The Maine Interivew

Jasmine Garcia | Contributor | USDRadio |

San Diego, CA


Very rarely do you ever see touring bands do free shows once they become an established band with a committed fan base. A free holiday show here and there, but never do you see a band do an entire free tour at that state. Arizona natives, The Maine, have changed all that when the band announced they were touring the U.S. and this time around, the cost for a ticket? Absolutely free. Not only that, but other than the free shows, the band had select dates where they played their newest album American Candy in its entirety from front to back. USD Radio met up with bassist, Garrett Nickelsen, and drummer, Patrick Kirch to catch up with the band, and talk about how this unique tour got established.

This idea of doing a free tour has been on the band’s mind since about 2010 or 2011, and it wasn’t until now that it was possible. As far as they knew, no one else has done this before. “I don’t think anyone has done it because it really doesn’t make sense to – for most people, but for us, it made perfect sense,” answers Nickelsen. There’s cost into booking venues, driving city to city, equipment, etc. and The Maine still went through and used their own budget where fans could give donations if they wanted to help out.

Finding places that would allow a free show led to playing places outside of the tradition music venue. “We’ve played interesting places. We played the parking lot of a mall, and played inside a mall right next to a Wetzel’s Pretzels in Virginia,” replies Kirch.

The band felt that playing shows of American Candy front to back fit well playing in-between the free shows. “It was weird because we had to figure out two sets. We’re learning the whole new album and then we’re learning songs we haven’t played in maybe, five years or longer,” says Nickelsen.

“If we’re committing to playing a record this amount for like, 6 months front to back, we want to do it in front of hardcore fans. Opposed to doing one of these [free] shows and playing the whole record because there’s still a lot of stuff that maybe people haven’t heard yet,” adds Kirch about the American Candy shows.

The band had mentioned before that they were doing this tour for the fans, those who have been to, say 50 shows, and those who haven’t been able to go to any in the past. Creating a setlist for these shows with all of that in mind must have been interesting. “There was less pressure and more pressure at the same time. On this tour, as opposed to others, we’re changing up the setlist more than we have in the past two years or so,” Kirch says. “It was weird because we came up with the setlist way ahead of time,” adds Nickelsen, “We were just overseas for about a month straight. And it was one of those things were we kind of had the set worked out before we even did this. And when we actually got into the room to start doing it we were like, ‘Ooo, this song doesn’t feel good.’ It’s funny when you put it on paper and we go, ‘Oh totally, we haven’t played that in a while, let’s do that,’ and then you do it and it’s just no no no.”

Speaking so much about American Candy, we asked each of them what their favorite song off the record was – whether it was just to listen to or play live.

Kirch chose “Another Night on Mars” as his favorite song to play live at the moment. “I feel like it’s the best closure to a set that we’ve had, probably ever,” he states. “(Un) Lost” is Nickelsen’s favorite song off the record, “and my favorite one to play, which surprised me, was ‘Am I Pretty?’ It just has a good energy to it, it’s really fun,” he responds. And what about a song that they love to perform live out of any of the songs they’ve had over the past eight years? “Ice Cave,” answers Kirch, “We always end up playing it even though we try not to. Not that we try not to, but we just never put it in the set, but we always end up playing it.”

“Mine is always ‘Into Your Arms,’” jokes Nickelsen, “I don’t know, it changes every tour because we do different versions of stuff so it totally depends. We did this version of a song called ‘Run,” and it was heavy and it was fun. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite though.” As he looks to Kirch he says, “’Ice Cave’ is always kickass, but I don’t want to steal your thunder.”

We finished the interview by asking them different types of personal questions. We asked what’s one thing on their bucket list they’d like to accomplish before 2015 ends whether it is as a band or just personal. “Oh man, I really need to clean my yard,” Nickelsen states. Kirch really needs to get a new pair of shoes. “The Converse that I have that I play in, there is just a huge hole. And just to even walk around anymore in them, it just doesn’t go well.”

Using whatever method they chose these days for listening to music, who is each of their most played artists? Kirch chose Ryan Adams. Nickelsen agrees and mentions that he finds himself listening to Wilco every day at some point of the day.

This band was formed eight years ago, so it was interesting to ask them, “What would you be doing if you weren’t a musician?” Kirch replied, “We’ve been doing this for so long – even before the band started. So I have no clue, I don’t really have many other interests. This is all I love doing. I’ve never would’ve given myself the time to think about that ‘cause then you got a back-up plan. I just want to do this forever.” Nickelsen agrees and adds the fact that they have been playing music together since they were 14. “And even before that, I’ve wanted to do this since the first time I watched the Drive-Thru Records documentary. Ever since I’ve been able to have a clear thought, this is what I’ve wanted to do,” continues Kirch.

For the upcoming year, you’ll be seeing a lot of touring from the band, especially internationally. In addition to more shows here at home, the band will be releasing more music. “Not a record, just some songs. I think it’ll surprise some people,” adds Kirch. So make sure to keep an eye out for those, and while you wait, keep listening to American Candy.

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