Buffett tribute band to play March 21
By Patt Keith
Break out a loud floral shirt, pair it with a lei and take a trip down the Atlantic Coast via A1A — the “official and original” Jimmy Buffett musical tribute show — not the highway — slated for March 21 at the Mishler Theatre.
Known for “tropical rock,” band founder Jeff Pike, who sings lead vocals and plays guitar, said he had been performing a one-man tribute for about two years when he invited Scott Nickerson, who founded the Atlanta Parrot Head Club, to join him.
“I remember we were sitting on the patio of a club discussing names when a girl in the Parrot Head Club suggested it and we thought it was a perfect fit,” Pike said. “I hope if she reads this that she will come forward.”
A deep desire to “do everything the right way,” prompted a friendship with members of Buffett’s legal team and then, in 1992, A1A won Margarativalle Records’ Jimmy Buffett Sound Alike Contest.
“That’s when Jimmy became aware of us. We started making friends with members of his band and then we played with them on stage in 1995 in Atlanta,” Pike said. Buffett has been generous with recommending A1A for gigs and for the movie “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” where A1A covers Buffett’s “Let’s Get Drunk.”
Then in 2016, Buffett called and asked A1A to be his band for an appearance at private party during the Master’s Golf Tournament at the World Surf League.
“It was a ton of fun,” he said. “It’s a good relationship (with Buffett). Our paths don’t cross often, but when they do it is a real treat.”
Pike said he first fell in love with “trop rock,” as a 7th grader when he heard “Come Monday,” Buffett’s 1974 hit.
“I like all kinds of music and it wasn’t my first love of music at first but I rather came to it by accident. I heard Jimmy’s ‘Come Monday’ on the radio and liked it and it stuck with me. But I really didn’t start listening to his music until I was a senior in high school in 1979,” Pike said.
After high school, Pike went to Shorter College in Rome, Georgia, where he majored in voice and studied for a double-minor in piano and theater.
That education is evident in the production of an A1A show with its tropical theme and extra touches — all enhanced by the audience’s participation in an A1A show.
“Just like they dress up for Jimmy’s shows, they dress up for ours and and it makes it a lot of fun. It’s like going to a Jimmy Buffett concert. They (the audience) dresses up in all kinds of clothes and costumes, from cheeseburgers, to sharks to boats, Parrot heads are a lot of fun,” Pike said. “One of the things about this gig is that it’s very easy to get out there and perform because everyone knows what they are getting and they are ready to have a good time by the time we take the stage. People have a very good time at our shows and we encourage it. We are a high-energy act.”
While the venue dictates the expansiveness of theatrical aspects of A1Aás shows, Pike said Altoona attendees will be treated to a 19-minute warmup of sea shanty tunes sung by “classically-trained and authentically dressed pirates. The duo will lead sing-alongs, interact with the band, line dance and more.
“They really add to the ambience of the show,” Pike said.
In addition to the 12-15 “must play” Jimmy Buffett tunes, A1A mixes it up with some Bob Marley tunes and A1A originals“but we keep it close to Jimmy Buffett’s style.”
“We’ve been very fortunate and blessed,” Pike said. “This wasn’t planned, it fell into my lap and it’s taken me all over the world.”
Mirror Staff Writer Patt Keith is at 949-7030.
If you go
What: Let’s Get Tropical with A1A, the official and original Jimmy Buffett Tribute Show
When: 7:30 p.m. March 21
Where: Mishler Theatre, 1208 12th Ave.
TIickets: $37, plus fees, by phone call 944-9434 or online at www.mishlertheatre.org