The Cosmic Magician, for Jim, by James
To all the friends and fans of Jim,
I want you all to know that we took care of Sharon and Jim here in Seattle. He was coming here for Laid Back Attack, an annual event named for his song. I never dreamed I would write something like this, but it was small payback for all the smiles and memories he’s brought to me over the years. I would not wish this on anyone, but it has been a true honor. All of the messages of support has really helped us be strong for Sharon.
Most of you do not know me, but I loved Jim for his friendship, humor, and music. I will truly miss him. Big events or solo house concerts, he never failed to entertain. I haven’t done anything more than any one of you wouldn’t have done for them.
The video below is Sunny Jim singing Jim’s Cosmic Magician. We made a slight modification to it, and we hope Jim approves. We sang it to Jim and said our goodbyes. I can honestly say that there has probably been more laughs than tears, and that’s a fitting tribute to Jim and the people he attracts. There are easily a hundred lines from his songs that I could quote, but one of the first and most meaningful for me is 'Living till the day I die'. He did.
Thank you to everyone who helped here in Seattle, and especially to my wife Nancy who helped me to help Sharon.
I hope to meet many of you down the road, and we'll share some laughs and stories.
Posted by Jim Morris on Thursday, July 14, 2016
Musician Jim Morris suffers brain aneurysm, dies in Seattle
Last Thursday evening, Bernard Johnson, owner of Bert’s Bar & Grill in Matlacha, reported that local musician Jim Morris passed away in a Seattle, Washington, hospital. Morris, he said, had suffered a brain aneurysm the previous Saturday and had been hospitalized and in a coma since.
The report Johnson received read, “To all the friends and family of Jim, we are sorry to tell you that last night, Jim passed away with Sharon, family, and friends by his side. Jim touched all of our lives in many ways and we will all miss him immensely. In Jim’s words, and in his way, Jim is now with the Cosmic Magician, getting the answers to those unanswered questions, like who gave us beer …”
Morris left home in Cape Coral Thursday to perform at “Laid Back Attack XIV” in Olympia, Washington, Saturday night. “Laid Back Attack” is a Parrot Heads of Puget Sound annual summer musical festival featuring “Trop-Rock” artists. Morris had performed at the festival for years.
In an Eagle interview last July, Morris explained that he grew up in Georgia with a family history rich in music. His grandfather led a dance band, and everyone in the family either played an instrument or sang.
“I picked up the guitar when I was 10 years old and taught myself how to play,” Morris said then. “It was my way to participate with my family when we all went over to my grandmothers and had a jam session.”
After earning a college degree, Morris worked in human resources management while at the same time wrote songs and dreamed of the day when he could become a full-time entertainer.
“I never felt like I fit into the corporate world,” Morris said. “I was a fish out of water.”
After 15 years in human resources, Morris took “the leap” by leaving the corporate world for good. He spent his time writing songs and playing in various venues around Southwest Florida. The decision to play all original music was a risky one.
“I spent about a year writing and developing a catalog of songs,” Morris said. “I was unsure of my ability to sing and play the guitar professionally, but I thought my songs might separate me from the other performers.”
Morris produced his first recording in 1996, “Laid Back and Key Wasted.”
Each song tells a story.
“The title track is about a guy who gives up the corporate world for the beach, sound familiar?” Morris asked. “Another is about a pilot that flies contraband; another is about roadkill; and some about sailing and fishing and drinking.
“After I moved to Florida I started playing coffee houses,” Morris said. “I built quite a following and after a while people started saying, ‘You know Jim, I love the music but the coffee isn’t too good. Maybe a place where they serve alcohol,’ so I found a couple of old style Florida joints like Bert’s and started playing there.”
Morris’ songs often contain a great story about doomed love or drunken revelry sometimes both. Among his many popular tunes, especially in Southwest Florida, is “The Backroom at Bert’s,” a song that includes several Matlacha/Pine Island characters and clever lyrics.
