Three weeks ago today, I woke up to a world that was much less colorful, happy, and musically joyous than when I had laid down to sleep just a few hours earlier. The night before, the band had performed a very entertaining and successful concert in Tucker, Georgia. Everything was as it should be. The weather was beautiful, and a large audience was smiling, dancing, and singing along with the band, who were feeling great and playing wonderfully. All that was forgotten when I turned on my phone at 7:00 a.m. to discover that Jimmy Buffett had passed away the night before, most likely while I was performing one of his songs onstage.
The 24 hours that followed were an unexpectedly painful, frightening, heavily emotional, and confusing blur. As you all know, we had a show at The Boot Barn Hall that evening, which I was prepared to cancel as late as 1:00 p.m. that afternoon. Thankfully, prayers and some words with Mike Davis and Peter Mayer brought me to my senses, and I went on with the show as Jimmy would have wanted. Our show that night turned out to be one of the most inspired, emotional, and best performances I, and possibly the band, have ever given. All our spirits in the room came together as one with the music to sing through the pain and confusion we all were feeling. It was all very difficult, yet magic, cathartic yet heavily draining on me. But when it was all over, I felt we had all sent Jimmy on his way in style and that the evening could not have been orchestrated any better than it had been. I felt that Jimmy may have even stopped by for a minute to help me through some very difficult moments I had onstage.
In the three weeks that have followed, like all of you reading this, my heart and soul have been on a strangely unprecedented, painful roller coaster. I am on a little steadier ground than I was three weeks ago, and even though it is far from over, my eyes are dryer, and I see how important it is that A1A continue. I have had thousands of messages from fans near and far to drive that point home. To all of you who were at The Boot Barn Hall show on September 2, all of you know how special it was. It will be a day and a show I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life. Now, in accordance with Jimmy's dying wish, it is time for us to have fun and keep the party going. There's still so much to be done.
September 23, 2023
I cannot fathom that in five short months, 'Come Monday' will turn 50. I still vividly remember the summer of 1974 when I worked for my Grandfather, helping with construction in Inman and Spartanburg, South Carolina. My job was to sand, caulk, putty, clean up, and paint. I worked nine to five, Monday through Friday, and made $50.00 a week. That was a lot of money to me back then. I was a mere 13 years old and happy to work as hard as possible, for I was saving up my money to buy my first electric guitar. While at work, I listened to the radio all day long, WORD from Spartanburg, South Carolina, to be exact, and Come Monday graced the airwaves a lot that summer. I can still close my eyes, smell the sawdust, caulk, and paint, and feel the putty and sandpaper beneath my fingertips.
I remember one house we worked in that summer for a few weeks. It was a two-story in progress and sat close to a beautiful home next door. The home was attractive, but my eyes were drawn more to the beautiful swimming pool in the backyard. Yes, it was a hot summer, and I loved to swim, but I was more interested in the attractive young girl who lived there, who would swim with her friends every day. I worked hard to impress my Grandfather, but the girls and the music were distracting. (Some addictions start early.) In an odd coincidence, all my memories of her, which have stayed with me all my life, revolve around 'Come Monday.' Jimmy's beautiful melancholy love song embedded itself deeply in my heart that summer and has never left. In case you are wondering, I never had the opportunity to meet her. I would have been too shy to say hello anyway.
I have been listening to Jimmy's music all day today while working, but when 'Come Monday' began playing early this afternoon, I had to pause, look out the window, listen, and reflect. Upon doing so, I suddenly realized that the lyrics would never feel or mean the same to me again. For 49 years now, whenever I listened to my 45, cassette, 8-track, album, CD, MP3, or stream of 'Come Monday,' it filled my heart with many emotions; even when some were sad, I still gained comfort, because I knew things would be alright once the long Labor Day weekend was over. Then came today.
For countless people like myself, whose lives were deeply touched, changed, and even guided in part by the music, lyrics, books, and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett, the Monday our then-young Troubador sang about will never again feel as carefree and comforting as it did just four short days ago. The L.A. haze will remain, and from now on, we will all have an aching space by our side that will stay unfilled, for our hero will not be returning come Monday. The Hemisphere Dancer has flown its last voyage into the sunset and taken our beloved Frank Bama with her.
Those of you who have followed my writings and concerts with A1A this past weekend know how difficult this has been for me, as I understand it has been for those who have taken the time to read this far. So much has changed in three short days - three short days that have seemed like a month. I have spent Labor Day 2023 listening to Jimmy Buffett's music and continuing to go through endless emails, messages, texts, voice mails, and social media posts addressed to me. It is nearing the end of the day, and unexpectedly I am starting to see a distant ray of light. No, we will never again have the chance to see Jimmy work his magic in concert. As heartbreaking as this is, today, I have been thinking deeply about the music, magic, friendships, relationships, laughter, tears, and endlessly beautiful memories he gave all of us. These memories are treasures and can easily last for generations.
