January 21st marked 11 years of The Maine and in celebration they held “8123 Day,” giving fans opportunities to win prizes, see exclusive videos from the band, and help decide which charity to donate to on behalf of the 8123 family. They even announced a spring tour with The Technicolors and The Wrecks. Participating in some of the fun on Sunday, and watching others participate, made me think about my life – how being a fan of The Maine has helped me get to where I am today, how it has connected me to the people I’ve met and become friends with, and how some of those people and I even got to creating Pretty in Punk. It led me to the question they are asked, and have asked often…what does 8123 mean to me?
Back in the summer of 2007, I was going into my freshman year of high school in Massachusetts. I loved going to concerts and listening to all the music our favorite emo nights spin today in 2018. MySpace was the best thing around and Boys Like Girls was constantly featured as my background song on my profile (and in my top 8 because emo girls in 2007 were loyal). Somewhere along the way I stumbled upon The Maine on MySpace that year. It’s been too long now that I don’t remember the specifics, but I remember getting to their page and hearing “The Way We Talk” and immediately falling in love. I changed my background song and top 8 (don’t worry, I kept BLG in there), downloaded their EP as soon as it was available, and started to follow up on the band all the time. Shortly after I first heard them, they came up on my best friend’s iTunes genius recommendations. She was hooked too and couldn’t wait to go see them whenever they came to Boston.
Flash forward to summer of 2008. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop has been out a few months (and I can’t stop won’t stop playing it) and The Maine are opening for Boys Like Girls on their Soundtrack to Your Summer tour. My best friend and I got to the show, ditched my brother, and ran all the way up as close as we could get to the front. We were some of the only people in the entire arena who knew who The Maine even was, and we knew every word to every song. It was a dream come true.
Since that first tour I have seen The Maine more times than I could even count (in 8 different states), been on their street team for a few years, gotten two tattoos relating to them, and met them countless times. And this isn’t all because I am a crazy fan girl who is obsessed with them and their music. The Maine and what they’ve given me by being a band and putting out the music they do, have made me the person I am today, chasing the dreams I’m chasing today.
8123 is a large part of my life’s direction. When I was a kid I wanted to be a famous singer, but you need talent for that so I changed my mind. Instead I wanted to work in the music industry. When I go to concerts I like to look around at the crowd. I like to see how they relate so much to the music, how for some it so clearly saved their lives, or like me, gave them direction. How the guys or girls up on stage just get them and their experiences, and how for as long as that show is, everything else in the world can slip away because for that period of time it’s just the fans and the music. For me those feelings came from The Maine. They’re still the only band I have a hard time peeling myself away from my own experience to watch others, even though I get so much joy from seeing that. I want to be a part of that, to feel like what I’m doing matters. If I had never experienced it myself through The Maine, I may not have made the same life choices to get me here – living in Nashville, college educated in Sport and Entertainment Management, chasing after a dream of working in the music industry.
8123 is a family. I have made so many friends at their shows. Some were only brief friendships during the concerts and some are friendships that have lasted through today. What The Maine is doing as a band is important. They are taking the money and fame out of it and they are giving their fans, their 8123 family, what is best for them. They make me feel like I am a part of what they’re doing as a band and genuinely appreciated as a fan. I wouldn’t still be around if I didn’t feel like what they were doing was important.
8123 is a feeling. I have seen The Maine more times than I can even count, but I am just as excited every time, because to me it feels like home. To me seeing The Maine is more exciting than waking up to a pile of presents on Christmas Day. To me seeing The Maine makes me feel at ease – a little less unstable about where my life is right now, and a little more focused on the direction I’m heading.
So what does 8123 mean to me? Everything.
Over the last 11 years I have grown and changed, moved a thousand miles away from my family to go to college at University of South Carolina, graduated with a degree, and moved to Nashville (even a little further from my family) to chase my dreams. Through it all The Maine has been a constant in my life. Back then if you asked who my favorite band was I would have said The Maine, today I would say The Maine, and every day in between I have said The Maine.
“It’s about a number you can’t explain, but you don’t really have to, because the people you love already feel it too.”