Story Behind the Song: Shane Smith and the Saints, ‘Parliament Smoke’
Shane Smith and the Saints reflect on the challenges and triumphs of some of their years as a band on Hail Mary, an album they released as a four-part series over the course of 2019. Their song "Parliament Smoke," the fourth track on the full album, comes in the Chapter 2: The Fall segment.
That aspect of the album, bandmate Shane Smith explained to The Boot earlier in 2019, represents some of the project's heaviest moments: "The darker stuff," he related at the time. "A lot of that lyrical content is mistakes and heartache and poor decisions and regret." However, "Parliament Smoke" isn't all trauma and heartbreak; in fact, Smith describes it as "almost like a post-apocalyptic love story."
"Parliament Smoke" is also the only song on the album that Smith co-wrote with his wife, Lauren. Read on to learn the full story, as told by Smith himself.
On "Parliament Smoke," I'd written a little piece on acoustic guitar and started trying to develop a melody around that. Then, I sat down with my wife.
We were actually on a plane coming back from, I think, Utah. It was a late-night flight. She was sitting there, and she was just a big fan of the little snippet I had so far. It almost sounded like an Appalachian, bluegrass, folk-type of a thing, the intro of it.
As I was playing it, she would kind of sit there and be listening to it, nodding her head and just thinking through it. She was the one who came up with the actual melody of the chorus, where it goes high and has the really significant chorus melody with all the harmonies and everything.
Once that was there, I went straight back, pen and paper, and it was like, "Boom, here's a song." You know what I mean? It all connected. It all just made sense once we came up with that.
And it's just so cool-sounding. It sounds so different. It's almost like a post-apocalyptic love story or something, in terms of the content. It's like, the end times or something, and a Bonnie and Clyde situation where you're just trying to survive out there.