The Creation of the Parrothead Cosmos
Author: Staff Writer
Publication: Toronto Star
Date: June 12, 2005
Abstract: The details of Schmit's coining of the term "Parrothead" for Jimmy Buffet fans.
Known as "the Parrothead Big Bang," it's the moment when Jimmy Buffett's fans were given their name.
Credit for christening the faithful goes to Eagles' bass player Timothy B. Schmit, who did a guest stint with Buffett's Coral Reefers in the mid-1980s.
Legend has it that Schmit was on stage with Buffett at the Timberwolf Amphitheatre at King's Island amusement park near Cincinnati , Ohio , 20 years ago. As he gazed out at the frenzied crowd, he remarked that the same bunch of costumed devotees seemed to be following the band from show to show.
Not unlike The Grateful Dead's Deadhead fans, Buffett was said to observe.
Schmit took in the tropical scene: loud shirts, pirate gear, grass skirts and, yes, parrots.
"So the rumour goes that Schmit made these comments that they were like Deadheads in Hawaiian shirts," says long-time Toronto Buffett fan Derek Knights. Schmit dubbed them Parrotheads, and the name was hatched.
While Parrotheads agree on how they were named, they differ on the date and location. Most peg the Cincinnati show in the summer of 1985, says Knights.
Others insist it was 1984 and in a different city, possibly Pittsburgh or Cleveland .
"Everybody wants to claim it happened in their own area, but the smart money is on Cincinnati ," says Knights. "I'm quite prepared to believe to my grave it was 1985 at Timberwolf."