Stars and Stripes has a great interview with Jimmy Buffett that they conducted backstage at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan.
On why he came to play the free shows:
We’ve been doing shows around the world for quite a while and it was kind of a unique situation. My friend Caroline Kennedy, when she became [United States ambassador to Japan], she’s kind of a force of nature, so she got out here and she said, “You need to come while I’m here and do this.” And I’d never been to Japan.
Also, I have a lot of great friends in the Navy. You join the Navy and see the world, you can join this band and see the world — and it’s a great thrill to let people see a show that normally wouldn’t be able to get to one.
We have a lot of fans here, and I didn’t realize that. I thought when we came to Okinawa there’d be a couple hundred people. We had 11,000 people. We opened it up not just to the Navy, we opened it up to the town, too. I think everybody’s appreciative of that.
On his military connections:
I come from a family of sailors. My dad was a flyer in WWII. The rest of them, my grandfather and all my uncles, were in the Navy. At one point I came close to becoming a naval aviator, but then the guitar came along. So I think I kind of maneuvered it with friends that I had, and I was lucky enough to meet some very cool people. In the ‘80s I wound up trading shows for [catapult] shots basically. So I’ve been off the boat in a [F-14 Tomcat] and in an A-4 [Skyhawk].
Two of my best friends and roommates in college were naval aviators. I always stay in touch with them; they live in San Diego now. I’m still a pilot. I fly a Falcon 900LX and a [Cessna] Caravan seaplane. Landing in the East River [New York] is really fun.
On seeing Japan:
This sparked my interest to come back. I have a little place in Hawaii, and I’ll be in Australia in March. I’d like to come snowboarding [in Japan] and I’d like to see the countryside. There were nice waves in Okinawa … I might go back there. It would be certainly worth coming back.
In the works:
I have a travel book — it started about two to three years ago when I went to China. I’m working on that, and hopefully I’ll try to finish that up this year. And then we have the play, the “Margaritaville” musical, which has been an ongoing thing we’ve been working on for six years. It’s actually opening in La Jolla [Calif.] in April. We’ll do it there and then take it on the road, and in about a year we’ll go to Broadway with it. But it’s fun because it’s little more diverse. I should go back and do an album soon — when it comes to me I’ll go. It’s been fun for me to do some other things.
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