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Tiki Central Forums » » Beyond Tiki » » The Root of Jimmy Buffet Bashing
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The Root of Jimmy Buffet Bashing
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Nov 23, 2003
Posts: 20
From: Santa Maria, CA
Posted: 2003-12-18 7:13 pm   Permalink


I truly enjoy TikiCentral and all the great conversations out there. I’m pretty new to the whole tiki scene and I’m trying to learn as much as possible about the culture. I’ve got the books, I play the exotica, and I make a fair Mai Tai. I’ve even started my own tiki alter on my back patio with a carving of Ku. Also, I have been a beach bum all my life. I grew up in So Cal and have traveled to Florida and Hawaii several times. I remember the tiki backyards as a child of family friends and I have owned Aloha shirts all my life. I feel that I have a strong appreciation of the aspects of tropical fantasies.

During my late teens and early twenties in the 1980’s I had a strong need to live the tropical fantasy, but Tiki just wasn’t there. This was the low point of the tiki culture, as you know, and there seemed to be only one ray of tropical sunlight shining in pop culture at that time. It was Jimmy Buffet (Oh, gasp!).

I have enjoyed his music for over 20 years. I have been to several of his concerts (but none in the past dozen years or so) and I own most of his works. While he has a few stinkers out there, I enjoy nearly all of his songs. I even conceder myself a “parrot head”; but not the obnoxious, loud-mouthed, frat boy, parrot-wearing junkie that seems to turn others off to J.B.

Now, since joining TC I have read many a negative comment about Mr. Buffet. This is o.k. with me. I’m a big boy and I don’t need someone else’s approval to listen to what I like. However, I am a newbie to the whole tiki scene and was curious as to the root of all the Jimmy Buffet dislike out there. Is it his recent “tiki time” tour? Is it his apparent commercialization that has come with his success (this one does piss me off a bit!)? Is it something else? I would love to have as much feed back on this as possible, if anything it will educate this new tikiphile!


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2003
Posts: 2158
From: www.crazedmugs.com
Posted: 2003-12-18 7:40 pm   Permalink

I can only speak for me.
I don't like his songs.
The tambre of his voice reminds me of Hindu music.

"Prayyying all day again in RajaShivaVille."

Island-y? Sorta.
Tiki? Not by a long shot.

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Nov 23, 2003
Posts: 20
From: Santa Maria, CA
Posted: 2003-12-18 7:55 pm   Permalink

That's a fair assessment. You can't like everyone's singing.

I agree about Buffet's lack of tikiness. I definately don't associate him with tiki. However, he has traveled to Tahiti and has even had a lot of polynesian influence in his album, "Son-of-a-Son-of-a-Sailor".

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11594
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2003-12-18 8:06 pm   Permalink

Knowingly or not, J.B. contributed to the decline of Tiki culture, allow me to quote the Book of Tiki, page 52:

"In the 70’s, the thus segregated Polynesian style was watered down further through a certain “Jimmy Buffet-ization”, the introduction of a generic tropical island theme with no definite identity. Be it the Carribean, Mexico, or Polynesia, everywhere was “Margharita-ville”. The popular T.V. show “Fantasy Island” typified this new p.c. detachment from cultural complicity, creating a world of white wicker colonial style decor mixed with exotic plants.
The fern bar replaced the Tiki bar."

It's just two different styles, and we like to keep'em apart. Tiki to us has style, while Buffet represents un-style.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 974
From: Oceanside CA
Posted: 2003-12-18 8:23 pm   Permalink

This subject often comes up, and there are definitive answers to it. Many members of TC are also fans of Mr. Buffet, personally I enjoy Buffet shows and have seen many. When you talk about Buffet here, you are framing him in the context of the demise of the Tiki Bar.

Americas love for the Tropical Cocktail was popularized in the early 30s and is still alive today. The Heyday of Tiki Temple, however, is long since past. Kon Tiki, Don the Beachcomber, Kon Tiki Ports, The Luau, have long since closed. There are many factors for this shift in popular taste. I would point to the Viet Nam War for helping change popular taste away from South Sea Tropical Fantasies. With Nixon drinking at Trader Vic's young people sought their own form of entertainment, different than their fathers idea of a good time. Also in the 70s popular taste changed from Mai-Tais to Margaritas. Many Tiki bars opted for a generic Tropical theme closer to the Caribbean than the South Pacific. Jimmy Buffet's popularity as well as his image of margaritas on a Caribbean beach was a death knell for the Tiki Bar. Was it Jimmy's fault, no. Did his mystique help shift popular taste, perhaps. So he represents a change in a culture we very much love.
( I was typing this up at the same time as Big Bro excellent post. Now mines a little redundant. Excuse me)

