Ken Hoffman of the Houston Chronicle got a rare look at Jimmy Buffett’s rehearsal process this week as the Lounging at the Lagoon Tour got ready to kick off.
Monday I had total access to Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band’s final rehearsal before their 2012 Lounging at the Lagoon tour starts in The Woodlands. The band began practicing two weeks ago in an empty warehouse near Austin. It was the first time an outsider was invited to a full-blown rehearsal. Here’s what I heard and saw.
Technicians and crew arrived around 9 a.m. The stage had been set up since the start of rehearsals. It is the stage that Buffett will take on the road. The warehouse, front to back, was turned into a concert venue, complete with props, soundboard, lighting and video production areas and upstairs catering. The only thing missing was an audience. The place was eerily quiet.
Bicycles were leaned against aisle railings. The crew needs bikes to get around. There was a portable golf driving range at the back of the house. Tuesday was a day off. It sounded like everybody was planning to play 18.
Although the floor and seats were empty, the warehouse was decked out for a packed concert. Chaise lounges and “Lounging at the Lagoon” signs were set up outside the entrances for fans’ photo opportunities. Pretty girls will be there to keep the line moving. The photo ops and chaise lounges were Buffett’s idea.
I learned that practically everything you see at a Jimmy Buffett concert was Buffett’s idea. He’s the boss, and everybody in the warehouse – 11 Coral Reefers, the lighting crew, six video technicians, four sound guys, two costume coordinators, two large security men, tour manager, accountant, IT wizard, Radio Margaritaville disc jockey, stage decorator and even the guy who runs onstage to hand guitars to Buffett – knows it. He’s Bubba.
The band began playing at 3:30 p.m. without Buffett. It did a jazzy song called “Give Henry the Receipt,” written and performed by backup singer Nadirah Shakoor, and dedicated to Buffett’s tour accountant Henry Rosquette. He was there, too.
Buffett arrived a few minutes later, wearing a white baseball cap, aviator sunglasses, white T-shirt, pink shorts and flip-flops. He headed straight to video production. The entrance was his idea, which has tricky special effects. He watched every inch of tape.
Buffett removed his cap and sunglasses, kicked off his flip-flops and climbed onstage at 4 p.m.
The video wall behind the band comprises 96 big-screen televisions. The stage is decorated to look like a lagoon. Buffett’s usual coconut trees are replaced by swamp grass and hanging cypress trees.
The rehearsal lasted about three hours, lengthened by cutting up between songs, Buffett banter and an occasional blooper. Buffett couldn’t get the beginning notes of “Jolly Mon” right, before realizing he had grabbed the wrong guitar.
Buffett wasn’t happy with the video that accompanied “Come Monday.” He told the video producer, “I have some newer video I shot last year in Montana on my bicycle and on a horse. Let’s use that. Trust me, it will work better.”
Be sure to read the full article here for more interesting tidbits.
Buffett takes the tour to Houston on Saturday for a show at the Woodlands.
In an interview with Billboard, Jimmy Buffett reveals details about his next album:
Buffett tells Billboard.com that he’s “got a lot of songs and I’m gonna go in this year” to record a follow-up to 2009’s “Buffet Hotel.” “I’m happy with the material ’cause I’ve been working at it for a while,” Buffett says, detailing songs such as “Useless and Important Information,” which is “in the running for the album title,” as well as “Einstein Was a Surfer,” “I Want to Go Back to Cartagena” and “Clueless People in a ‘Fraidy Cat World.”
“I’ve got a couple of minor-key things,” Buffett adds. “I’m excited about it, and (the material) is kinda piling up on us here, so I’m ready to go back in.” Buffett says he’s “written most of this stuff myself,” though he’s also worked with regular collaborators Mac McAnally and Will Kimbrough and has composed a song with Jerry Jeff Walker’s son Django.
Buffett is considering a number of studios to work on the project, including his own Shrimp Boat facility in Key West, Fla., as well as EMI’s Abbey Road studio and Mark Knopfler’s British Grove Studios, both in West London, England. “I want to go in and do it together as a band,” Buffett says. “We normally do that anyway, but then people are busy and have to go out and someone’s usually phoning in a part from somewhere. This time I’d like to the whole thing all together… I started thinking, ‘Do I really want to go in and make a record or do I want to just put a few (songs) out. I thought maybe I’d go in and do four or something, and then I said, ‘Nah. I like going in the studio with my band, and it can be an experience.”
