Tag Archives: Jimmy Buffett

Changes in attitudes

My memories are hazy, but 42 years ago tonight, on March 31, 1978, I saw Jimmy Buffett play at the St. Paul Civic Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Because my memories of that night are hazy, I emailed my friend Doug this morning: “What are your memories, if any, of seeing Jimmy Buffett at the St. Paul Civic Center 42 years ago tonight, March 31, 1978?”

Doug and I had been friends and co-workers for little more than two months back then, but he asked me to go along. Sure, it sounded like an adventure. However, Doug’s memories also are hazy. “Did Linda Ronstadt open?”

No, man, it was Emmylou Harris, and I had look to that up some years ago. I remember nothing from her performance.

Our memories are hazy because both Doug and I are older than dirt, and because way too many substances legal and illegal were enjoyed that evening.

Man, how long ago was that night? I was still almost a year away from dating the young lady I eventually married. So long ago that she and I have since seen two Jimmy Buffett shows together but both were almost 30 years ago.

What I can tell you about that night, having found a review of that show:

— The Concert Bowl was set up in the Civic Center — a hockey rink — by hanging a huge black drape across one of the blue lines, cutting the place in half. There were about 6,000 of us in the place.

— The sound was terrible, especially for two acts with solo acoustic sets.

— It was the first stop on Emmylou’s American tour. She’d just wrapped up a six-week European tour and had a new version of her backing band, the Hot Band. She covered Chuck Berry’s “C’est La Vie” and the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere.”

— Buffett played for almost two hours. Here’s the set list from two nights before at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee. Guessing the St. Paul show was much the same. I imagine 21-year-old me got pretty fired up when Buffett played “Margaritaville” and “Why Don’t We Get Drunk” and “Cheeseburger In Paradise.” But I really don’t remember.

42 years on, give me the more thoughtful songs that 21-year-old me almost certainly didn’t appreciate.

Like this one, co-written by Buffett’s friend, the late, great Steve Goodman.

“Banana Republics,” Jimmy Buffett, from “Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes,” 1977.

It’s said to be from another show on the Cheeseburger In Paradise tour, from June 1978, a little more than two months later, at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.

Somehow, it seems timely to still be singing about banana republics all these years later. Doesn’t seem that it’ll be too long before we have a bunch of soon-to-be expatriated Americans fleeing to the tropics, one step ahead of the law.

Late at night you will find them
In the cheap hotels and bars
Hustling the senoritas
While they dance beneath the stars

One more fun fact: The night before, Journey played the same venue with Van Halen and Ronnie Montrose as opening acts. Tickets were $6.

Van Halen was just a month into its first national tour.

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Filed under March 2020, Sounds

Songs for Andy

Andy is my friend. We are kindred spirits, throwbacks to old-school newsrooms that were full of characters.

Andy’s busy tonight. He’s getting ready to help some people who desperately need help.

Andy is, among a vast circle of friends, a legend. A burly, flat-topped, gregarious, swaggering legend.

Sometime in the next 24 hours, Andy will pass into legend.

Andy was sitting in the newsroom on Monday night, watching the 10 p.m. news. He had what his family calls “a significant brain incident.” Maybe a stroke, maybe an aneurysm. We don’t know.

Andy is 38.

Tomorrow morning, Andy will head to the operating room. He’ll be working with the organ procurement team from Madison, giving some other folks what they so urgently need.

Later on, we’ll say goodbye to Andy. Wherever they have it, there won’t be room enough for all of Andy’s friends.

A former football lineman who stood 6-foot-5, Andy spent his vacations working security at Summerfest in Milwaukee and at Brat Days in Sheboygan, where we both grew up. He covered cops, courts and fires and loved hanging with those folks. He worked at a bar on the side. He organized summer cookouts in the parking lot, Mardi Gras potlucks in the newsroom and countless other adventures. He quietly did countless small, random acts of kindness that no one ever found out about.

About now, Andy probably would demand that I shut the fuck up.

OK, how about a little Buffett, then?

“Growing Older But Not Up,” Jimmy Buffett, from “Coconut Telegraph,” 1980.

