Latitude Margaritaville, an over-55 residential housing development owned by entertainer Jimmy Buffett's holding company, is scheduled to open in 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Buffett's fans, a Hawaiian shirt-wearing, party-down subgroup of AARP known as Parrotheads, are lining up to get in. The developer reports they've already had 10,000 inquiries.
How the Beatles and the Rolling Stones didn't think of this first is a puzzlement, but still, it may be an omen. If this is successful, every music star in the business will want to build their very own housing development. Watch your mailbox: It won't be long before you'll be getting junk mail that says you've won a free trip to Florida if you visit Herman's Hermitage, Bob Dylan's Desolation Row Timeshares, the Beach Boys' Surf Seniors or Garth Brooks' Friends in No-Snow Places.
There's not as much money in recorded music as there used to be, thanks to the internet. But there IS plenty of money in selling real estate to seniors, and if you were 13 when the Beatles hit, you just turned 67. "Can't Buy Me Love," maybe, but you can buy me a lovely beachfront condo.
It's hard to imagine a retirement village run by your average aging rock star. After all, being young and being "young at heart" are two very different things.
At 55, "festival seating" means a recliner in the den. What would living at a place called, say, Backstage Pass Gated Community be like? Would it be on a Caribbean tax haven island so the rock star could keep his money while he's taking yours? Instead of guards, you'd have to get past his roadies at the front gate. And the age requirements would be a little different for him than for the rest of the residents. Everybody would have to be over 55, except the rock star's current girlfriend, who is 24 and looks 16. He's 75 and has just had a makeover. He now looks uncannily like Captain Jack Sparrow.
The early dinner is at midnight. No one is allowed to go to bed before dawn, and no waking up before 2 in the afternoon. There is a 10-drink minimum at bar. You have to sign a 30-page contract stipulating that certain things cannot be brought on the property -- brown M&Ms, generic bottled water and domestic champagne -- and that other things must be available at all times. Like a boa constrictor, Cristal champagne and a hairdryer.
And will it stop with just individual rock stars? Why not the whole rock experience? I can almost see the brochures now.
"Got an empty nest, but not ready for a 'retirement community'? Why not trade that big, empty house for one of our tiny tents on Woodstock Farms? Situated on a muddy field in upstate New York, there's so much to do, you'll wonder why you didn't get older sooner. No shuffleboard here; no golfing, no sea breezes. You'll be too busy volunteering at the community kitchen, alerting people to the bad Viagra going around, bathing naked with hundreds of others in our all-natural pond and searching for the spouse you came with. Space is filling up fast, so call today. From the low $300,000s. Private porta-potties, extra."
"Love the Grateful Dead? Went to over 500 of their concerts and collect recordings of their live performances? Now you can live the dream. At Nearly Dead Villa, all Deadheads will live under one roof -- talking, sharing tapes, and jamming day and night. It's just like San Francisco in the late '60s, except you're the one in your late 60s now."
The sad news is that so many rock stars never made it to 55. Buddy Holly, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Ricky Nelson, Mama Cass, Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, Bobby Darin, Jackie Wilson, Elvis, John Lennon, the list goes on and on.
Jimmy Buffett is 70. Maybe I'll inquire about Latitude Margaritaville. He must be doing something right.