Sometimes getting the story behind the song is as much of a good time as the song itself. Especially when it’s a drinkin’ song. And when it’s climbing the charts during a quarantine. And when it’s from the always-candid Justin Moore.
“It’s ironic that all of this is going on and we have this song out. I told somebody the other day that I should’ve named it ‘Why We Day Drink,’” Moore told me when we had a chance to talk about his latest single “Why We Drink.”
“Because that first one gets earlier and earlier every day.”
Here’s everything else Moore told me about the sequence of events that led to the new tune, and the simple reasoning that he maintains is on everyone’s minds. More so now than ever.
CMT.com: What was it that made you turn all of your rationalizations for drinking into a song?
Moore: My wife and I had gone to dinner maybe a year or two before all of this. We were at a Chili’s or Fridays or something real fancy like that. And so we were there with my parents, and I had ordered two or three beers before our food got there. And my mom goes, ‘Why do you drink so much?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know, I just like it.’ Mind you, she was drinking a margarita at the time.
So that was it? Just one conversation with your mom inspired you to sit down and write this thing?
Well after that dinner, I was down in Destin, Florida with David Lee Murphy, Casey Beathard and Jeremy Stover. And I had this idea and the title, and I told the story about my mom to the guys. Then Murphy goes, “’Cause it’s Friday. ‘Cause it’s Monday.” Then we all just started kind of joking around about all these things. And we just kind of threw out every cliché reason we could think of for a few minutes. We literally were standing in my pool drinking beer — it was that simple.
But it’s not that easy, is it? Because you have all those opposites in the song. Friday and Monday. Sun’s up and sun’s down. Wound up and unwound. Ice cold and hot out. Grown up and still kids. The team lost and the team won. Were you still in the pool when that epiphany hit?
Well I’d thought it would be basically just a listing of every reason why you drink, but then I think it was Casey or David Lee started thinking about the opposites. And I thought, “Oh, that’s great.”
But if all of you guys were in the pool, who was writing this all down?
The weird thing is, we didn’t even write it down. We just kind of memorized it, which is not normal. I think Casey or David Lee had gotten out of the pool and was sitting in the swing with a guitar.
Okay so then who came up with the lyric — my favorite line in the song — “It’s alcohol abuse if you pour one down the sink.”
People say that all the time. You’ve never heard that? You say it if someone spills a drink or leaves one half finished. That’s alcohol abuse right there. So I’m not sure who had that particular line, but we all have a ton of one liners like that.
It’s such a perfect song for playing live shows, which I know must be killing you.
Well every artist is dealing with it. I tell you what, though, it’s strange to have a song going up the chart even though I’m not able to play it and see the reaction from fans.
Besides playing shows, what else are you missing about the good ol’ days of your pre-quarantine life?
I think my wife and kids are ready for me to get back out there on the road more so than even I am. Our entire lives — from when Kate and I started dating — I’ve been gone all the time. So we’ve never been together this much and it’s great. I mean, we get along better than we ever have, we have fun together and we’ve both done really well. I think until like the last three weeks we kind of hit a wall with the whole situation. Obviously I’m appreciative of having time with them that I otherwise wouldn’t have had, but there’s definitely been a flow to our life ever since we’ve been together. And since we’ve had kids, there’s defined roles and I think I just get in the way.
I’m sure you’re like most parents, wondering what will become of the school year this year. It seems like the decision on how to do it changes every day.
Well, there’s definitely health concerns out there. And I obviously don’t disregard that. But the thing about it is nobody’s talking about health from the neck up, you know? It’s all neck down. So I think if you can do so safely, you’ve gotta still live your life.
And music helps.
Country music does, because it evokes emotions that you need to get out, whether it’s raising a beer and saying hell yeah, or singing at the top of your lungs, or laughing or crying. So I kind of refuse to believe the narrative that we’re never going to get back to normal. Maybe I’m naïve, but it’s hard for me to believe we’re not going to get back to normal.