Morris produced 24 CDs of original music. His style is reminiscent of Jimmy Buffet and Jerry Jeff Walker.
It was a week ago Saturday, July 9, that David Monahan, a friend of Morris’, posted an online message that “Jim suffered a sudden and catastrophic brain injury due to an aneurism. Jim is unconscious and peaceful in the hospital with Sharon and family by his side. Your thoughts and prayers are needed for Jim and Sharon. Updates will be posted when available.”
An online search showed many radio stations and music venues posting positive messages and prayers for Morris and the owner of Bert’s, Johnson, displayed the sign “Pray for Jim Morris.
“Jim’s music (via his CDs) will be played in ‘The Backroom’ at Bert’s’ tonight,” Johnson said. “And Jim’s Corona w/lime will be on his table waiting for his return.”
“For over 16/17 years, Jim packed ‘The Backroom’ at Bert’s whenever he played there,” Johnson said. “Jim was a national act and his loyal fans have followed him to the Caribbean and even to the South Pacific for roadshow/vacations. His songwriting always left you with a smile on your face, a laugh or two and an appreciation of life. We will all miss him.”
A memorial service is in the planning stages.
Bert’s Bar & Seafood Grill is at 4271 Pine Island Road. For more about the waterfront restaurant, call 239-282-3232 or visit www.BertsBar.com
I have seen posts on the leaders boards and Face book requests on how to donate to a Jim Morris Charity or to donate in Jim’s name. I talked to Sharon today and she says that “Shoes for Kids” was one of Jim’s favorite charities and that would be a wonderful charity if anyone wanted to donate in his memory. That is the charity that all the money that Jim collected from the “$20.00 bill song” went to. The Charlotte Harbor Parrot Head Club website: www.CHPHC.com has a button on the home page where you can donate directly to the Charity. I believe the total to date from Jim and Sharon Morris and the “Twenty Dollar Bill Song” and donations from our club is over $45,000 to date.
This is a charity that 100% of all monies, shoes collected goes directly to kids in need.
Charlotte Harbor Parrot Head Club
1362 Grebe Dr
Punta Gorda, FL 33950
From the Hollywood Reporter: “Jimmy Buffett Musical Sets San Diego Premiere”
‘Escape to Margaritaville’ will feature both original songs and the singer’s classic tracks.
It turns out Margaritaville is pretty close to Los Angeles.
The new Jimmy Buffett musical will have its world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in the San Diego area, producers Frank Marshall, Mindy Rich, Anita Waxman and Beth Williams announced Monday.
The limited engagement will begin previews on May 16, 2017, ahead of its opening night on May 28, and will play through June 25.
Officially titled Escape to Margaritaville, the musical will feature both original songs and Jimmy Buffett classics. It tells the story of a tropical island resort and its charming bartender-singer who falls for a beautiful, career-minded tourist.
The show will include an original story by co-book writers Greg Garcia (creator of My Name Is Earl, Raising Hope and Yes, Dear) and Mike O’Malley (Yes, Dear and Glee), with Tony Award nominee Christopher Ashley (Memphis, Xanadu) on board to direct. The creative team also will include choreographer Kelly Devine, scenic designer Walt Spangler, costume designer Paul Tazewell, lighting designer Howell Binkley and sound designer Brian Ronan.
Jimmy Buffett’s ‘Margaritaville’ Is a state of mind, and a business empire
By BROOKS BARNES
New York Times News Service
May 22, 2016
His newest showstopper — a 17-story hotel near Miami — has three pools, a full-service spa and eight restaurants, including a seriously upscale steakhouse. That electric blue sculpture in the lobby? You’d swear it was by Jeff Koons.
Over near Orlando, work has started on his $800 million family resort, which will include a 12-acre water park and 1,200 homes priced at up to $1 million apiece. His company, which had $1.5 billion in sales last year, is introducing a line of jewelry. He has one of America’s fastest-growing craft beers. A team — led by a former Google executive — is working to transform his digital media business.
