What the Hell Is Wrong With People in This Town?

I recently came to the realization that I don’t hate Jimmy Buffett, as I once asserted in an article titled “Ten Things I Hate About Buffett” back in 2000. I mean, I despise his music. But my vitriol shouldn’t be directed at the man himself. It’s like blaming the Wright Brothers for 9/11.

My ire is aimed at the Parrothead phenomenon in Cincinnati more than anything. It takes a middle-of-the-road Tropical Pop singer to get our town excited about something? And that excited? Buffett shows in the Queen City are like Mardi Gras for some people, amateur night all the way. I wonder if cops converge on Riverbend when Buffett’s in town to catch all the drunk drivers and pot smokers, like they seem to do when someone like Phish comes to the area?

Just received a press release from Live Nation announcing that this year’s Buffett show on July 26 at Riverbend sold out this morning in 15 minutes. That kind of monetary windfall should keep Jimmy rolling in Ecstasy pills for a whole week. Er, um, if he likes those kind of things.

(photo: byte.org)

— Mike Breen

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25 Comments on “What the Hell Is Wrong With People in This Town?”

  1. Kenny Says:

    I hope the people that bought those tickets were scalpers and Parottheads have to alll pay quadruple the price just to get in.

  2. Walker Says:

    y’all should be damn happy people show up, raise money for charities and help out in your community under the Buffett/Parrothead banner. You want to bitch and moan about the amatuer, yellow-album fans… fine. You want to gripe and grumble about the folks who can name songs off his early albums that didn’t get airplay… get some cheese to go with your whining.

  3. citybeat Says:

    I just want people to get excited about things other than this annual crapfest.

    I was unaware that Jimmy gives some of his billions to charity. I take it all back. Screw the old Pope, give Jimmy the sainthood.

    – breen

  4. Larry Gross Says:

    Jimmy has turned himself into a “character,” but I remember him before the hits. You see, I’m an old guy.

    Back in the early and late 70’s, he was a great songwriter and his music was very Florida and different. “Come Monday” almost became a hit. “Miss you so Badly” I played over and over again. He put a lot of Steve Goodman songs on this albums. “Why Don’t we Get Drunk and Screw?” was……honest? He was an original.

    In the late 70’s he played to a less than sell out crowd at Music Hall. He was outstanding. A couple years ago, I got invited to see him at Riverfront. I left 20 minutes into the show.

    In the 70’s, it was about the music. Now it’s about being a parrothead. Who says change is a good thing?

  5. citybeat Says:

    But Larry, he gives money to charity. You calous bastard, how dare you criticize him.

    After i wrote my “10 things” story, i received literally thousands of emails from jimmy’s fans, some of the most foul, disgusting, offensive things i’ve ever read in my life (one guy wished AIDS on me and my children, saying he hoped I’d go to Over the Rhine and get ass-raped by a drug dealer!).

    But it warmed my heart to get a few here and there that said basically what you are saying, Larry. One guy from Key West was railing against the influx of “Jimmy wannabes” into his area. To this day, about once every two or three months I get a note about that seven-year-old story (positive and negeative).

    I know people talk about their disgust with the Parrothead phenom, but why hasn’t anyone else lashed out in print?

    — Breen

  6. Marilyn Says:

    Mike, I hear you. You wrote: “My ire is aimed at the Parrothead phenomenon in Cincinnati…”


    I watched the local news today and indeed, I couldn’t believe my ears that his show(s) sold out in 15 minutes.

    Where is that same zeal when it comes to protesting the war or racial injustice in Cincinnati? Cincinnatians seem only to want to party, but only at ‘sanctified’ events.

    What a shame.

  7. Larry Gross Says:

    I remember those emails you got and those FAXES that jammed up the fax machine at CityBeat. What the fuck was that about? You taped a lot of the faxes to your wall. Oh yes, the good old days at 7th & Vine.

    Jimmy gives his money to charity? That’s wonderful. Which ones? Do we know? Do any of them concern the well being of parrots? Just asking.

