O’CALLAGHAN: We always thought this could be really special. It all kind of goes back to that mentality of “we’ll eat fucking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches until we’re 50 years old if that means we get to play.” But we were also extremely hungry—no pun intended—and we want to see what that feels like to play in front of thousands of people.
“We’ve always been content with what we have, but we’ve never been complacent. We’ve always wanted more.” —John O’Callaghan
We were also watching bands like All Time Low, Boys Like Girls and Panic! At The Disco who were enjoying enormous amounts of success. I think, for us, there’s never been a sense of complacency. We’ve always been content with what we have, but we’ve never been complacent. We’ve always wanted more. We were just ready at that point.
KIRCH: It got pretty crazy pretty quickly. I remember two specific things about release week. We were on Warped Tour for two weeks before the album came out. The album came out July 8, and our last day of Warped Tour would’ve been the 6th. We got the physical copies of the album at that show, and we sold like 500 copies of it at our merch table. And it just felt like, “Holy cow, people are excited to hear this.”
And then, the day the album came out, we were in Chicago for the first day of our tour with Boys Like Girls and Good Charlotte. We walked to go eat by the venue, and when we were ordering, the place filled up with people trying to take pictures. It was the first time that had ever happened. It also didn’t hurt that we were fortunate enough to be taken on one of the biggest tours that we could ever get on. The week the album came out, we were playing in front of 5,000 people a night. We didn’t feel completely confident in ourselves, but we wanted to work as hard as possible to take advantage of the opportunity. So we would walk the line to sell albums, and we’d be out after the shows taking pictures and trying to get people to buy the album. We just really wanted to take advantage of the fact that we had this album out, and we had this huge opportunity to play in front of all these people.
O’CALLAGHAN: I’d say out of all the cool things that Pat just mentioned, there’s one thing that really stuck with me about the actual release of the record, and it was not necessarily a cool thing. It was one of the negative things. There were review sites, and at the time, when you’d give out these albums as promo, it’d come with a promo item. We used a chapstick that had the cover of the album on it, and I remember a person that wrote a review said the only good thing about our album was the chapstick they got with the album, and that stuck with me. At the time, you couldn’t help but let it get under your skin. I think it’s hard to acknowledge the fact that you’re getting that because more people are listening and more people are aware of what you’re doing. But that will always stick out in my head.
The support system
KIRCH: At the time, we were excited fans were hearing about the band and enjoying it, but it kind of felt as if the “cool” people that we wanted to be into it didn’t like it. It felt like we were always considered the pop-punk boy band. It probably had to do with our outfits. [Laughs.] But I think eventually we were able to get past really caring what anybody thought. We knew we were going to do what was best for us and what was best for our fans, the people that were into what we were doing, and it helped get rid of all the outside noise.
O’CALLAGHAN: Totally. We listened to the people that actually affected change in our band—the ones going to shows and buying tickets. We kind of turned our ears off to all these other industry people at a very early stage.
KIRCH: This was when we started to see people come to multiple dates of a tour in a row, and then you start to understand that they didn’t just buy our album or come to watch us when we opened for a band. This is where we started to have fans of the Maine.
O’CALLAGHAN: Yeah, you started to know people by first and last names that are coming to shows. That was certainly a point where it was getting intense, but in the greatest way.
“This core group sticks with us, and they give us the freedom to make whatever kind of albums we want and do whatever kind of tours we want to do because they’re just as excited about the unknown as we are.” —Pat Kirch
KIRCH: There’s a girl named Steph that was a fan of Good Charlotte, and she was there when we opened that tour when the album came out, and she’s now been to like 180 shows over the decade. There are tons of people that heard about us then that have just been along for the ride the whole time. It’s that group of people that are the reason we are able to continue to do it. This core group sticks with us, and they give us the freedom to make whatever kind of albums we want and do whatever kind of tours we want to do because they’re just as excited about the unknown as we are.
A decade of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
KIRCH: I still remember John and Jared sitting in the back of the van. We were in Texas playing a show, and they wrote “Girls Do What They Want.” Not much thought went into it. It was just playing the guitar, and then John started to sing, and I think a lot of it in the beginning was just that. Parts just kind of came, and there really wasn’t much thought into what kind of a song it was going to be.
“I think this album holds a very dear place in our hearts because it was the first time we got to experience anything like it, and there’s never going to be another experience like the first.” —John O’Callaghan
O’CALLAGHAN: And in the same fashion, looking back now, that was very much how my brain was working when it came to lyrics, calling the record Can’t Stop Won’t Stop and thinking of the artwork. It was just intuitive. I guess that’s what my 19-year-old self wanted to say. There was a phase where I was like, “Oh man, what was I doing with my hair? What was I doing with my clothes? What was I saying in that song?” where I got somewhat embarrassed. I don’t view it as such anymore. I view it as just a really positive experience.
We got to the point where I think people thought we didn’t believe in this record. That was never the case. It’s quite the contrary; I think this album holds a very dear place in our hearts because it was the first time we got to experience anything like it, and there’s never going to be another experience like the first. Obviously, the fact that we’ve been able to stay a band and maintain relevancy the whole time has aided me in thinking it was a positive experience, but I think even without that, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop would still go down as one of the most fond periods of our band’s 10 years so far.
KIRCH: I think there were some mixed-up messages because we’ve always been so excited about what we’re doing next that we didn’t want to take time to look back. But it is fun to finally take a look back and appreciate where we came from. We didn’t think we’d make this many albums. I think there were certain times we thought we’d be way bigger than we are right now, and there were certain times when we probably didn’t think we’d be a band at all. We certainly didn’t think we’d be in the beginning stages of working on our seventh album. I don’t think we thought that was a possibility.
O’CALLAGHAN: It was all foreign, and even now, what’s exciting is that there are new things that you learn along the way. Even though you’ve done a million tours and you’ve met a million people, you’re still learning. You’re still excited and surprised by something every day in whatever kind of capacity that might be, and I think that’s why we’re still doing it.
The Maine are currently on the Vans Warped Tour, and you can check out a full list of dates here. The band will play Can’t Stop Won’t Stop in full at 8123 Fest, and more information can be obtained here.