“Garratt Wilkin & the Parrotheads” was formed in Northern California in 1999 with some great local musicians who found they were performing more Jimmy Buffett songs by request. Garratt’s band “The Whiskey Ducks” continued to receive more and more requests for Jimmy Buffett songs and was becoming known as the “Buffett Band.” One night, Garratt was approached by an agent and was asked if they would perform a show singing only Buffett songs and as they say in show business, “the rest is history.”
Since their initial transformation from Garratt Wilkin & The Whiskey Ducks to Garratt Wilkin & The Parrotheads, exclusively performing Jimmy Buffett music, the Parrotheads have performed as a six-piece “core” band and up to as large as a 13 piece band including Steel Drums, Horn Section, Harmonica and Pedal Steel Guitar. Garratt was quoted as saying, “Performing with the big band gives us the closest representation of the Coral Reefers and creates the look, feel and sound of being at a Jimmy Buffett concert.”
At the age of sixteen, Garratt picked up the guitar while traveling through Oregon. He began to play at campgrounds and campfires, learning what he could from other traveling musicians. Growing up near Hollywood, California, Garratt began acting in television and films at an early age. He has appeared in numerous television programs and feature films. At age seven, he was cast in his first episodic role on television in Jack Webb’s “Dragnet.” He went on to land other acting roles on such television programs as “Bonanza,” “The Waltons” and “James at 16.” As Garratt learned the acting craft, he began to be cast in starring and co-starring roles. In one of his finer parts, he appeared as the blind son of actor John Ireland in Michael Landon’s “Little House on the Prairie.” He appeared in the Season Premier of “Happy Days” as Joanie Cunningham’s romantic interest and co-starred with Susan St. James in an episode of “Mash.” He also starred in Walt Disney’s first PG rated film, “Midnight Madness” featuring Michael J. Fox, David Naughton and Steven First. In the ABC Movie of the Week, “Pigs vs. Freaks,” Garratt starred as a hippie in the 1960’s, acting opposite Brian Dennehy, Tony Randall and Patrick Swayze. During the filming, Garratt and Patrick became good friends, due in part, to their common interest in song writing and music. Garratt said, “We were filming on location in Oregon and the band playing in the lounge of the hotel we were staying at was Larry Mahan’s back up band, ‘The All American Cowboy Band.’ After all day on the set, Pat and I would show up and sing with the band all night.” Garratt’s music ability won him a part as a musician on a television pilot for NBC. This was Garratt’s first experience in a recording studio, where he recorded the theme song, “Instant Family” and got to work with Neil Diamond’s record producer, Jeff Barry.
Garratt’s interest in a music career grew more important to him. He began writing his own songs, telling of his own adventures, with a special style that he attributes to the influences of Jimmy Buffett, Jerry Jeff Walker, Merle Haggard and Rodney Crowell. Garratt has written a song dedicated to Jimmy Buffett and his loyal fans, “Parrotheads,” entitled “Gumbo Rock Pirate.” This song, along with a variety of other Buffett hits, will be on an upcoming CD performed by “Garratt Wilkin & the Parrotheads.”
“Garratt Wilkin & the Parrotheads” are experiencing an expanding popularity while headlining fairs and festivals in not only his own hometown of Placerville, California, but throughout all of the Western United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, and as far away as Florida, Texas, Vermont, Delaware, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Nashville, Tennessee. Garratt and his band have been billed as the #1 Jimmy Buffett tribute band. Garratt says, “Traveling with “The Parrotheads’ is a great way to meet Jimmy Buffett fans and to make new “Parrothead’ friends. We get such a kick out of performing for fans that become just as much a part of the show as we are.”