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High on Stress “Cop Light Parade” (Influenza)

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: , , .

Approach Influenza as a series which serves to help give insight as to where music is born; these are the thoughts, influences and the inspirations directly from the mind of the artists. In this edition Nick Leet, from the Minneapolis-based quartet High on Stress, describes the evolution of “Cop Light Parade.” Written by Leet and performed with Ben Baker, the song underlines his story underlines importance of continually searching for ideas before describing the events that eventually influenced the song. “Cop Light Parade” is scheduled to be included on High on Stress’ forthcoming September release.


I wrote most of the lyrics to this song in a van between Chicago and Omaha. I was on a tour with Brad Senne and Charley Dush that we called the “Magical Misery Tour.” I noticed along the way that Brad and Charley would grab their notebooks and write song ideas out as we went. All my life I’ve noticed that when I’m out of my day to day routine I do my best work so I figured I’d give it a shot too.

When we were in Chicago we spent the day downtown walking around and record shopping. When we finished we needed to get back to the train and get to our show. As we were walking back to the station I realized that people around the train station all walked around with their heads down staring at the ground so people wouldn’t hassle them which made it difficult to ask for directions. It was interesting to me how scared people seemed and I wondered how much life people missed while staring at the ground. That got me thinking of all the other ways that people waste their lives while they are too blind to see the good that is in front of them. People spend a lot of time watching television and reading the news which is just saturated in negativity, body counts, child abuse, Paris Hilton and realized it’s very hard to keep your head up and be happy when you’re surrounded by negativity.

The last verse of the song is about a girl I used to know. She was the kind of person who was a lot of fun to hang out with but as time went on I realized that half of what she said wasn’t adding up. She was a really sad and lost person and although there were bright things happening around her she couldn’t see it. I’m not sure whatever happened to her. – Nick Leet