    I think music artists need to grow old with dignify. Emmylou Harris continues to explore new avenues in music. Jimmy Buffett starts a restaurant chain.

  8. laura james Says:

    “Like we need some other cultural crisis to be embarrassed about.”
    Well put, mike.

  9. citybeat Says:

    Larry: For the record, it was someone else who taped those faxes and emails to the wall. It was quite a shock to come into the office that day. And I’m sure Jimmy does more than his share for parrots! He owes them. Everything.

    Thanks Laura: I read that line and thought “Did I write that.” Funny how that one’s held up!

    Great points about the general apathy of Cincinnati, Marilyn. I never thought of it that way. Protest an unjust war? Eh. Get tickets to Buffett? OH MY GOD, HURRY UP!

    Another Buffett fan site posted the link to this. (The evil hatemail I wrote about earlier was the result of the same thing.) If you’ve been led here by that link, let us know what it is about Buffettmania that floats your boat so? I’m genuinely curious.

    Oh, and all death threats should go to kissmyass@citybeat.com.

    – Breen

  10. Marilyn Says:

    Mike, Cincinnatians are never apathetic! As long as their little world is protected and they don’t have to look at reality in the face.

    Death threats!? LOL… bring ’em on!

  11. Several years ago, a pal who worked at Riverbend at the time asked me to play the VIP afterparty for the Buffett show. People who paid extra could hang at a bar off to the back side of the venue and wait out the traffic while enjoying a few more drinks that they didn’t need. She knew it wasn’t my kind of gig, but the regular guy (someone like Bob Cushing or some such) canceled at the last minute and she asked if I could do her a favor.

    As I’m carrying my gear in, I can hear “Brown-Eyed Girl” and people are walking past me in the parking lot, puking as they’re walking. Neat.

    Long story short, my guitarist and I play our first couple songs, and people are completely ignoring us. Rick Bird is writing is review and finds this all pretty funny. Just then, a wicked thunderstorm hit, and everyone had to gather under the awning where we were playing. I told the crowd how Buffett used to play the Blind Lemon back in the early days (true, I think) and the next song was one he taught my brother (not at all true) and never recorded or played out (also not true). I played a song off the then-new Pike 27 record, and when we were finished, the crowd erupted. And for the rest of the night, they pretty much ate out of our hands. Bird had his head on the table, he was laughing so hard.

    It was easily one of the dumbest crowds I’ve ever played for.

  12. your eleven o'clock Says:

    At a Buffet concert when I was 16 — do I really need to provide justification here? — some old guy told me “there’s a Big Mac in every beer.” I’ve employed and shared that knowledge diligently ever since. If that’s not evidence that genius abounds wherever Mr. Parrot lays his golden claw, then I can’t help you people.

    Mike, I thought Dulli wished the HIV upon your firstborn? Dammit, there goes that fantasy…

  13. citybeat Says:

    11 oclock: Greg Dulli actually challenged me to an HIV test. Through his publicist. What is it with me and AIDS? Greg was mad either because I wrote (jokingly) there was a rumor he had gained 200 pounds and was drinking a bottle of burbon a day OR that the Whigs’ 1965 album and its use of horns and backup singers was akin to Guns and Roses’ Use Your Illusion records. I think Greg was kind of joking too. but there was a “rumor” that I had a bad IV drug problem around this time. Guess it was a pretty mean-spirited joke … and mine probably were too. Greg has a history of harassing music critics and writers who say bad things about him. I still love ’em though.

    But it was indeed a kind-hearted Parrothead who wished AIDS on my firstborn.

    DaveP: That is a great story. I wish I would have been there. But … well, you know. I’m actually thining of going to the concert “undercover” this year to write about it. Anyone gotta ticket for me? I need a miracle.

  14. trey Says:

    Breen, live and let live is a good motto. Its only once a year and its a tradition for some people.

