Family Force Fine
When hundreds of people showed up to see Phoenix pop outfit THE MAINE’s in-store performance at a hometown Wet Seal in late 2008, nobody was prouder of the band than drummer Pat Kirch’s mom, Lisa. “Security brought them up on the escalator, [and] with everyone [in the crowd] screaming. I had to scream myself,” she says, laughing. “But I have to admit, all of those boys [in the band] came and hugged their mothers as they went by. They are really, really nice kids.”
The 19-year-old isn’t the only musically inclined member of his family, though. An uncle holds a Ph.D. in music and is a conductor, while his older brother is already a music industry vet–at the ripe old age of 21. Tim Kirch currently manages the Maine, Cute Is What We Aim For and A Rocket to the Moon, while past gigs include tour-managing This Providence and Lydia and running local venues in Arizona.
According to Mrs. Kirch, Tim has always possessed this ambition and drive. “I remember one time getting a call from Virgin Records,” she says. “They wanted to speak with [Tim], in regards to what his opinion was of certain bands in Arizona, up-and-coming bands. He was in high school still. “All I kept thinking was, ‘How did they get his name and number?’ For whatever reason, he just had the knack to make contacts and people trust him. His integrity really backs whoever he decides to promote.”
That certainly seems to be the case with the Maine. While the prospect of two siblings working together has disaster written all over it, Pat Kirch says that nothing could be further from the truth. “It’s not so much like a business relationship–it’s friends,” Pat says. “He wants to help us out, not to make money, but just to see his brother and his friends be successful. We know that he is looking out for us.”
Of course, people can say the same thing about Pat and Tim’s mom: The easygoing Tempe, Arizona, resident has always nurtured the interests of her sons. For starters, the Maine practiced (and still practices) at her house. “We let them soundproof one of the bedrooms–and even though the police came several times, and all that, we still let them continue,” she says. “The police will come to the door and we would say, ‘We know where they’re at, they’re not out getting in trouble.’”
But not everyone was so understanding. “A few neighbors moved, I’m serious about that,” Mrs. Kirch continues, laughing. “The guy behind us, I just told him he needed to go move to an old people’s community. At three in the afternoon, if these kids are practicing, they’re not getting in trouble, they’re not putting graffiti all over his walls or anything. He has no right to complain about it.”
The Kirch family supports the band in other ways, too. Pat received a ProTools rig for Christmas, which he and the Maine have been using to try out new material. And when he was in California tracking drums for Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, his mom even helped him finish up an online class so he could graduate from high school. “All right, I got an A in senior English, second semester,” she admits. “All the things I forgot from my senior year all came back to me, let me tell you.” She laughs. “I just hope his teachers don’t read this. He did have to go in and take his own finals, I just did his paperwork.”
Unsurprisingly, Pat Kirch has nothing but kudos for her: “She’s the best mom in the world.” –Annie Zaleski
FIVE THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT THE MAINE
The members of the Maine aren’t shy about sharing details about their lives online. But here are five things you might not know about the band:
1. They still practice in the same place they did when they first formed.
It’s a tiny room at drummer Pat Kirch’s house, soundproofed by egg crate foam hung on the wall. “We pretty much are completely crammed in there,” Kirch says. “There isn’t even enough room for all of us to stand in there.” Of course, this might also have something to do with all of the stuff in there–file cabinets, their gear, an old ProTools rig and trash. “Basically, [there’s] no breathing room, but it’s so refreshing to actually go and practice there,” says vocalist John O’Callaghan. “It’s one of those constant things at home that never changes.”
2. Pat Kirch has a secret athletic past.
When he was 9 years old, Kirch was the Arizona state-wrestling champion in the 55-pound weight class.
3. Frontman John O’Callaghan had never sung in a band before joining the Maine.
But after Tim Kirch heard him messing around with the guitar at a party, the future Maine manager saw a spark of talent. “Tim [Kirch] was like, ‘Hey you should go try out for my brother’s band,’” O’Callaghan says. “And I was like, ‘Oh yeah, that’ll never happen.’ Kind of in a not-serious way, I went over there just to try it out, and ended up liking it.” Incidentally, his audition was a song by Ivory; current vocal idols include Ryan Adams and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie.
4. Pat Kirch cooks a mean steak.
From watching his mom run her catering business, Kirch grew to love cooking. At the Maine’s first practices, he’d whip up shrimp and stir fry, or steak — which became the talked-about meal. So what’s his secret? “I don’t even know,” he says. “I just put a lot of crap on them, so they have a lot of flavor.”
5. Early the Maine material was quite different; songs were slower and featured piano.
“It was just a lot more mellow and trying to be epic,” Kirch explains. Adds O’Callaghan: “[Songs] were really pretty-sounding, there was a lot going on.” But Tim Kirch wasn’t thrilled with the material his brother’s band was coming up with – and didn’t hesitate to tell them so. “He basically did say, ‘That’s terrible,’” O’Callaghan recalls. “It really bummed me out, it was pretty disappointing, because I had never written anything before, and for him to shoot down the first thing I was actually proud of that we had written, it was one of my not-most-proud moments.” Still, the Maine rebounded from this criticism fast: One of the first songs they wrote after regrouping was “Daisy,” which appeared on the 2007 EP Stay Up, Get Down. –Annie Zaleski