Jimmy Buffett Experience Is About Margaritaville
For many Parrot Heads, the appeal of the Jimmy Buffett experience is all about the notion of Margaritaville and the fantastic ideology that this esteemed singer/songwriter has created over the past 50+ years.
This man is celebrated as a writer and storyteller. Not only have keen fans latched onto the imagery of some of the best-loved songs, allowing themselves to be transported to far-away, sun-kissed beaches on their downtime, but they have also identified with the way of life promoted by the man through his music and attitudes to the world.
When a Jimmy Buffett concert comes to town, these fans gather in great flocks to greet him and welcome the hero that allowed them to delve into this culture.
Fans would never dream of doubting the talent of the great man regarding the storytelling of the lyrics and his stage presence, but many would admit that the rich “Gulf and Western” sounds of the albums and the incredible live experience wouldn’t be anywhere near the same without his backing band. Before 1974, Jimmy didn’t have a backing band.
A group of session musicians would come in to provide the right accompaniment on his album tracks, but there wasn’t the same connection that would later come with the full Coral Reefers Band.
The Formation Of The Coral Reefers.
The band of musicians that plays with Buffett at his shows has changed in line-up numerous times over the course of his career, as old faces retire and new names are discovered, but there has been one line up or another for the past 40 years.
There was a Coral Reefers band before this but in name only. Buffett had come up with the concept of an imaginary band of musicians – Kay Pasa, Ms. Kitty Litter, and Marvin Gardens – and when he pursued the idea of a real backing band to accompany him on tour, the name stuck.
The name did once get the band in trouble when organizers of a concert objected to the term Reefer being used around the impressionable audience, and they were made to temporarily change it for a night. Since then, the Coral Reefers have remained by Jimmy’s side at all of his shows, providing a range of instrumental and vocal talents.
It is hard to believe that this strong relationship could continue to hold up for so long when the initial formation was apparently meant to be a one-time experiment. Fed up with his experiences with session musicians, Buffett was merely playing around with the idea of adding other musicians to his tour to create a different sound. The first group of band members was thrown together, and Jimmy appreciated the difference so much that he didn’t look back.
The Breadth Of Talent On The Stage Is Impressive And Some Star Names Have Even Joined In Over The Years.
The Coral Reefers backing band is acclaimed for bringing talented, perhaps fairly unknown musicians to the stage to add to the experience and recreate the vibrant feels of this tropical rock’n’roll sound.
Over the years, however, some very famous faces have played a minor role and added a personal touch to the performance. This has ranged as broadly as star musicians such as Paul McCartney and Roy Orbison to entertainment legends like WWE’s Ric Flair (with his trademark “woo” backing vocal) and Harrison Ford with a whip percussion.
This diversity shows the fun that the band can have on stage and emphasizes the Parrot Head mentality of letting loose and having some fun.
Today, The Band Consists Of The Following Members:
Micheal Utley – a longstanding keyboard player that has been on every album since 1973.
Mac McAnally – a guitarist and vocalist since 1998
Ralph MacDonald – a renowned percussionist and songwriter
Robery Greenidge – adding some island flavors with his steel drums
Peter Mayer & Jim Mayer – talented brother on guitar and bass respectively
Roger Guth – a drummer with the band since the late 80s
John Lovell – occasional trumpeter
Doyle Grisham – a highly regarded pedal steel guitar player since the age of 21
Nadirah Shakoor – vocalist and former Arrested Development member
Tina Gullickson – vocalist with the band since 1995
As long as he keeps touring, there will be some form of the Coral Reefers at a Jimmy Buffett concert, and they are sure to continue to bring the sounds of the Margaritaville life to every track and performance that they are a part of.