The man is Jimmy Buffett. And it’s time to toss whatever you thought you knew about his lazy, hazy Margaritaville out the window.
Forget the ville. This is a Margarita World.
“People are always shocked when they find out how big we’ve gotten,” Buffett said recently. “We just kept quietly doing our thing. Not saying much. And now — bam! — here we are.”
Margaritaville, with its themed restaurants (erupting volcanoes, boat-shaped booths), started as a tropical cousin to T.G.I. Friday’s. Through trial and error, Buffett and a partner, John Cohlan, have since expanded Margaritaville Holdings to include four booming divisions: lodging, alcohol, licensing and media. Now, as they pursue growth for the first time overseas, where Buffett has a much softer fan base, they are trying to recast Margaritaville as a broad, aspirational brand — the Ralph Lauren of leisurely escape, if you will.
“The stroke of genius was making Margaritaville a feeling, not a place,” said Mindy Grossman, CEO of the home-shopping behemoths HSN and Frontgate, where 400-plus Margaritaville items include a $799 hammock and $159 penny loafers. “If you don’t take the name so literally, growth could be endless.”
Buffett, patron saint of the untroubled, has long been known for his business acumen. In some ways, with his approach to concert merchandise and tour sponsorship in the 1980s, he created the model of musician-as-entrepreneur that managers for artists like Madonna and Dave Matthews have pursued more recently. Other singers have parlayed their personas into business empires but none are as singularly sprawling as Buffett’s Margaritaville.
“He understands his brand, which has a substantial reach,” billionare investor Warren E. Buffett, a friend but no relation, said. “One of the secrets to his success is that he never really loses any fans.”
Still, a thriving brand needs to steadily recruit new devotees, and that may be Margaritaville’s biggest challenge. While Buffett’s fan base includes young people — drunkenly singing along to “Margaritaville” in a college bar is practically an American rite of passage — his core followers are baby boomers. How does Margaritaville make itself more relevant to people in their 30s? What fuels sales of those licensed products once Buffett, 69, has warbled his last warble?
It’s a subject that Cohlan, who is Margaritaville’s CEO, was not especially keen to discuss. Asked about how the company thinks about a future without its public face, Cohlan said, “Jimmy Buffett is an American treasure,” and changed the subject.
A more robust media presence beyond Buffett seems to be one answer. Last year, Cohlan expanded the company’s digital media efforts, which already included a SiriusXM satellite radio channel. He hired Laura Lee from the Google ranks, where she was a senior executive at YouTube, and charged her with building a digital content studio, improving Margaritaville’s social media presence and introducing mobile games. (One casual game coming in July will have users searching for their lost shaker of salt.)
The goal is a fully formed ecosystem. Last year, an estimated 15 million people ate at one of Buffett’s 67 restaurants or stayed at one of his seven hotels and time-share resorts. The company also wants the masses to buy Margaritaville food at their local grocery store (items like iced tea, frozen shrimp and tortilla chips are on shelves), watch Margaritaville-produced videos on their phones and maybe even sleep on Margaritaville bedsheets.
Lee’s efforts could also lead to more traditional TV programming. A model is Vice Media, which began as a hard-partying video company and went on to sprout an HBO series and Viceland, a Disney-backed cable channel. Not by coincidence, Margaritaville in 2014 sold a minority stake to the Raine Group, a merchant bank known for its investment in Vice and ties to the William Morris Endeavor talent agency.
“The international opportunity for the Margaritaville ecosystem is really exciting,” said Joe Ravitch, Raine’s co-founder.
Fittingly, the Margaritaville empire started with a nap.
