Story Behind the Song: Midland, ‘Drinkin’ Problem’
Midland scored a No. 1 hit with their debut single, "Drinkin' Problem," a song from their freshman album, On the Rocks. The song, written by band members Mark Wystrach, Cameron Duddy and Jess Carson, along with hit tunesmiths Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, was penned as Midland were just getting to know McAnally and Osborne, and long before Midland signed with their label, Big Machine.
Below, Wystrach, McAnally and Osborne share with The Boot their memories of the day they wrote "Drinkin' Problem."
Mark Wystrach: The first time we met, we went over to [McAnally's] office, and we drank some beers and we just got to know each other. There was immediately a chemistry and a kinship. We’re all kind of kindred souls.
It just happened really natural, and we just started talking. I think Jess was the one that said, "Man, I’m kind of obsessed with Gary Stewart," and Shane freaked out and Josh freaked out, and before you knew it, after getting to know each other for the first hour and a half, we started strumming some chords.
If I recall, I wrote most of the song, and these guys were kind of just goofing off [laughs].
Shane McAnally: It was the first song we wrote together, which was really crazy, to think about how it sort of became the cornerstone to the sound and the record deal, and just everything started happening around this song. It was obviously fate that this would be the first song that we sat down and wrote together.
And because there’s five of us in the room, I think a lot of times people would see that and think, "Oh, it must have been easier." The truth is, having five people in the room is really too many … but because everyone already sort of knew where it was going, we just had to kind of shape it.
Josh had heard this hook in an old episode of M.A.S.H. ...
Josh Osborne: I had seen an old episode of M.A.S.H., and one of the characters had said, "Well, people are saying you have a drinking problem." I don’t even remember which character it was, but he said, "Well, I got no problem drinking at all." I wrote it down in my phone, but it was such a traditional country hook that it just didn’t fit everywhere.
We had heard a little bit of what these guys were doing when they reached out to Shane and I to write with them. I mentioned it to Shane: I said, "I have this idea. I don’t know if it’s exactly what they’re going to want to go for, but I’ve just been sitting on this idea." Shane loved it ...