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TIME's interview with the music veteran continues here. Read these extra questions with Jimmy Buffett.
If Jerry Jeff Walker had never driven you down to Key West, what would you be doing now and where would you be doing it? Zach Cato in Madisonville, Kentucky
If Jerry Jeff hadn't driven me to Key West, I would have gone anyway. It was definitely on my radar. I had been there in college and had been very, very much acquainted with the literary history of Key West. Key West didn't have really much musical history thenit was much more of a literary history, and a history of a really interesting, intriguing place at the end of the road, so I would've gotten there anyway. It's just I opted for going in luxury with Jerry Jeff.
Do you enjoy listening to your own music and what's your favorite album of yours? Carson Grubb in Spokane, Wash.
You know, I don't listen to me much. I listen to Radio Margaritaville [on Sirius satellite radio]. The good thing about having your own radio station is they play everything you ever did. [laughs] That is not something that happens in normal earth-bound, terrestrial radio. So as I'm cruising along, I more or less listen to Radio Margaritaville because I hear things and I go "wow, that song's pretty cool, maybe I should put that back in the show." That has happened a lot since we had the radio station.
I think the favorite album is Volcano, not necessarily for the contents of the album, but it was the adventure that went along with it... the whole idea of how we went to this island against a lot of odds and in crazy situations and actually came out with an album on an island that literally blew up later.
I'm a long-time fan who now lives in Reykjavik, Iceland. This North Atlantic island has something special that I think you'd appreciate. What are the chances of bringing Continental Drifter here? Michael Sheehan in Reykjavik, Iceland
Well, I actually have been to Reykjavik and Keflavik several times because it's a stop when I fly back and forth‘cause I've flown the Atlantic a lot. Iceland is the natural land bridge across the North Atlantic. I've been to the Hard Rock there, I've been salmon fishing, I've been to the pools. I like it. It's kind of interesting because, you know, in the summertime, it never gets dark there. I was exploring that once: the theory of how you go out at night even when there's no night. The Icelandic people have figured that one out. It's a beautiful, beautiful country. [Continental Drifter is] my boat in its third version right now. I'm looking at the Scandinavian countries that have very good boatyards there, because there's a possibility of a fourth version. And if there ever was a fourth boat, we could well drop a hook in Reykjavik.
Do you sometimes wish you were still a small-venue troubadour instead of a really rich guy with a lot of toys and way more responsibilities? Linda McDaniel in South Fulton, Tenn.
No. You get dealt a deck of cards and you go where you wanna go. And, I can be a small-time troubadour and still be the same person. I'm looking at the next ten years of what I'm going to be doing performing-wise, and if you look at what has just happened, I mean, I'm playing less large shows. In the beginning of this year I did a show in Anguilla, just on a little island next to St. Maarten, because I thought it would be cool. Then I went to Paris about 3 weeks ago and played a 400-seater. So there's a lot more of that kind of stuff on my agenda. Right now I'm pretty happy with the balance of going and doing smaller venues, which we definitely still do, as well as looking at neat places to play and then still playing [big shows] to the faithful.
I go to Margaritaville in Las Vegas several times a year, but I never see your band playing there. When is that going to happen? Julie Geer in Seattle
My band has played there. We played there several times. We opened the place. The great thing is the unpredictability of when and where we might show up in a small venue. We know how cool it is when you do that because people don't expect you to do it. I kind of got the idea from the Rolling Stones many years ago: they'll go play little small venues, because when you come out of those places you feel so kind of at home. It's where you got good.
What is your opinion on our latest immigration woes along the border? Mario Quintero in Indio, Calif.
You can't lump everything into one piece of legislation, I don't think. I think we are a country of immigrants and I see hardworking people every day who come here and I believe it to be our greatest asset. So you better not be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Just look at who is driving cabs and who is in the kitchens. It is the latest people who got here, you know? It's the entry-level jobs. You can sit there and raise all the hell you want about an immigration bill and building borders. But we all seem to assimilate pretty well, that is just my attitude on it. It is a tricky issue but I don't think we are built to be an isolationist countrywe never have been.
What was your best experience while a struggling singer and songwriter? Barbara Bernacchi in Chicago
I think it was the first time that I heard somebody who had recorded one of my songs. It was an old country singer called Lefty Frizzell and the first song of mine that anybody else recorded was called "Railroad and Lady." I was living in Nashville and trying to make a living as a songwriter as well as a performer, which was really hard, because nobody wanted to hear what you had to say. It was very competitive and very controlled. Still to this day, very few people recorded my songs, but the list is pretty cool. It includes Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and people like that. But after that first one, yeah, you figured you were in the game.
Do you think you will ever really retire? And if so, what will you do then? David Harty in East Norriton, Penn.
There is the answer to your question. What would I do? As long as this is fun and I am healthy, it's an amazing run. I go out for a show and I have to pinch myself. Longevity is not something you get into songwriting for. We are four decades into this and still going strong and I am just eternally grateful, so leaving it would be very hard for me. It is kind of like Joseph Campbell used to say: if you have found your bliss, it is like a great old car. You don't want a new car, you just want to paint the bumper, change the seat cover: you just want to treat it well, not get a new car. That is how I feel about performing. Retiring is not an option for me, because what else would I do? I have plenty of time to go do the things I want to do now, but there is still something very unique about getting on the stage, that very few people get to do. And I am not quite ready to not do it.
As a survivor of an era of drugs, booze and crazed behavior, what was the moment that helped you transition to the next stage of creative fulfillment? Mak Wolven in Den Haag, Netherlands
When hangovers started turning into surgical recovery days, I figured I couldn't lose this time or this gift. I had to do something about it.
How do you stay in good health and condition at your age? Rick Sintes in Las Vegas
I am an avid surfer. I surf every morning I possibly can in my summer home up in New York and when I am in the Caribbean. Not only is it fun, but just ask anybody who does it: there is much more to it than just the fun of riding a wave. There's the exercise part and the fact that it is a very connected thing. I consider it almost like religion, since I am not a very religious person. I think the ocean is the place where I am most peaceful on this planet. So I ride my bicycle, I surf and I do a little yoga. So far so good.
You have multiple albums with an awesome variety of music. Why do the radio stations only seem to have two of your songs on hand? Dolores Gormley, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Well, I think that's the way radio has always been. It is a controlled businessyou have to sound a certain way to get on it. I never altered my music to do that. I made some albums where I might have bent my music, and they probably weren't some of my best efforts. But I always knew that if I had that parallel performing career, radio wouldn't be a real important thing for me. What was nice was having people pay their hard earned money to come in and have you entertain them for a couple of hours. That was much more important to me, always.