The year was 1996, and Cohlan, then working for the corporate raider Nelson Peltz, known for targeting companies like Snapple and Arby’s, had gotten to know Buffett’s wife, Jane, on the Palm Beach, Fla., society circuit. One day, Cohlan turned up at the Buffetts’ home to talk about the potential growth of Margaritaville, which was then just a popular song — released in 1977, it peaked at No. 8 on the pop charts — and a two-restaurant chainlet.
But the singer was asleep.
“Had it not been for Jane, who went to wake Jimmy up, this extremely successful partnership might not have happened,” said Richard Plepler, chief executive of HBO, who knows both men.
Buffett opened his first Margaritaville restaurant in 1987 in Key West, Fla. It found instant success — so much, in fact, that he opened a second location in New Orleans in 1993. But the sequel was a relative dud, and Buffett applied the brakes, rebuffing an offer from Walt Disney Co. to build a lavishly themed Margaritaville at a Walt Disney World shopping mall.
Enter Cohlan. He had recently experienced the Parrot Head phenomenon for himself — their wild tropical clothing, their endless tailgating — and had an epiphany. “All I really knew before I went to that concert was that girls would put on halter tops and play his songs when the weather turned nice,” he said. “When I saw him perform, I said to myself, ‘Whoa. Holy you-know-what. This is a brand.’”
Buffett took on Cohlan as a partner, and together they began to expand Margaritaville, beginning at the Universal Orlando Resort, which at that time was owned by Seagram. Buffett recalled how he told Seagram during negotiations that he had one final request: “Can you just tilt that bridge a little so that people leaving your park literally roll into the front doors of my restaurant?” Cohlan and Buffett cracked up recalling the look on the Seagram team’s face.
Just before the Orlando opening, Cohlan played hardball with Seagram over a liquor matter and inadvertently started a new line of business. Seagram, which also owned Buffett’s record company then, had introduced Parrot Bay rum, which Buffett felt co-opted his band’s Parrot Head imagery. Cohlan — quite seriously, this time — told Seagram that Margaritaville would boycott its alcohol.
In a matter of weeks, Margaritaville had its own tequila and beer brand.
The theme park Margaritaville has been a runaway hit since opening in 1999. Last year, according to Cohlan, the restaurant generated about $22 million in sales. Something about Buffett’s mellow, unchallenging persona seems to make parents feel OK about tying one on with their children in tow. “Believe me,” Buffett said, “I didn’t know I was going to end up as family entertainment, either.”
For this Thursday’s Happy Hour the PPHC is taking you out to the ballgame. Our regular last Thursday of the month Happy Hour is at Spirit Communications Park on Bull Street, Columbia. If you plan on attending you will need to meet Tom at the main ticket office by 6:45PM (game time is 7:05PM). Family memberships will receive tickets for your household (so bring the ‘Keets too) and single memberships will receive 1 ticket. It’s also Budweiser Thirsty Thursday so draft beer and fountain drinks are 1/2 price. If you can’t make it by 6:45, purchase your ticket and PPHC will reimburse you.
The Palmetto Parrot Head Club elections are coming up fast and your club is asking you to serve during the upcoming year.
If you think you are interested in serving on next year’s Board please let us know. We need to fill slots for President, Vice-President and several Board Members at Large.
We would love to have you and your ideas help guide the PPHC over the upcoming year.
Reminder from Debra Ranney, PPHC Treasurer:
I just want to remind everyone that membership renewals were due by April 1st. If you haven’t renewed please do so as soon as possible.
Twenty-seven years ago today, the first official Jimmy Buffett fan club was sanctioned in Atlanta. Founder Scott Nickerson had spent months working with Margaritaville and Jimmy Buffett’s people to authorize the Atlanta PHC. Their discussions laid out a framework to authorize other PHCs nationwide.
One year to the day later the 2nd official PHC was founded in St. Louis. It would take over 4 years before the official PHC count would reach double digits.
A lot has changed in the years since. The Palmetto PHC became the 3rd South Carolina PHC in 1997 (founder Linda Martin).