[ This Message was edited by: Alnshely on 2003-12-18 20:28 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 13, 2003
Posts: 1173
From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2003-12-18 10:45 pm   Permalink


I think part of the whole Buffet turn-off stems from the example you mentioned of "loud-mouthed, frat boy, parrot-wearing" people. At least for me it does. But the Grateful Dead have always gotten a bad rap because of the people that followed them, especially the ones in the late eighties who were so desperately trying to re-live the hippie life. I can see why people disike the Dead because of that. I still think they're great, and I just ignore the frat guys that were following them to be cool. I mean c'mon, when your parents finance your education at an Ivy league school and it's the 1980s, there ain't that much to rebel against except maybe bad taste.

[ This Message was edited by: donhonyc 2016-02-20 22:44 ]

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Basement Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3601
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2003-12-18 11:15 pm   Permalink

I am a snob, and that's why I don't like Jimmy Buffett.

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Sam Gambino
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 02, 2003
Posts: 2199
From: www.samgambino.com
Posted: 2003-12-19 07:57 am   Permalink

[ This Message was edited by: Sam Gambino on 2005-04-10 11:53 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2370
From: Corona, Ca
Posted: 2003-12-19 08:02 am   Permalink

I really like the way Sam Gambino and Alnshely explained this. For me, its more along the lines of what Sam said above. In the heydey of the Polynesian Pop era it was considered a formal affair when visiting a Polynesian restaurant - Don the Beachcomer, Trader Vics; people would dress up to have dinner there. These were exotic restaurants with exotic meals in exotic surroundings.

Jimmy Buffet is more of the Caribbean and/or South of the Border beach-bar lifestyle. Not exotic by any means but more "lets get drunk and screw." When I picture a Jimmy Buffet gathering, I picture tequila shots, Corona Extra and Fish Tacos.


Poly-Pop *

He who dies with the most broken mugs WINS!

[ This Message was edited by: PolynesianPop on 2003-12-19 08:03 ]

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Feb 07, 2003
Posts: 220
From: Tampa Bay/New Port Richey
Posted: 2003-12-19 08:36 am   Permalink

We all have things we hate and things we love. Me I happen to like tiki and I happen to be a Parrothead. I don't think it matters what others like or not. If you like it that should be good enough.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2720
From: Toronto,Canada
Posted: 2003-12-19 08:47 am   Permalink

I don't think anybody is telling anyone else NOT to be a Buffet fan, they are just explaining why they themselves are not a Buffett fan, since someone asked.

Me, I'm with BK. I'm just a snob. ha ha!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 05, 2003
Posts: 875
From: Vancouver
Posted: 2003-12-19 10:32 am   Permalink

Me too - a snob. An elitist pig, in fact.

It's never too late to have a happy childhood!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 15, 2003
Posts: 3006
From: San Diego, Ca.
Posted: 2003-12-19 10:44 am   Permalink

There's some Buffet I like, "Pencil Thin Moustache" comes to mind, but too much of his music is too '70s generic. It's like a soft rock band covering Eric Clapton covering "I Shot the Sherriff." I was forced to listen to his Christmas album nearly a dozen times while in Chicago the other week and all the songs sounded too smooth and all blended togeather, kinda like strained peas. I think the man's getting stretched a little thin, I mean he's an industry: 2 restaurant chains, a record label, a publishing company, the Margaritaville Foods company, the Margaritaville Stores, he's writing books and flying all over in his various planes. Add his tour schedule & when does he have time to put together new music?
Rev. Dr. Frederick J. Freelance, Ph.D., Th.D., D.F.S

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 21, 2002
Posts: 367
From: Phoenix, Arizona
Posted: 2003-12-19 11:13 am   Permalink

It's the obnoxious part of the loud frat boys fans that made me dislike Buffet so much. What is it that makes anyone think getting in someone's face will make them like what you like?
Lika Lika

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Tiki Bird
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 25, 2003
Posts: 850
From: Cerritos, Ca.
Posted: 2003-12-19 11:18 am   Permalink

Well no matter what everybody else says, i still like drinking margaritas, being lazy carefree beach bum who just wants to lie on the beach all day, & partying without a purpose in Baja!

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