Arizona-based rockers The Maine just wrapped up tour with fellow pop-punk legends Mayday Parade. The two bands traveled together in a single tour bus throughout Ireland and the UK, performing to sold-out crowds in London and Leeds. We managed to catch up with bassist Garrett Nickelsen about their latest album, American Candy, his favourite tour memories, and The Maine’s key to success for staying together as a band.
1. On your last tour of the US you created a whole tour that was completely free. What made you decide to do that? How were the shows?
Yeah the tour was a lot of fun! The idea came about a few years ago but we just couldn’t figure out how to make it all work. After doing the American Candy tour last spring, it finally felt like the right time to try and pull the free tour off. The main reason we did it was for all the fans who have came to tons of shows. It felt like a cool way to give back to them. The second reason was because we wanted to do something new; we just got off the biggest headlining tour of our bands life the the timing just felt right to try new things. All the shows were one of a kind and I’ll remember all of them. Lots of fun was had.
2. Do you find there’s a difference in touring in the UK versus the US? In terms of fans? Food?
I feel like all around the world playing shows sort of ends up feeling the same, the only difference is the surroundings. Fans all seem to react similar. I have a lot of the same conversations with people all around the world. That seems to be the stable part, the thing that keeps things comfortable in a unfamiliar place. As for food and what not, everywhere is different. Sometimes it good, sometimes its great, sometimes it sucks, that’s a part of traveling though. I can’t complain.
3. Who were your musical influences during the making of American Candy?
All over the place! The 90’s in general had a huge impact of the album. The music from then is just in our DNA. It really has a huge influence on the way we play and the sounds we enjoy. I don’t know the specific right word to describe it but it’s in all five of us and had a big impact on the album. Then there’s the throwback stuff that we love like The Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, The Replacements, The Smiths. Great rock bands. Johnny Marr’s custom Fender Jaguar was one of the main guitars used on the album.
4. Have there been any especially memorable moments on the road this tour?
I think the best show was in Dublin. It was a great time! Some of the best times though was just hanging with the Mayday [Parade] dudes. We all shared a bus. When there are 18 guys on a bus, some crazy stuff happens. Mostly just some good talks about music and weird inside jokes we have from over the years with the guys.
5. Your shows in Leeds and London are sold out. How does it feel to be able to sell out shows in the UK as an American band?
Both those shows were so great! London was HUGE. Leeds is always crazy. It’s so cool to be able to travel so far from home and have people care about the music we play. No words can express that feeling. Music is cool, man.
6. What’s your favorite song off American Candy to perform live? Why?
I think probably the title track [“American Candy”]. It is all the fun parts of a good rock tune. There is a dark undertone to the song, so it brings on a vibe we don’t really have in a lot of our songs. The chorus hits hard so the energy is there. All fun stuff [is there] for a live song.
7. What can songs can fans expect to see performed during your set?
We got to play nine songs so it was a shorter set for us. It was pretty much ‘shut-up-and-play;’ not much time for stopping. All the songs are upbeat and full of energy. We played something off every album, so I think if you enjoy our band that you had a good time.
8. What is your key to success for staying together as a band?
Just keeping a level head and talk shit out. If there is a problem to bring it up. We all are great friends, so if someone is being weird we call it out when it happens. Letting things sit inside just causes more hate than good. Somehow we don’t fight much though; I guess we got lucky. Or our parents were nice to us… I don’t know.