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The responsibility avoidance plan of musician Todd Snider

by Jordan Green

The responsibility avoidance plan of musician Todd Snider

Todd Snider is a folkie of the couchsurfing, party-hearty, leftist-invective, personal-ache, sardonic-wit variety. Kind of like a cross between two of his heroes, Woody Guthrie and Jimmy Buffet, but more brilliant, troubled and eclectic than either. So how did he come to employ a small platoon of publicists, schedulers, marketers, accountants and managers from New York to San Francisco? It has to do with a call from Jimmy Buffet in 1994 was Snider was 25 years old and keeping his money in a coffee can. Buffet introduced him to an accountant. From there the idea blossomed to surround oneself with people vested with the practical skills and sense of loyalty to enable the artist to create. Snider likes the term “family,” as in the Grateful Dead family or the Yonder Mountain String Band family. Buffet and John Prine have “great, un-materialistic” people in their organizations. The Rolling Stones may be the ultimate family band. “They move 300 to 350 people across the country,” Snider says. “It’s like a high school. Mick knows every one of them by name.” To sum up, he says, “There are these people who are working to make sure I can be a stoner and never have to give a shit about anything except what words I can rhyme.” Preparing for the June 9 release of a new album, The Excitement Plan, on Chapel Hill-based Yep Roc Records and a debut at Bonnaroo, the penultimate East Coast festival, and the smaller Shakori Hills festival in rural North Carolina, Snider seems to have kept his humility intact. The guy is genuinely personable on the telephone, expressing appreciation for the publicity. He’s loose, funny and unconcerned about the time. He’s got a practice scheduled with his side project, Elmo Buzz & the Eastside Bulldogs. He says his wife will tell him when it’s time to get off the phone. Snider never had much interest in 9- to-5 jobs. Except for the fact that he’s

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Todd Snider performs at the Shakori Hills festival in Chatham County at 8 p.m. on April 17. Call 919.542.8142 or visit www.shakorihills.org for more information.

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