Today “This madness…has blossomed to a network of over 200 clubs around the U.S. plus international clubs based in Canada and Australia. ”
So raise a toast tonight to Scott Nickerson and the Atlanta PHC for starting it all 27 years ago!
Twenty PPHC members traveled to the Tampa, FL last weekend to attend the 5th-Annual Music On The Bay festival. The four day Trop-Rock festival was hosted by Tampa Bay Parrot Heads in Paradise Club, Sarasota Bay Parrot Head Club, Space Coast Parrot Head Club, and Key West Parrothead Club with the generous assistance and support of Whiskey Joe’s Barefoot Beach Bar in Tampa, FL. The Tampa Tribune was there to report on the festivities.
Parrot Heads flock to beach for music, supporting charity
BY GEOFF FOX
Published: March 6, 2016
Updated: March 7, 2016
TAMPA — Whiskey Joe’s offered a perfect setting for hundreds of Parrot Heads on Sunday, as the venerable watering hole, restaurant and music venue hosted the fifth annual Music on the Bay festival.
Under cloudless skies, music lovers from around the Tampa Bay area, 32 states, France and Canada sipped drinks with their feet in the sand and relaxed to soothing sounds outside the waterfront bar on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
The event isn’t just about four days of partying.
Over the last four years, it has raised more than $100,000 for Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa, said Dorothy Bedlin, president of the Tampa Bay Parrot Heads in Paradise Club and co-chair of the event.
This year, she said she hoped to raise between $35,000 and $40,000 for the hospital. The four-day event began Thursday.
“It’s like a carnival atmosphere,” Bedlin said Sunday, as The Jack Mosley Band — a touring southwest Florida group — made melodic sounds on an outdoor stage.
“It looks like we’re going to have a record crowd,” she said. “We usually get about 1,000 people on a weekend, but this year, we’re over 1,200.”
Jennifer O’Connor, the event’s treasurer, said Music on the Bay was “killing it” in the fundraising department.
“Dude, I’ve been counting money until I’m green in the face,” she said.
Money wasn’t raised just through admission.
Entertainer Bill “Sauce Boss” Wharton raised $675 over the weekend with his trademark music-and-gumbo-making performance, while Howard Livingston & Mile Marker 24, a Key West band, raised another $3,500 by selling off a margarita made with an outboard motor.
Livingston also raised money over the weekend for KOA Care Camps — a charity for children with cancer.
Tampa resident Steve Story, known to his Parrot Head friends as “Biker Steve,” said Sunday that he had been enjoying the music and atmosphere all weekend. He said that philanthropic work done by Parrot Heads, and the bands they love, is nothing new.
“The Parrot Head family is so cool,” Story said. “You never meet a stranger out here. If someone needs help, you help them. It’s about loving and living life, and being barefoot in the sand with your brothers and sisters.
“I’ve been having a blast, man. I don’t want to go back to work Monday.”
As Story greeted a long-time friend, Mosley’s guitarist picked a relaxing rhythm on his Fender Telecaster, while the band leader sang of “a girl in a string bikini, walking with her shoes in her hand.”
Surveying the large crowd, many of whom sat in colorful beach chairs, event co-chair Bill Connolly said he was proud to raise money for the Shriners hospital — with the help of countless volunteers.
“We work 12 months a year to make this happen,” he said. “We’re always looking for ways to improve and to raise more and more money. There’s no better organization than the Shriners.”
And to Parrot Heads near and far, there may be no better way to help out the children’s hospital than by enjoying life near the water.
Scott Janovsky of Raleigh, North Carolina, drove over 600 miles for the festival, as did about 50 other members of Parrot Head clubs in “The Tar Heel State.”
“This is our second year” at Music on the Bay, Janovsky said of he and wife Elena. “I love it. It’s a great group of people and a bunch of bands. The weather this year has been unbelievable. It’s for a great charity, too. (We’ll do) anything to help out the kids.”