Todd Snider: A Ghost in the Catalogue

Article by Sean Neumann

In 1993, Buffett signed Snider to his Margaritaville Records label. Danny was there the night his son put his signature to a contract for his debut album, Songs for the Daily Planet, released that year. Seeing tangible signs of his son’s music success impacted the elder Snider. “I remember that night felt like show business,” Snider recalls. “Like something a dad could get. He was like, ‘I’m really proud of you. You’re working hard.’”

Danny Snider died less than a year later.

Todd Snider Pledge

FOR years, Todd Snider assumed he’d die in some sort of accident. A car crash. A tour prank gone wrong. He’d think of Elvis dying on the can. Buddy Holly in a plane crash. Janis Joplin’s heroin overdose. He says his mom, Micki, was always worried about him. She still worries. And his dad worried, too, but more about his son’s financial and marital prospects. 

Truth be told, with all the drugs Snider has taken, he has flirted with death. And in 2016, he says he started regularly taking acid to go with the pills, drinking, and heavy marijuana use. 

Snider was scheduled to play a music festival in Chillicothe, Illinois, but collapsed and had a seizure before taking the stage. His manager, Brian Kincaid, helped carry him unconscious to the medical tent. An ambulance arrived. Snider remembers coming to en route to the hospital. Kincaid remembers Snider waking up and promptly laughing as a young paramedic kept missing Snider’s veins with the IV needle—the result of a fast, bumpy ride and Snider’s inability to remain still. “I was tripping balls,” Snider laughs. “I was talking to him like, ‘Well, it’s me and you, kid! This is going to be a weird way to go.’” 

Miraculously, Snider recovered enough to play a gig the next night in Nashville. Doctors had flushed him out with fluids overnight and through the morning. With Kincaid’s help, they got him on the bus and drove as fast as they could to Music City. Years ago, Snider might have skipped the show, he says. In his younger, wilder days, there were times when he was getting busy with a girl, or simply got too wasted to perform. “There’d be maybe 300 angry people somewhere and none of them would sue me,” Snider says. “I’ve been really good about it in the past few years, though.”

Sean Neumann is a Chicago-based journalist and musician who spends much of the year touring with his bands. His writing on politics, sports, and television has appeared in Rolling Stone, ESPN, VICE, and more. Follow him on Twitter @neumannthehuman

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