Touring bands often encounter obstacles, especially with transportation. However, when The Maine captured an image of a clearly damaged bus and attached the caption, “sometimes a part of your bus catches in fire,” it caused concerned fans to worry about the band’s safety. The accident occurred during the band’s stop in Chicago on June 22, 2013, while on their 8123 Tour, which was deemed an electrical fire. Pat Kirch, drummer for The Maine, recounts the story, The Maine’s current 8123 Tour, and the band’s current state for Substream Music Press.
Substream Magazine: You guys had an incident with a fire and the bus. Is everyone okay?
Pat Kirch: Yeah, everyone’s okay. It was just a little electrical fire on the bus, but we got it all taken care of and it didn’t affect anything too much. I had just gone to bed and had been woken up by the guys. Then, we walked around for a couple of minutes on the bus trying to figure out where all the smoke was coming from and the smell was coming from. It wasn’t all that bad, until we picked up the mattress and then it was just insane – smoke all over the place.
SM: Thankfully everyone’s okay and everything’s okay now. Clearly, this isn’t your first time on the road, though. Is this the biggest obstacle The Maine’s had to overcome or have you had experience similar to this before?
PK: This is definitely the first time we’ve experienced any kind of fire. But you know, you have problems with the van breaking down and the bus breaking down and getting caught in the snow. This is definitely one of the more crazy ones.
SM: Other than the fire incident, how has the tour been going so far?
PK: It’s been absolutely incredible. We’re all having a blast, yeah it’s good. It’s just cool to be on the road with just our friends and it’s just – there’s a difference between being on the road with people who become your friends, but all these guys on this tour, we’ve been friends with a lot of them we were friends with before we were in a band. And it’s great to be on the road with the new record out and to perform all those songs. Each night just feels good.
SM: The Maine and A Rocket to the Moon came up together. Is it a little bittersweet knowing that this is their last tour?
PK: Absolutely. You know, I think it makes you appreciate what you have. Also, they’re great guys and a great band. We’ve done so many things together, so it’s a weird thing to wrap your brain around. But, the thing I’m happy about is that the way they’re going about it is good: going out with us together again is the best way to do it.
SM: It’s definitely sad because you’re seeing a lot of those bands The Maine came up with either disbanding or losing members. How have you guys maintained a solid lineup while continuing to grow as a band?
PK: Man, I think we really enjoy what we do and the music that we make. The biggest thing is we do what feels right. I feel like we make the albums that we make now for the right reasons. We aren’t concerned with how they’re going to sell or how they’re going to be perceived. We’re just making art that we’re happy with it and that’s the biggest thing. When you’re making an album just for the sake of it being on the radio and if that doesn’t happen, then what’s the point? But for us, we’re doing it just to make music and for the people who want to listen to it, then that’s great.
SM: Looking at how you’ve transitioned from the music you made in ’06 and ’07 to the music The Maine makes now, do you still reflect on those days, or do you just embrace the new sound you’ve formed?
PK: I mean, we still perform some of those old songs. It’s just been a natural progression. It hasn’t ever felt like we went through this huge change because it just happened gradually over the past six years.
SM: Pioneer and Forever Halloween are those staple albums that have really made you come to this new sound of yours. Can you sit back now and listen to your records and say “this is what we want to sound like”?
PK: I think we’re very proud of these albums as we were the other ones, you know. I just think right now we made the best album that we could’ve made and we sound like The Maine does in 2013. Now, for 2015, that could be different. I don’t think we’re ever going to say “this is the album we’re going to make, let’s make that again.” We’re just going to make what feels right.
SM: And then you made the decision to record this record live, whereas most drummers now just program in drums and don’t record live. Are you proud of that?
PK: Yeah, I am! It was great to have a different experience, ‘cause you know, the past three albums were all recorded the exact same way. I think it was good to not know what to do. It was good to have an entirely different process going on.
SM: Since everything was recorded live, did it make the transition into touring easier this time around?
PK: Oh, yeah! It made it so easy. We knew exactly what to play and we just did it. In the past, there have been so many parts we’ve added on top of each other, so you have to pick which parts you’re going to play.
SM: At this point, you have so many songs. I’m assuming you don’t just pick out of a hat what you’re going to play…
PK: We spend a lot of time doing that. I don’t know! You kind of just go with what feels right. You just know, I guess. It’s a balance of doing something new that you haven’t done before – that could mean an old song you didn’t ever perform before. It also depends on what type of performance we’re making an attempt to convey. Sometimes, we just want to go up there and play a bunch of fast songs. Sometimes, we want to play an entire album from front to back. It’s just an extension of what we’re trying to express at the time.
SM: I suppose that’s the beauty in you now being independent and free from a major label.
PK: That’s been the best thing about this entire experience. We made the album that we wanted to make and there isn’t anyone, except the five of us in the band, that have any opinion on that: it’s just us. We get to make music videos and go on tour whenever we want, and that’s the reason we’re still a band. We’re doing what we love and we’re not concerned with what anybody else thinks.
SM: It must’ve been nice to have the money backing from a major label, but now you get to do what you want. Is there any part of you that regrets the signing?
PK: No, no. We had to go through that to get to this place. You can’t regret anything. And you know, it was cool to have an unlimited amount of money to go record with a guy who gets paid a ridiculous amount of money to record bands. At the end of the end of the day though, we learned that that is not the thing that makes a good record.
By Alexa Spieler