Originally published by Huffington Post on April 8, 2020
By Zi-Ann Lum
When Premier Stephen McNeil told Nova Scotians to “stay the blazes home” Friday, some people heard a stern, coronavirus-related public service announcement — others heard a song.
Jon Landry, front man for the Halifax-based rock band The Stanfields, said he was watching McNeil’s press conference with his wife, Shannon, when they heard the turn of phrase.
“[She] turned to me and said, ‘That’s a song, you know.’ And we laughed about it, she even hummed a few bars of the chorus,” Landry told HuffPost Canada.
“I swear, the exchange was 15 seconds long. We just went about our business for the rest of the evening and watched ‘Tiger King’ just like everybody else.”
McNeil blasted “reckless and selfish” Nova Scotians for continuing their shopping habits, business-as-usual. He said that kind of behaviour risks community spread of the virus.
“And then everyone is putting pressure on the public health to solve it, our healthcare system to deal with it, and government to pay for it, when all we have to do is stay the blazes home,” he said before getting up from his seat, walking out of the broadcast camera’s frame.
That was Friday. By Saturday, the Landrys wrote the lyrics, with nods to the premier and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. That afternoon, they shared a recording to a kitchen party-themed Facebook group where it was a hit.
“We’ve been professional musicians for 15 years and, you know, work on albums that can’t even get that kind of traction half the time,” he said.
By Sunday, the local radio station was asking for a studio version of the song.