By the end of "Scoundrels" on Friends in Low Places, the tone has begun to change for the main character. "Another Deadbeat Summer" is a reminder that while great things may be going on all around you, sometimes, they don't necessarily involve you.
Bobby Mahoney and Jon Alba hit upon how the sixth and possibly most popular song on the album came to be.
Describe the writing of "Another Deadbeat Summer."
BM: "I had written 90 percent of the song on my own, but I had palm muting in the verse and open strumming during the chorus. It was Jon's idea to do big open strumming during the first two verses, and bring it down for the first half of the choruses. He kept telling me to strum it like Bruce Springsteen does in the song 'Don't Look Back.' I lifted the title from one of Elijah Reiss' films."
JA: "In the other articles, we've referred to the day we banged out half the album. This was that day. And I can vividly recall Bobby telling me he had a good idea for a song with a catchy chorus (which we had been looking for), to which I whipped out my guitar and began to re-enact what I anticipated it would sound like (with palm muting and fast strumming). He threw something at me after...because it was dead on. I battled with him for months on the big open strumming. We actually had a crash in the studio where we lost most of the original recording. Had that not happened, I'm not sure the song would have turned out the way it eventually did, because he finally relented."
It was your mother who first said something to you about the song. What did she say?
BM: "When Jon and I were first playing through the song, my mother walked in the room and asked 'Did you write that?' and when we replied 'Yes," she said 'That's it. Thats the song. Thats a hit.' Thus far, she has been right, as it is our most recognizable and popular song to date."
JA: "That was pretty cool. Ann [Bobby's mother] is maybe the biggest BMSS fan out there, and not just because of the obvious reasons. So to hear that, it was definitely cool. And so far, like he said, she's been right."
What made you wait to release the song as the second single for the album?
BM: "It is catchy as fuck, and it is something that a lot of people can relate to. We released 'New Age Outlaws,' the hard rocker, as the first single, so we decided to release the 'pop' song from the record as the second single."
JA: "Another Jon Alba-influenced decision. I should make more of them...but it only made sense. Bobby wanted to push hard for it as the lead single, but my ideology was, let's bait them with the rocker, and then unleash what we think is the catchiest next to leave them wanting more."
What inspired you to write a song like this?
BM: "The song is a composite of many summer parties and nights, including some that were extremely lame. I am not a party person, so I often find myself sitting on a couch, watching other people, and making mental notes for possible lyric ideas. Everyone has stories of awesome summer nights, and everyone also has stories of really shitty summer nights, and most people write about the good ones, so I decided to write about the bad nights."
JA: "Bobby is just the worst at parties. I wouldn't know how to relate. I'm pretty and popular and have lots of friends. Worth noting though, the original words to the end of the chorus were 'Another shitty night' rather than 'Another wasted night.' The first time it was ever performed, it actually had those lyrics too. I thought those words were a little too forceful, and how do we feel about the time spent at the party when all is said and done? Not necessarily bad about it, but the time was rather wasted."
How was the music video idea conceived?
BM: "We were originally going to do a party scene video with me being the loser in the corner (the role I was born to play), but decided against that because of logistical reasons. Instead, we came up with the idea to do an awkward third-wheel video on the boardwalk. Me being the awkward third wheel (the other role I was born to play) would be having the shittiest possible day while following around these two summer romance kids."
JA: "We really did struggle to figure out what to do. We were approaching the targeted shooting date, and Zack, Bobby nor I could come up with anything. I pitched the idea of rather than a party, send Bobby as the wasted third wheel on some kind of date. Zack then worked with us to narrow it down a bit, and we got the concept of a date at the boardwalk."
Describe filming the video.
BM: "It was so much fun. Liz and Chris [the leads] are two amazing actors, and we had a great time shooting it. The goal was to make it as funny as possible, while showcasing the awkwardness of the situation. Zack did an amazing job directing as well. He is such a talented person. We had so much extra b-roll that didn't make the video. Too much stuff for a short music video. It was weird to lip-sync while walking around on the boardwalk in the middle of the day and night, with random people around giving me puzzled looks. But hey, anything for rock. We had a great time making the video, and I could not be happier with how it came out."
JA: "We filmed the first portion of it at The Saint with the full band, which was a great gig. The night at the boardwalk was a long one. I had just come back from a full day shift at MLB Network, and we booked it right to the beach. We had our fair share of photobombers, but it worked out well. People really got invested in watching it. We did some things that were pushing the envelope a little bit that didn't make the final cut, but it was a lot of fun. Zack really is tremendous, as were Liz and Chris."
The entire crowd at the CD release show sang the chorus back to you for the first time. What was that moment like?
BM: "Surreal really. It was so cool to have people know the words to an entire song like that. People who have came to see us a few times know the choruses to a few of the songs, and thats great, but this was the first time people knew most of the song, and were actively singing along. That was a totally on the spot moment at the end of the song when I had the crowd sing along. I'm just thankful that they did!"
JA: "The most insane moment I've ever been a part of on stage. May never be topped. If you watch the video, you can see it in my eyes."
What has this song done for your career thus far?
BM: "While it is far from a 'hit,' it is the first time we have a song that is attached to us. Like 'Oh I love BM &TSS! That song 'Another Deadbeat Summer is so catchy!' or something to that effect. When we play the song there is always a spike in energy from the crowd."
JA: "It got us our first radio play. What more can you want than that? And it's awesome when I hear friends just humming along or singing the chorus to themselves casually."
Is this the best song you've ever written?
BM: "I would like to think that I haven't written that one yet. I'll get back to you in 30 years."
JA: "I prefer 'Tame Me,' but this one ain't bad either. It's not the best, but it may be the catchiest to date."
Friends in Low Places is available via iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify and various other outlets.
Friends in Low Places
Shot in the Dark