Jimmy Buffett has made a career out of singing about getting wasted and taking it easy. Many of us could live without ever hearing “Margaritaville,” his 1977 hit about a lazy drunk guy, again, but he’s built a restaurant chain out of the song. In fact, he’s got two chains, as “Cheeseburger in Paradise” is another one. Now he’s taking it one step further. It’s been reported that the singer/songwriter is branching out into the next logical step – Buffett-themed retirement communities. Latitude Margaritaville is an “active adult community” for those 55 or older. The first one will open in Daytona Beach, Florida, and has already received 10,000 registrations since it’s announcement two weeks ago.
This is ridiculous, but will likely be successful. Given that the typical Buffett fan is a lawyer in his 50s that might be looking for a place to live with his kids out of college, it makes sense he might want to settle down somewhere that (to a Buffett fan) might be less depressing than an old folks home. The singer’s built an empire out of songs about his Florida lifestyle, and a community of like-minded fans might sound insufferable to anyone that doesn’t like Buffett, but fun for a megafan. With that being said, are there bands (or brands, for that matter) where this might work in the metal community? We have a few in mind that either have the fan base to make it work or the craven consumerism to try it. Starting with…..
We’re sure Gene Simmons’ tongue perked up when he heard about this. There’s no band that’s found ways to get money out of their fans any more than KISS has. You can buy KISS cola, a bike, condoms, and Hello Kitty KISS dolls. They’ve had action figures in the ’70s, and now that many of their original fans are somewhere around their ’70s themselves, you can bet Gene’s meeting with his people to try to capitalize on this.
Let’s face it, another brand that’s being exploited is Ozzy Osbourne. He owes his career, and quite possibly his life, to Sharon Osbourne. But between Ozzfests, The Osbournes, and the final Black Sabbath tour that just wrapped up, Ozzy’s name has been out there, and Sharon’s used her tenacity to build an empire. Currently working on a solo album, the 68 year-old probably has that album and a tour or two in him before he hangs it up. However, if Sharon was to set up an “active adult community” where willing metalheads could live, it’d be another great way to get money out of his fans. Buffett’s Margaritaville will have a concert stage. It’d be easy to imagine an “Ozzfest” taking place an Ozzy-themed community as well.
As Metallica get older, they’re touring a lot less. They’re still a very active band, however. But as one of the world’s most popular bands, they’ve got fans willing to follow them pretty much wherever they go. While they’re far off from talking about settling down, as demonstrated by Metallica Through the Never and two years of the Orion Fest, the band are ok with trying unconventional things. If Buffett’s plan works out, it’d be easy to imagine some of the bigger bands with communities around them giving it a shot. While Metallica doesn’t quite have a fan base as passionate as Phish fans are, there are people that be on board wherever they may roam, even if that place is a retirement community for aging metal fans.
At least it will give people a place to hang out while they wait for the follow-up to 10,000 Days to come out. Tool fans actually are as passionate as Phish fans are. The band would never sign off on this, but if they did, there would be a lot of people that signed up, especially if Alex Grey moved his Chapel of Sacred Mirrors to their community and Maynard’s wine was served there.
Hell, if they can get their fans to crowdfund 1/3rd of a building in just one week by charging $52 for a bunch of audio files, then getting them to spend significantly more than that for a place to live and die shouldn’t be a problem at all, right?