Ah, the stories we can tell, and eventually, we will, through smiles without tears. In time, the storm shall pass, the heart of Margaritaville will beat again, and there will be songs to sing forever in tribute to a man who touched millions. No, the coming Labor Day weekends will never be the same. The following Mondays will sting, but eventually, the blender will start to spin. We will once again find our one particular harbor, and all live happily ever after every now and then.
Count all your blessings, remember your dreams....
September 4, 2023
It is amazing what 24 hours can bring. I woke up yesterday to the crippling news that Jimmy Buffett had left us, and today I opened my exhausted eyes to a beautifully written article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution mentioning me, A1A, The Atlanta Parrot Head Club, and discussing Jimmy's passing and how Atlanta was dealing with it.
For so many of us, yesterday was devastatingly difficult. I am humbled, flattered, surprised, and deeply moved by the viral response to my Facebook post yesterday paying tribute to the passing of Jimmy Buffett. You will also be happy to hear that our sold-out A1A show last night at The Boot Barn Hall in Gainesville, Georgia, was a phenomenal success in every way.
I have so many people to respond to and much to share. Everything has changed overnight, and it is hard to take in. I have an emotional hangover today, the size of Texas, but please know that I am reading your emails and texts. Each one is special, and I thank you for taking time out of your life to share your thoughts and deepest feelings with me.
Please enjoy and share the article, play Jimmy's music all day, hell, all week, and find joy in the music, legacy, love, and friendship he left us with. Love to everyone. - Jeff Pike
Last night, like so many countless nights before, over the past 40-plus years, I went to bed with a Jimmy Buffett song playing on an endless loop in my mind, and like always, it kept me from sleeping. I no longer consider that a bad thing when my insomnia has a good soundtrack. I haven't in years. I just roll with the tide. Yet, when I awoke this morning, the wind had unexpectedly shifted, the tide was rolling in, and I felt an instantaneous realization that an unprecedentedly dreadful and unavoidable hurricane had finally made landfall.
The music, lifestyle, and global community that surrounded the man and all he stood for and gave us is that of legend. Jimmy Buffett was responsible for bringing an unfathomable amount of people together. Be it for fun, community outreach, relationships, careers, sharing memories, fantastic music, concerts, and a good story, or to simply sit on a boat or beach and look at the sunset while his music plays softly in the background.
I find it difficult to believe that this morning, September 2, 2023, anyone who followed in his wake can fully process what Jimmy's departure profoundly means, what a lifetime lived, unprecedented, and like no other. Like the universe, the ripples in the ocean of life that his drop made will expand forever. It is impossible to measure. He gave you a personal island in your soul, like no other where you could retreat to when the world was just a little too much to handle or whether you just wanted to blow off steam, smile, enjoy life, turn up the radio, and crank up your blender.
I have had the distinct honor and pleasure of making a living performing my tribute to Jimmy Buffett's music for the past 34 years. I cannot even imagine how my life's songline would have played out or where I would be today had it not been for the man and his music. I haven't the words to describe how the ripples of his music affected my journey. Perhaps in time, they will come, but this morning, I feel adrift at sea, alone in the doldrums and praying for the wind.
Jimmy Buffett, the man, all his band members, and his organization have always been very kind to me, stood behind the band, and given us many great opportunities. I have so many spectacular memories. We had a fantastic gig last night in Tucker, Georgia, and unfortunately, or fortunately, it is how you look at it; we have a show this evening at The Boot Barn Hall in Gainsville, Georgia. If I could, I would cancel, for I have no idea how to get through it in one piece, but the show must go on. I am sure Jimmy would agree. If you can make the show tonight, that would be wonderful. We can all say goodbye to an old friend together. I could definitely use a shoulder.
Ironically enough, tonight is our official Labor Day Weekend show, and Jimmy set sail for the last time yesterday evening, probably while I was onstage singing one of his songs. One of my fondest musical memories of my youth is falling in love with 'Come Monday' at the tender age of 13. Little did I know how far the love of that song would take me in life. It seems poetically fitting that Jimmy came to us through his first hit and pulled the curtain down for his last bow, heading out full circle for the Labor Day Weekend show.
My deepest sympathies and condolences to Jimmy's family, friends, bandmates, the entire parrot head nation, and the thousands of people I have had the honor to get to know and to perform for through the music and life of Jimmy Buffett. His was a life well lived, a long and memorable lovely cruise.
September 2, 2023