape is finished dubbing. Now I must log the shots and soundbites from my tape and Mike’s tape for editing. Working in TV is wall-to-wall excitement!
Tune in Friday morning for a splatteriffic Halloween extravaganza! (I am sworn to secrecy as to the true nature of this project.)
* It’s official. God hates baseball.
* I love you. I hate you. Same difference, say scientists.
* Michigan Democrats urge you to call up for some hot absentee voter on absentee voter action.
* I scream, you scream, we all scream for… human feces.
* Bosses should let employees go nuts with Facebook and MySpace, says the National Institute for Goofing Off.
* Microsoft set to unveil its next version of Windows. Good. Vista is the worst thing to happen to computers since ever.
* Jimmy Buffett backs Barack Obama. I hate Jimmy Buffett more than SARS, clowns and Al Qaeda put together.
I don’t write that lightly. I’ve considered the horrible legacy of one Mr. Kenny G. I’ve mulled the damage done by Nickelback. But no amount of Lou Begas or Gerardos or Aces of Base can lay claim to the virtual music wasteland of Mr. Buffett.
“Why’s he picking on Jimmy Buffet?” you ask. “The man is harmless!”
I beg to differ, my friend. Jimmy Buffett has two factors that make him a dangerous musical python:
1) His music sucks.
2) He propagates the lifestyle of the homeless.
Let’s examine these claims, shall we?
Does his music suck? Without question. Everything is laid back and mellow, as though it were the acoustic guitar version of something you’d hear in an elevator. It’s repetitive and banal. The vocal range required is two notes, max. When you hear his songs performed by a drunken karaoke participant, they are indistinguishable from the original recordings. All of Buffett’s songs sound vaguely like adult nursery rhymes. Replace the words “bottle” with “beer” and “cradle” with “beach,” and you’ve got an instant Buffett classic.
Rock-a-bye, beach bum, in the hammock.
When the wind blows, the hammock will rock.
When the beer comes, you’ll drink it right down.
And then you will nap until more beer comes.
I should warn Jimmy Buffett, I’ve just copyrighted that song. Don’t even think about co-opting it, jerk.
Now, to my second claim, Jimmy Buffett wants everyone to be homeless. He just wants you to lie on the beach and drink and eat the occasional cheeseburger. This is not an inspirational message. This is something your friends want you to do when they’re high.
More to the point, Buffett has a legion of “Parrotheads.” These are fans who wear Hawaiian shirts, get plastered and mumble his songs back to him in concert. There is no dignity to be had in a Hawaiian shirt.
Here’s what runs through the typical Parrothead’s mind in the moments leading up to a Jimmy Buffett concert:
“Man, what a rough week. I had such problems with the Mitchell account. My boss just doesn’t get it. Boy, this beer tastes good. I wish I was going to the beach right now. But hey, the beach is a state of mind. I wish I drove a dune buggy instead of a Jeep Grand Cherokee. That would really blow my boss’ mind. I can’t believe I’m wearing flip flops to a stadium! I should quit my job and live in a tiki hut somewhere. I hope Jimmy invites me on stage to sing ‘Margaritaville.’ I bet he’ll notice me. This shirt has, like, a dozen parrots on it. And if he does bring me up, I’m gonna give him that salt shaker I have stashed in my pocket. I’ll be all, ‘Look, Jimmy! I found it!’ And we’ll laugh and laugh and he’ll bring me along on the road and we’ll be best buds and I will quit my job, leaving my child without the health insurance she so desperately needs to continue her dialysis.”
Many songwriters would attempt to enlighten or encourage their audience. Not Buffett. All his songs sound as if they were written and performed while lying down. Any sort of exertion is verboten in Buffett’s world. You must lie completely still and forget about anything that matters to you. You can achieve the same effect by placing a rag soaked in chloroform over your face.
I’m pretty sure the moment you start liking Jimmy Buffett is the moment you give up any hope of improving your life. It’s also the moment you stop caring about things like chord changes or rhythm or sobriety.
Ultimately, I don’t think it will be too hard to break Parrothead Nation of its obsession. All we need to do is unplug their CD players. Since their will to move will have been atrophied by years of Buffett hypnosis, they would merely lie on their couches until the spell subsided. At that point, they’d realize how many years of their lives had passed without their knowledge, and then maybe they’d wish to rejoin society.
But that’s a lot to ask from alcoholics who enjoy an artist whose musical prowess is put to shame by the average jingle from a mediocre carpet commercial.