What Drives The Maine 16 Years Into Their Career: 'We Still Respect The Art'

3 July 2024 | 3:07 pm | Sarah Duggan

"We're not the biggest band in the world, but I think everyone that likes us appreciates us not just doing the same records over and over."

The Maine

The Maine (Source: Supplied)

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In 2007, the world witnessed the release of the first iPhone, the final Harry Potter book, Rihanna’s hit song Umbrella, and the formation of the iconic rock band The Maine.

Sixteen years later, the band is celebrating their impressive career by throwing one heck of a party—The Sweet Sixteen Tour. As they prepare to bring the celebration to Australia this September, The Music caught up with bassist Garrett Nickelsen for a chat about their journey.

Unlike many bands, The Maine has enjoyed a remarkably consistent lineup since their inception. Vocalist John O’Callaghan, lead guitarist Jared Monaco, bassist Garrett Nickelsen, drummer Patrick Kirch and rhythm guitarist Kennedy Brock have all been there since 2007. This stability, coupled with a relentless touring schedule and nine albums, has been key to their longevity.

Nickelsen reflects, “I think the biggest thing is that, you know, we're still learning. We still love making music. We still listen to new music all the time… And the fact that we're all still buddies.

“We saw everyone yesterday; I talk to Pat—our drummer—pretty much every day on the phone for like an hour, trying to figure out what to do next. And yeah, the fact that we just love doing it still. That's such a cheesy answer, but yeah. I think that's the biggest thing. We still respect the art.”

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The Maine’s creative unity is a testament to their success. "We've been a band for 16 years; we've put out nine albums and a bunch of other b-sides and stuff. I think we're all on the same page of just wanting to always do something different,” Nickelsen says. “You know, we're not the biggest band in the world, but I think everyone that likes us really appreciates us not just doing the same records over and over.”

The Sweet Sixteen Tour promises to be a special treat for fans, featuring tracks from across their discography, including some deep cuts. Nickelsen shares, “We got this little meter that shows how loud people are.

“So, we'll pick two different songs and have the people screaming actually pick between the two songs. It's really fun. It's just a cool little part. And, you know, sometimes John goes off the rails. He's like, if someone screams a song and he wants to play it, we got to figure it out quick and just let it happen. Yeah, it's always my favourite.”

Throughout their career, The Maine has forged meaningful friendships with countless bands. Reflecting on these relationships, Nickelsen fondly recalls, “The Mayday Parade guys we've toured with tons of times, like all around the world. Those guys are good dudes we've known for so long.

“Even on our earliest tours, when we were still in the van, and they were on a bus, every night on that tour, one of us got to stay on their bus and sleep in a bunk for a night to get some sleep. They've always been really, really sweet guys to us.”

The Maine’s self-titled 2023 album received rave reviews, marking a significant achievement in their discography.

Looking back on their body of work, Nickelsen muses on what the group is most proud of.

“That's hard. I mean, every record, you're trying really hard to make something that you hope lasts,” he says. “I mean, the biggest thing that kind of switched our whole career, I think, was our third album, [2011’s] Pioneer, where we kind of like did everything on our own.

“We made a record without our record label knowing at the time, and they didn't like the record, but we said ‘fuck it,’ and we put it out anyway. So, that was a huge turning point and such a fun record to make. I think that kind of switched everything and let us feel like we could do whatever we want.”

The Sweet Sixteen Tour is set to be a memorable celebration of The Maine’s incredible journey and the music that has defined their career.

They’ll be hitting Aussie shores this September and bringing the party to iconic venues in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Whether you’ve been a fan for sixteen years or you’re new to The Maine, this will be a show not to be missed.

The Maine

Sweet Sixteen Australian Tour Dates:

Sunday, 15 September – Magnet House, Perth WA
Tuesday, 17 September – The Gov, Adelaide SA
Thursday, 19 September – The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD
Friday, 20 September – Liberty Hall, Sydney NSW
Sunday, 22 September – Forum Theatre, Melbourne VIC

Tickets are available via Destroy All Lines.