Danny Boone of Rehab Says ‘Bartender Song’ Was Originally Written as a Joke on Band’s First Album

by Jonathan Howard

Over the course of a music artist’s career, a record label can make a big difference. Rehab made it big off of their “Bartender Song.” But what about the story behind it? Music has the ability to influence people in many ways. Sometimes, music, and art in general, can have a different effect than what was meant by the artist. The Double Platinum song from Rehab and Danny Boone is a perfect example of that.

While the band was working with Universal, they were filling out their Graffiti the World album. The label looked back on the group’s Southern Discomfort, the band’s debut project, and pulled a popular and catchy song from there. All of a sudden “Sittin’ at a Bar” was turned into “Bartender Song”. It was practically an afterthought at the time in 2000, it was track 11 of 15.

Despite the contemporary success of songs like It Don’t Matter and Drinkin’ Problem, the label wanted the song that was a joke. A parody of the locals in Warner Robins, Georgia. That’s what Danny Boone told Outsider in a recent interview.

“The song really was just making fun of people from my hometown,” Boone admitted. “We put it on the first album, just put it at the end. We put it on the end of the record of the whole album just like, yeah whatever. That’s just funny, a good way to end the album. And, everybody went to that one! It just does to show you nobody cares how great you are,” Boone said before bursting into a big laughter.

Many of the songs from Rehab, including “Bartender Song,” are influenced by Boone’s daily observations. That’s been a constant in his career.

Rehab Cuts ‘Bartender Song’ for 2005’s ‘Graffiti the World’

When it came down to it, the label was a major deciding factor. While that label and artist relationship can be tough for a band like Rehab, Boone worked with it. Knowing that success for the big guys would ultimately give him success as well. At least for the time being.

“We like a lot of different kind of music [sic], but it’s hard to do that with a label because they don’t know how to plug you in,” the singer explained. “And I get that. There’s a lot of genre-specific things that you gotta do. … Their machine has to keep running and mine has to as well.”

That’s why there are so many versions of Rehab, “Bartender Song”. From the original “rap” version to the “alt/rock” version, and even a cut with Hank Williams Jr. When Boone and friends Brooks Buford and Steaknife first joined up to make music, they didn’t expect to be the genre-bending force they would eventually become. Now that Warner Robins shirt Boone wears in the music video seems like more than a shoutout to his hometown.

Through their own musical exploration and an attempt from the label to squeeze “Bartender Song” for all it was worth, the band put on a full display of their talents through one song. When it comes to making music, Boone is always going to do what he wants, though. And independence has been a warm welcome for the group.

“You know, it’s just like getting, just try to do what you want to, you know?” the singer-songwriter said about making music. “I mean, I really always, me and Steaknife, and I’m sure Brooks [Buford] early on, probably just imagined ourselves being a rap group. And sometimes life takes weird turns.”

Weird turns? Like a certified Double Platinum song from a joke about your hometown?