25°F & Clear 7 day forecast Friday, December 19, 2014

Grand Valley State University's Beacon Since 1963, Allendale, MI
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The Maine rocks GVSU Oct. 19

The Maine has made it as a big-time band with three studio albums, all of which peaked within the Top 100 of the Billboard 200, but they’re still just a group of guys from Phoenix, Ariz. making music.

And even big-time bands can mess up. For bassist Garrett Nickelsen, that’s every show. “I’ll just get nervous randomly,” he said. “It will just be like a completely random show, and I’ll just be thinking about it and I’ll be like, ‘Holy shit, we’re about to play a show in front of (a) few hundred kids.’ It’s what we’ve always dreamed about doing, it’s awesome.”

Since releasing their third studio album, Pioneer, last December, The Maine has been touring around the U.S. and Europe, and is now on a co-headlining tour with Mayday Parade.

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GVL/Bo Anderson The Maine performs during Homecoming Week.

The bands have toured together twice before, and Pat Kirch, drummer for The Maine, said it’s always a good time.

“We’re friends with the Mayday dudes, so it’s just kinda like falling right back into the last time we toured with them, which is always awesome,” Nickelsen said.

This tour is a little different than most of their headliners because it features a lot of university venues, such as Grand Valley State University, which Nickelsen said are a whole different atmosphere, aside from playing on a basketball court.

“It’s usually kids who normally wouldn’t come out to one of our shows, I feel like,” Nickelsen said. “So it’s definitely a different vibe, but they’re always fun and we always have a great time doing them.”

Living out of a bus for a two-month tour doesn’t give the band a lot of space, or a lot of time to do laundry.

“I bring a lot of stuff, I mean an OK amount of stuff, and then I end up kind of wearing the same stuff like every day,” Kirch said.

“It’s like you wear the same clothes for three days, then you get something new and at some point you go back to that pair of clothes,” Nickelsen said. “It turns into this dirty laundry suitcase thing that smells real bad. The funny thing is, I don’t realize how bad it smells until I get home and I open it in my room and I’m like, ‘Holy crap man, this thing smells like dirt.’”

But the band still loves touring, and Nickelsen said he feels uncomfortable at home.

“I’d rather be out here doing something,” he said.
They tour because it’s what they’re good at, and what they know how to do.

“It’s kind of like, we’ve been doing this for so long, it’s kind of like all we know,” Kirch said. “So when you’re doing something different it’s kind of strange. Being home for a month gets really kind of weird at the end of it.”

Being together for more than five years, Kirch said he couldn’t see himself doing anything but living his dream.

“I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else,” Kirch said. “Just imagining doing the exact same thing every single day… and I think being in the same spot, like being in the same little area forever – I don’t think I could do that.”

The moment he knew he wanted to be in a band, touring the world and making music for fans, hit him back in high school.

“There was a certain point where it was like – I think once we went on the road for the first time like back in high school – that it was like, ‘This is the only thing that we’re gonna do. There isn’t another option. We’re gonna do whatever it takes to make that happen,’” Kirch said.

So far, that’s exactly what they’ve done. They don’t work hard to be famous or to make money, they do it because they love music, Nickelsen said, and their loyal fans are what keep them going.

“We actually enjoy being on stage and playing songs and recording and all that stuff, but even the love of that would be kinda hard to continue if we didn’t have any fans out there,” Kirch said. “So I think it’s all the kids that come to the shows keep it exciting. If we were just out there and it was an empty room, it would get kind of hard, but the fact that we have some fans is exciting. And the fact that I feel like we put in a lot of hard work into every single aspect of our band, and the fact that all of our fans appreciate that, makes us want to continue doing those things.”
arts@lanthorn.com



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