The family portrait. This photo is not mine.
My strong and unwavering love for The Maine began on the 26th September 2012 at approximately 9:02pm. My good friend Rob had asked a few months earlier if I wanted to accompany him to London, as he was seeing this band that he thought I would really like. The tickets were cheap, and it was in Camden, which I loved, so I thought why not. I trusted Rob’s opinion, as I do with most things, but especially with music. Boy, did he get it right.
The Maine had just released their album Pioneer, but it wasn’t until after the concert, when I embarked on committed and extensive Google-ing, that I realised the significance behind their new music. The Maine had found success on the pop-punk scene, after the release of their debut Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. They were signed to a major record label, and embarked on writing their difficult second album Black and White. It was during this time that the band realised their creative differences with the label, and were making music both parties were unhappy with. The Maine then began writing their third album, what would become Pioneer, in secret.
After the secret album was presented to the executives, it was clear that The Maine weren’t going to submit to the label’s musical ideals, or be molded into something they weren’t, and rightly so. The Maine had a vision, and idea of who they wanted to be, something that isn’t usually celebrated in today’s popular music culture. The band fought to be dropped from their label, and were eventually released from their contract. The Maine continued to build their empire from the ashes, creating their own management-come-record-label titled 8123, named after one of their childhood haunts in Phoenix, Arizona. It serves as a reminder to stay true to who they are, their roots, their vision, and they haven’t looked back since.
Ever since then, the band have released Forever Halloween, which they recorded live and to tape rather than digitally. Then an EP titled Imaginary Numbers, followed by their latest album American Candy. Each album the band release is different from their last, and shows such growth as musicians and as people. I’m delighted by the fact that when a new album drops, I have no idea what it’s going to sound like and I know for a fact that I’ll be able to listen to the songs live in all their glory on their next tour.
I have seen The Maine live nine times now and met them all, due to their post-gig ritual to meet the fans outside the venue. A particular highlight was on the last night of their co-headlining tour with Mayday Parade in February, the band came outside despite the wind and rain to meet the fans and spend time with us for as long as possible. As I’ve got to know the boys better, and see them more often, they now remember my name, remember my face and we would share genuine memories of our time together. John even commented on my new labret piercing, which I hadn’t had done the last time I saw him, which had been over a year previously. When I first met the guys at Warped Tour in 2013, I told them all I felt like their best friends to which Garrett replied, “well we are best friends, aren’t we?” As far as fan and musician relationships go, this one really is an anthem for a dying breed.
(c) to Clare Holman-Hobbs and Rob Hicks