“Lovely Cruise,” Jimmy Buffett, from “Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes,” 1977.

It has been a lovely cruise. Peace, my man.

Postscript: Andy Nelesen passed into legend shortly after noon on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010. According to Andy’s family, his death was caused by a burst blood vessel in the pons area of the brain stem.

A second postscript: Since Andy passed on Thursday, we have been treated to some gorgeously sunny days and some beautifully moonlit nights. Those nights have been so bright, the moon casts shadows on the snow. OK, pal, now you’re just showing off.


Filed under January 2010, Sounds

Anywhere but Margaritaville

One night last week, I spent a couple of hours ripping some old Jimmy Buffett tunes.

I mentioned it, and a friend sent a good-natured little rip of his own.

“I’ll let you slide on this,” he said.

I know what he’s thinking. Jimmy Buffett? Not cool. Not cool for a long time, really. Sold out long ago. Too much marketing. Too many shade-, Hawaiian shirt-, board short- and flip-flop-wearing wannabes out there.

Yeah, maybe.

But I was looking to kick back that night, and I was scouring my old Buffett records for some laid-back tunes. That was the great thing about listening to Buffett way back when, that you could chill out to him as easily as you could get your party started with him. That seems to have gotten lost in the endless celebration of the Margaritaville lifestyle.

So I dug, and I found some Buffett from the leeward side of the islands.

Snap the cap on a cold one, put your feet up and go with the flow.


“A Pirate Looks At Forty,” Jimmy Buffett, from “A1A,” 1974. Ah, the wistfulness that comes with age.


“Banana Republics,” Jimmy Buffett, from “Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes,” 1977. The cautionary tale of the expatriated American.


“Growing Older But Not Up,” Jimmy Buffett, from “Coconut Telegraph,” 1980. Yeah, I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead.

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Filed under July 2009, Sounds

Same program, different channel

After posting that side from David Lindley and El Rayo-X the other night, I had the lingering feeling that it wasn’t quite the right fit for AM, Then FM.

Worthy, but not quite at home here. Just not the right vibe, I guess.

So now, I’d like to point you to our new project, The Midnight Tracker blog.

There, you’ll find vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

I’m planning to post one side a week, perhaps more as my time allows.

Please be assured that AM, Then FM remains the big hitter around here, and will continue to get most of my attention. I’ve been working behind the scenes on something special for the holidays, something I hope you will dig.

That said, I assure you I’m …


“Growing Older But Not Up,” Jimmy Buffett, from “Coconut Telegraph,” 1981.

It’s a nice little ballad that speaks to those of us who are older than dirt yet young at heart.

Buffett wrote it after breaking a leg while playing softball. The leg was in a cast when Buffett, then 31, was one of the musical guests on “Saturday Night Live” on May 13, 1978. (Buffett played “Son of a Son of a Sailor” that night. Richard Dreyfuss hosted and Gary Tigerman was the other musical guest. I don’t remember Gary Tigerman, even after googling him. Do you?)

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Filed under November 2007, Sounds

Ain’t no frozen tundra today

Man, it is way too nice to be inside blogging today. Sunny skies that go on forever, with light winds. Welcome to summer in Wisconsin.

Our 12-year-old is out on the river with his friend and his friend’s stepdad this afternoon, idly cruising around, maybe sticking a pole in the water.

I’ve just burned a CD of some cool tunes for summer. Here are two of them, from a couple of guys I’ve seen live and enjoyed.

If you know Colin Hay only as the leader of the ’80s band Men At Work, you need to check out his solo work. A terrific introduction is “Man @ Work,” a 2003 release that blended some fine originals with some mostly acoustic renderings of more familiar Men At Work tunes.

This is one of the originals.


“Beautiful World,” Colin Hay, from “Man @ Work,” 2003.

Jimmy Buffett needs no introduction. I’m no hardcore Parrothead, but I do like some of his older stuff. Like this.


“Lovely Cruise,” Jimmy Buffett, from “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes,” 1977.

Pour yourself a tall, cool one and enjoy.

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Filed under June 2007, Sounds