Delaware Beachcomber


Parrotville bringing the beach to any room

By Pete Beisser
    Attired in their nightly wardrobe of multi-colored Don Ho-esque Hawaiian shirts, Parrotville takes the stage six nights a week in their mission to spread Jimmy Buffett's laid-back tropical attitude. The five-piece tribute band covers the singer's catalog while bringing their own unique flavor to the mix that even diehard Parrot Heads can enjoy.
"We can satisfy a non-Buffett audience, too," said guitarist "Snake," "from young kids to people that can't even get out of their chairs."
   The Parrotville founding lineup consists of Remy St. Martin (lead vocals/guitar), "Jah" (bass) and "Hurricane" Harris (keyboard). They've been playing together for almost four years. The two newest members of the band are Snake with two years, replacing "Calypso" Dan at guitar, and "Jax," at one year, replacing "Spider" Jon, on drums.
For a third season, the New Jersey based Parrotville have made their Ocean City perch at Fager's Island. Although the band plays Fager's Island on Aug. 15, they are greatly anticipating being a part of the fifth annual Phunfest, an event that includes everything from nightly Buffet musical entertainment to Buffett buffets.
   "That's why we try to get down here. It's a big gig for us," said St. Martin. "There are real Buffett people here. They're probably the most consistent Buffett fans. They know every word."
St. Martin works to get the audience involved as much as possible, encouraging the them to sing along loudly, do the trademark Buffett moves like "The Fin" -- where audience members put their two hands together over their head to form a dorsal fin -- or participate in limbo competitions.
     Besides the standard songs that every fan knows by heart, like "Why Don't We Get Drunk," "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and "Margaritaville," Parrotville tries to play tunes that some casual fans may yet have heard. With an ever-changing set list, they play three songs off Buffett's newest album release, his 33rd, titled "Far Side of the World."
"Jimmy's music represents folk tunes with an island feel," said Jah. "The way we play the tunes, there's more swing, so they have a better feel to it. It makes it a little more contemporary."
The members of Parrotville have played all varieties of music before forming together in their appreciation of Buffett. The band members aren't always playing Buffett tunes though. Each member has their own individual interests and original projects that they work on when not together.
   "We have our own thing, and we hooked up on something that everyone liked. It's not the normal club thing. That's what keeps it fresh," said St. Martin. "We work as much as possible. It keeps us out of trouble."
The Ocean City Parrot Head Club, a non-profit organization whose 500 members are joined in their appreciation of Buffett's music, organizes Phunfest. It's one of more than 300 Parrot Head organizations around the world. The local branch organizes this year's three-day celebration of all things Buffett to benefit charity. Parrotville will play Fager's once again, on Sept. 13, as part of the event.
    "They are very much like Buffett. If you close your eyes, you'd think it was Jimmy. They're 99-percent authentic," said India Bandorick, president and founder of the club. "They're funny and they get the crowd into it. They cater to everyone, but they really appreciate people that like Buffett."
     This year, proceeds raised will go to the Ocean City Reef Foundation and the Humane Society. After the Phunfest event, the band will continue to travel from Maryland to Connecticut. Their venues lack the sand and surf that lend a hand in creating that tropical vibe, but that doesn't pose a problem that Parrotville can't solve with their wardrobe, music and attitude. "We bring the beach to the room," said Snake.
Originally published Friday, August 9, 2002