As I was mowing the lawn the other day, listening to a mix of streaming music of my mild selection, a song came on that I realized fit in a unique niche: it was a song by one of my younger brother's favorite groups about a singer that was one of my older brother's favorites. "Allison" by the Pixies sounds by the title like it might be a cover of an Elvis Costello hit, but instead is a tribute to the last jazz pianist Mose Allison. This gave me pause because there used to be so much music that brought us together. Back when we three boys were in the back seat of the station wagon on those cross country road trips, we learned to campaign for those few songs and artists that lived in that sweet spot of rock, roll and music my parents would tolerate. Harry Nilsson, Neil Diamond, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel. With roughly three years between each of us, there was a spot in the seventies when we could all agree.
But as the eighties dawned, and my older brother found himself in college, and I worked toward high school graduation, shadowed closely by my younger brother, our music tastes fragmented and became our own. Friends and acquaintances outside our nuclear family began to influence our tastes. The sounds that emanated from our rooms and eventually our cars were distinct.
Except for Jimmy Buffett. It was during the 1980's that all three of us found ourselves ensconced in that group known Parrotheads. It was my older brother who brought Mister Buffett to the party, but it was the three of us who made him feel a part of our home. We listened to the records. We learned all the words. We went to the concerts. We bought the T-shirts. And somewhere along the line, the King Kong Trio was born.
Or re-born. Initially, the King Kong Trio was a group of three backing musicians who accompanied Jimmy on a stripped down tour. This tour coincided with the high water mark or our collective Parrotheadness. This period in history will also be remembered as a place in time when all three of us had found our way to the mythical island of Margaritaville, meaning that we were all capable of holding our liquor. And remembering all the words. The most infamous performance of our brotherhood trio was on the advent of my twenty-first birthday, after consumption of a few celebratory cocktails, put on a record and sang a long. At the top of our lungs. Migration. Fins. Cheeseburger in Paradise. And more. We sang until we were hoarse. Then we kept going.
Until we were through.
When I look back at those times, it reminds me of the joy of having brothers. It reminds me of the music that was always playing, somewhere in our house. It reminds me that we were happy.
Like I am right now, just thinking about it.