Story Behind The Song: Lee Brice - "Parking Lot Party"

In this exclusive with Roughstock, songwriter Rhett Akins talks to us about how "Parking Lot Party" came to be and how Lee Brice wasn't even scheduled to be a co-writer on the song when Rhett wrote the song with Lee, son Thomas Rhett and Luke Laird. Read on here for this amazing story.

I kind of thought it was going to be a wasted day. So we went and got something to eat, came back and pulled up in the parking lot. Just as we did, Lee Brice comes walking out of the front door of the office we were at. So we sat in the parking lot with Lee for a minute. Lee goes, ‘Man, do y’all have about an hour and a half, maybe two at the most, to try and write a song?’ We were like, ‘Yeah! Because Thomas Rhett’s not into anything we’re doing! [laughs] Let’s get on something!’

We asked him what he needs, and he goes, ‘Every song I sing is so serious and ballad driven. I need something fun, and I need something rockin’ for my live show … you know … just sitting in the parking lot, drinking beers or something.’ He goes, ‘Give me about 10 minutes. I need to call my manager, and I’ll be right in.’ "So me, Luke and Thomas Rhett went into the office," continues Akins. "I said, ‘Lee was talking about drinking beer in parking lots … what about ‘Parking Lot Party’?’ Luke turns on a beat on his drum machine, and we just sat there and pounded out this melody. By the time Lee got off the phone with his manager, we had the chorus almost completely written. Lee came in and was like, ‘That’s exactly what I need to do … something fun and crazy like that!’ We sat there and wrote this song with him. We put fake crowd noise in there, and I even got the microphone and was like, ’96.5 … this is so-and-so, and we’re out here with Lee Brice in a parking lot party!’ Just goofing off and cutting up, just to be stupid.

Lee ended up cutting the song with crowd noise and got [radio personalities] Big D and Bubba to do the intro in the song on the record. "We wrote it basically about people sitting in the parking lot before a concert," notes Akins. "Half of the people don’t even have tickets. They’re just out there on the tailgate drinking beer and playing cornhole and stuff. Some people don’t even go in for the opening act [laughs]. They wait until 7 or 8 o’clock til the actually go in the concert, so the whole song is just about people in parking lots having a party before a big show. It was just us going in saying let’s have fun. We never even intended to write the song. If Thomas Rhett hadn’t been in a weird mood that day, we probably never would have had the chance to write that song. It just so happened that we pulled into the parking lot right as Lee walked out the door. If we hadn’t gone to lunch, we never would have even known that Lee was in the building. That one was kind of a meant to be song."

Listen to "Parking Lot Party" here.