  15. Scrappyb Says:

    I am confused by all the comments that I read on this website blog. Fortunately a lot of us Parrotheads like to have a fun time, we come by all ages and all sorts of races and colors. Do you see people fighting everywhere,most of the concerts I have been too, I see smiles and evryone having a fun time. Yes there is drinking involved ,but it sure does’nt hurt when you have 10 – 15 people singing along and smiling together,even when they don’t know who the other person is. Fortunately Jimmy gives dreams,has’nt anyone evere dreamed of living in sunshine and living a carefree life. The concert is one night,but tell me someone who does’nt go to a concert and at least remembers one memory from that night, probably a good one. Remember it’s a phun time for everyone,let them be kids at heart for one night.

  16. Kenny Says:

    Don’t be confused Scrappy. And don’t take it personally. Just as you have the right to go and enjoy yourself at the concert, others have the right to make fun of you for doing so. I think its nice to have an outlet to counter the Cincinnati Loves Buffett reputation that our city is plagued with. But in all seriousness, I don’t think anyone is clamoring to have Buffett shows cancelled or to have Buffett banned from Cincinnati (though that does sound like something Cincinnati would do).

  17. citybeat Says:

    Just having a little fun, Scrappyb, as you will at the concert. I think of the Parrothead phenomenah kind of like I think of religion — I don’t personally find anything in it for myself, but I am happy for the people who find peace and solace in it.

    – breen

  18. ETPH Says:

    It took 15 minutes to sell out the great show at Cincy? Egads. We must be slipping.

    Dallas sells out in single digits. I’m not so sure about Houston, but here in Texas, where Jimmy played up and down Greenville Avenue with the likes of Jerry Jeff and Willis Alan Ramsey, we love Jimmy, changes, crass commercialization and anything else derrogatory you want to throw on him.

    A Jimmy show’s the most fun you can have legal.

  19. ETPH Says:

    I phorgot … we’ve raised a lot of money for charity via cookbooks and tailgates …. we’ve donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation in Dallas and the Friends of Caroline Hospice in Beaufort, SC. Party with a Purpose. Yep. That’s us.

  20. P8 Says:

    Over the years many hacks have tried to put down the parrothead nation as “A bunch of over the hill drunks” It’s nice to know we’re still out there bothering you guys. Parrotheads have a saying “You either get it, or you don’t” Obviously you don’t. Jimmy Buffett and his music take us places we would never otherwise get to see. Many of us are just hard working stiffs who just want to have some fun. What is so wrong with that?

  21. citybeat Says:

    Over the years, many of us hacks have also tried to put down things like Britney Spears and Fergie and other forms of garbage. To no avail – bad taste wins! Congratulations!

    “You either get it, or you don’t.” Yeah, I like that one too. It goes both ways, you know?

    Seriously, to you and the other parrotheads who have come over here via message boards, see my message of peace four posts up.

  22. ETPH Says:

    I’m not touchy … just trying to ‘xplain why we love Jimmy. Phor me, it started when he was just singing in bars … I’m happy he’s made it so big … and his songs are still the happiest ones on the planet. Like he says, “I don’t sing the blues.” I’m too old to go to Spring Break, but Jimmy’s music takes me back … and makes me smile. And I do not drink at at Jimmy show, but I sure get a kick outta watching those who are overserved. : – )

  23. citybeat Says:

    Thanks ETPH and P8. I really do appreciate you taking the time to post here. It’s nice to have the different voices.

    But I’m going to have to ask that you refrain from starting “f” words with “Ph” unneccesarily 🙂

  24. AdamBomb8 Says:

    I can’t help but laugh at Radio Free Newport. The dumbest crowd ever?? Maybe they were smarter than you think. Maybe they were ignoring you and you had to lie to them to get them to pay attention to you because, well, maybe the quality of your music isn’t that great? Just a thought. Also, if you were willing to lie to try and get people to listen to your “music”, isn’t it possible that you were lying about the people puking as you were going in? Maybe they were puking after hearing you play.

  25. citybeat Says:

    That doesn’t make any sense.

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