Kim Mitchell Knows You're Tired of Hearing "Patio Lanterns"
"Thank you to the fans for digging the tune. And those who don't, man I don't blame you."
Published Jul 05, 2021It's a safe bet that during a summertime long weekend in Canada, one may find themselves either under patio lanterns, or listening to Kim Mitchell's 1986 ode to the backyard decor. While still in rotation for some Canadians, many others could live without ever hearing it again — and Mitchell understands.
"I'm sick of it too — no, I'm just kidding!" Mitchell told CBC Radio's Cross Country Checkup on Sunday (July 5), calling in to share the story behind the song after hearing that "Patio Lanterns" was drawing reaction after landing among listeners' favourite Canadian summer songs.
Mitchell explained the song was partially written while driving around Toronto with longtime co-writer Pye Dubois. "[My] co-writer, as he was getting out of the car, just gave me a set of lyrics," he recalled. "And I sort of stopped right there, and in my truck, my van, I pulled my guitar up and started to write it."
However, the song nearly didn't make the cut when it came time to sequence the Max Webster frontman's 1986 solo LP Shakin' Like a Human Being. Mitchell explained, "I wanted to take it off the album, which is unusual."
He elaborated: "There's just certain songs an artist will start to record and things could go really smooth or they are an effort. But this one, we had to climb the mountain... So I was like, 'You know, I'd take Patio Lanterns off this, man. If I never hear it again, I'd be okay.'"
Of course, the summertime song remained, and "Patio Lanterns" will surely continue to be heard on rock radio and backyard bash playlists forevermore. "Thank you to the fans for digging the tune. And those who don't, man I don't blame you," Mitchell shared with a laugh.
But when those patio lanterns aren't lighting up his life, what is Mitchell's pick for a summertime anthem? It's Tom Cochrane and Red Rider's "Good Times" that makes him long for a summertime festival stop.
"I remember one night the Ferris wheels were going, the smell of all the deep fried food in the air, and there's about 10,000, 15,000 people out front — and Tom Cochrane was doing 'Good Times,'" Mitchell said. "I just love the imagery that he was putting out in that song and the lyrical content."
Mitchell is poised to play Toronto with Barenaked Ladies in 2022, and maybe "Patio Lanterns" will find its way into his setlist.