Jimmy Buffett had long been slated to be a surprise guest at the Telluride Film Festival on Labor Day weekend: “I was going to be at the festival two weeks ago,” said noted novelist Tom McGuane, a friend with Buffett for 50 years and his brother. -in-law for almost the same time. McGuane was speaking at the premiere of a documentary featuring the two stars, “All That Is Sacred,” which had its world premiere in Colorado Saturday morning, just 12 hours after Buffett’s death.
Before he got on a plane from Telluride, McGuane talked to him about watching Buffett’s rise — and subsequent rise — over half a century. As the documentary about them shows, they were part of a group of friends in Key West, Florida, in the early and mid-1970s, which also included famous or up-and-coming writers such as Jim Harrison and Richard Brautigan. They had other good reasons to stay in touch when that gang broke up… like McGuane’s wife, Laurie, being Jimmy’s sister… or it’s hard to keep fishing buddies apart.
“There’s a Mexican saying that says everyone knows they’re going to die, but no one believes it,” McGuane told the Telluride crowd. “And I think when you get to my age and every week there’s a phone call from a friend with cancer or a friend who’s died… Jimmy died last night, and he seemed so energetic and energetic in all his life, every day. moment of it, that it is hard to believe that he would not be led by death to leave the room.”
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“I wrote a letter to Jimmy and my wife read it to him the day before yesterday. The letter was about that feeling when you know death is imminent… It was full of all sorts of things. And I was able assured Jimmy – ‘Bubba,’ he cried. – I was able to assure Bubba that whatever he did would ensure a long life ahead. And I said, ‘You won’t be there for the applause.’ ‘ He said to me: ‘Great'”.
“I agree with Bob Dylan that he was a great songwriter. That’s what Dylan thought. [En una entrevista posterior, Dylan citó a Buffett entre la media docena de compositores que le habían influido, junto a Randy Newman, John Prine, Gordon Lightfoot, Guy Clark y Warren Zevon].
“One of the things that I think was the genius of Buffett in terms of a long-term career is that he didn’t really change. He wasn’t a different kind of singer. He wasn’t a disco singer. He wasn’t a metal singer from start to finish. , you always knew who was singing the songs.
“I think for a lot of modern music people, Jimmy probably didn’t get all the credit he should have for his originality as a composer. the beach in three jets, the picture didn’t make sense to some people, especially the illuminati newspapers write about this stuff, you know, one of them was in the Times today: ‘Jimmy Buffett, who made a fortune writing a song about sitting on the beach, he was not alive.’
“But you have to remember, when I met him, I hadn’t shopped in a few years and (he and Laurie) were lower middle class kids. So you had the magic to have more than you need and all But he stuck with the old gang too, even after he suddenly became a big name, he was famous and so were we. In my life I am best known as Jimmy Buffett’s brother in law.
“I remember him saying once, ‘These are the best eye drops you can get. David Geffen gave them to me.’ Those were some of the references he made that weren’t in our dictionary before. Or if you wish to go fishing.somewhere He would get the plane and the rest of us managed to reach the destination.That changed a little physically But he never lost contact with anyone from the first group that. We all remain friends all our lives.
“Jimmy was a reader. In fact, a friend of his gave me his copy of EB White’s Collected Essays, and his comments were on the edge of every sentence. Her mother was very educated and a great reader of books. She wanted to go to the always in college, and he couldn’t afford it. She ended her working life and went to college and graduated after starting at age 65. And he read all the time , apart from music or anything else, he was very intelligent and curious and had a lot of energy.
“He always worked hard on his music, even when there was not much support for him. [en la época de Key West]. We would all get together and he would play us his songs, some of which later became famous with a very professional production, but I would stick to the version where he picked them on his acoustic guitar and sang them. I’ve always felt they missed something with the performance, but I don’t think anyone else thinks the same.
“Years later, I was with him when his book (‘Tales From Margaritaville’) hit number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Every Parrothead in America walked into a bookstore and bought the that book. Some booksellers said, ‘We’). None of us (the Key West writing group) had seen it, we were all happy. I think maybe Jimmy thought it was some kind of victory for the old nag , but it wasn’t.
“He was a wonderful man. He loved other people, and he was charming in the context of his family, his siblings, and his parents. He took very good care of his parents, and he sent my wife to college. He and I put our nieces in school. He hasn’t changed much, not only through a long and varied life, but also through a long life of extraordinary wealth.
“He was very smart, just like Jim Harrison; those guys were very smart. One time we were casting for a film I was in, and we went to New York with the director and we were looking at pictures we had different actors. thinking, and we made bitter comments about everything we saw. And Buffett was so funny that I remember the director saying, “We better quit. His mind is much faster than ours.’
“He lived a long life, he was very successful, he’s very well known and he did pretty much what he wanted. I mean, he was on top of the world for half a century, he was very successful at the time. And most Music careers aren’t like that, you just have Bruce Springsteen and a few other people. He had such a following that they’re going to name the streets after him, I mean, (the memorials) will they are like a national holiday.
“I’m not religious, but I’m not sure (that death is the end). I mean, for 150,000 years of what we know, there are people who believed that there was something beyond death, and it’s not some A guy with a beard. .and robes, but there’s something inexplicable about the human spirit… I was interviewed for a profile not long ago, and the guy said, ‘What do you expect when I die?’ And I said: ‘A surprise.’
“So I said a few things to Jimmy when I wrote it (the last letter). One of the things I said to him was, ‘So you don’t know what’s going to happen? Neither do I. Leave some space. .” “.