Are you excited about this new album?
Music icon Jimmy Buffett sat down with Showbiz Tonight’s A.J. Hammer to reveal some big secrets and he isn’t holding back!
Buffett was in New Orleans for The Big Dance concert series and he reveals to A.J what was the absolute strangest thing anybody ever asked him to put his name on! What are your guesses? Watch the whole interview tonight for even more on Showbiz Tonight, 11 p.m. ET/PT only on HLN!
Jimmy Buffett performs this weekend in Hawaii (Maui tonight and Honolulu on Sunday) and in an interview with Honolulu Pulse, he reveals that he’ll make another appearance as Frank Bama, helicopter pilot, on “Hawaii Five-0.” Buffett also mentions a new album in the works:
Looking ahead, Buffett says fans can anticipate a new album and another appearance on “Hawaii Five-0″ as veteran military helicopter pilot Frank Bama.
“We’re just kind of cruising along. We’re busy in our world — our casino is opening in Biloxi (Mississippi), we’ve got a lot of interesting things going on in the Margaritaville business side of things and also in the music side of things. I’m starting to write again, and it’s about time to do an album.
Be sure to read the full interview here.
American Songwriter has an interesting interview with Coral Reefer and reining CMA Musician of the Year Mac McAnally:
You’re known as a great storyteller, both lyrically and in your live show. Was there any particular writer or performer coming up that inspired you to be the storyteller you’re known as today?
I’m sure that I was a sponge and was influenced by almost everything I heard musically. But the storytelling probably comes from two places. First the church. My mother was the piano player at church when I was young and we were always going to Baptist “association,” which was like a preaching competition with endless sermons over a two or three day period. I was very young and probably would have chosen to be elsewhere but I did take note of what did and did not work for the men, and a woman or two, in the pulpit. Secondly and probably a more direct influence were the old guys who sat on the “gossip bench” at the courthouse downtown and whittled and told stories. I was told not to hang around these guys and sat at their feet and listened to them for a big chunk of my early time. The new live CD is a response to years of being asked to record the stories that accompany the songs.
You’ve had cuts by Alabama, Kenny Chesney, Jimmy Buffett and many others. Do you have a song that was particularly hard to let go of?
When I wrote “Back Where I Come From” I thought that it was a hit, but also that it said something that I personally wanted to be the first to say. As a publisher I knew I was devaluing the copyright by singing it myself instead of passing it onto better and bigger singers, but I did it anyway. One of many of my classically bad business choices, but thankfully Kenny Chesney was kind enough to bail me out and cut it again. Thanks again KC.
Read the full interview here.
And be sure to pick up Mac’s new album Live in Muscle Shoals.
ESPN has a short interview with Jimmy Buffett where he talks sports, his bucket list, and the Superbowl halftime show:
I hear you love sports. What is your favorite team?
I’m a big sports fan, but favorite … the Saints! I grew up as a Saints fan. I was at the very first game the Saints played in New Orleans — nobody knew who I was back then. It was probably before you were born!
Shane Battier announced he was going to Miami via Twitter and said, “This was a exciting process and after much deliberation, I would like to quote the great poet Jimmy Buffett and take my chances ‘Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season.’ How do you feel about “assisting” with his big announcement?
“I like it a lot. I was a big fan of his during the Duke days. Being a big Heat fan, I think it’s great. I think he has a lot of dimensions. He’s going to be a huge asset. I’m happy with it.”
In 2001 you were ejected from a Heat vs. Knicks game for cursing at referee Joe Forte. Looking back, what are your thoughts, and would you do anything differently?
“No, I wouldn’t do anything different. I remember it humorously now. Alonzo (Mourning) was telling me to stay there. He (referee, Joe Forte) didn’t have any idea who I was. Some people thought it was a publicity stunt. … It completely wasn’t. My son was young, and I told him I was going to have to leave the game because I said a bad word. He said, ‘Do I have to leave?’ ”
What’s on your sports bucket list?
“Saints to win the Super Bowl next year in New Orleans, and I’ll be there.”
Will you be playing halftime? I’m going to vote for that!
“No. I wouldn’t do the halftime show unless it was live. I don’t lip sync.”