Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Number One Danger of Playing Outdoor Festivals: Bees.

In the year 2000, there were a massive outbreak in bee sting deaths: an astonishing 54 deaths out of 281 million (census data). "Why is this number so high?", you ask? That is because the an average person with no bee allergy can only tolerate 10 stings per pound of body weight. So, I would only have to be stung 1,450 times to die from a bee sting- a number I will not take lightly.

Some rumored home remedies for bee stings include: onions, toothpaste, and lemons. This is why if you are to going to an outdoor music festival, you should always come prepared with an emergency bee sting kit, which would include all of these items. I have gone one step further- I keep a necklace with onion rings and lemon slices on it so when a bee sees me wearing it, it thinks to itself, "Man, why would I sting this fellow, he has all the remedies he needs to fix himself. What a waste!" So far my plan has succeeded 100%.

Please keep yourself prepared. DO NOT be one of the 54.

-Nathan Wethy
Founder of "Do Not Be One of the 54 North American Division"

**This info packet is in memory of the bee that hassled Nate Dogg on stage at Sonfest 2011
***All statistics and facts courtesy of www.buzzaboutbees.net

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"What's YOUR Story?" Contest Winners

We want to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed stories for the “What’s YOUR Story” contest. Every single one of them was an encouragement to us, and many of them touched us deeply. It means so much that you guys care enough about us to share with us your experiences. We want to congratulate Johnothan Bomboy for his winning entry, which won him a Mike Mains & The Branches t-shirt, as well as a bunch of other sweet stuff. We are also currently clapping our hands (yes, really) for our two runners-up, Taylor Dooley and Michael Wilcher, who also get some presents in the mail from us. All three of their stories are below, and all three are great! Thanks guys.

Grace and Peace

Winning Entry, Johnothan Bomboy

It was my first time to the Cornerstone Festival. It was another HOT scorching day. I was standing outside of a porta-john doing the typical boyfriend job of holding the girlfriends purse, while simultaneously attempting to hold onto whatever shred of "manliness" I could. After some time of standing outside awkwardly shifting around, my girlfriend emerges from the porta-john. Though she walked in empty handed, she walked out with a sleek, ever-swanky looking iPhone. When my girlfriend and I carried this phone to our campsite, one of our fellow campers informs us, from the picture of the rather dashing man on the home screen, that it must belong to one of the members of a band playing at the "Underground" stage. My girlfriend and I fiercely debate (argue/fight) over whether we should give this rather expensive cellular device to the lost and found or go to the tent and attempt to match the picture on the home screen with one of the men at the stage, her wanting to take the phone to lost and found, I wanting to play and intense game of "Guess Who?" meshed with "Where's Waldo?" Finally after 30 minutes of debating/arguing/fighting my girlfriend concedes and the game commences!
Instantly I begin scour through the crowd anxiously playing my game I named "Where's Who?". I think I spot someone who may resemble the man on the phone and muster the courage to yell out. "HEY DUDE!!!....YEAH!!!....YOU!!!...*man walks over*...You missin a phone man?" I ask. "Nah man," he replies. Alas. The search continues! Again, I see another man of similar resemblance. I yell to him, "Hey is this your phone?" He walks over. He's a rather tall man, with a beard that could make Gandalf the Gray jealous. Wearing what I presume is an ascot and a polo, with hair combed neatly to the side, I think, “This man closely resembles Fred from Scooby Doo and the gang.” I show him the picture on the home screen. "That's my friends!" he exclaims. I look at him curiously. "It is!" he says once more, excitedly. "I'll get him for you." My girlfriend and I anxiously wait. He returns with a friend dressed equally nice. I've seen this man before. His hair is combed just as neat as his friend, and is sporting an almost pencil thin mustache. This was no John Waters style mustache mind you. But just as well trimmed and cared for. He is also sporting a rather fancy velveteen jacket, and an eye-catching bow tie. All in all, this man defined dapper. He comes over to me and my girlfriend thanking us for returning his phone. He says, "If I had money I would pay you." He tells me, "If you stick around after the show I can give you one of my bands CD's." I quickly accept but can't help but be somewhat reluctant, never hearing the band before. Though they were dressed so nicely, I almost thought it was too nice. I feared it might be a 50's doo-wop sound. My girlfriend and I readily take our standing position as close to front and center as the anxious mob would allow. The band kicks off, and INSTANTLY I am captivated and taken aback. The show was AMAZING and still is my FAVORITE concert of all Cornerstone. I get to meet the band afterwards and they give me the CD as promised. I spend the rest of the summer listening to the CD over and over and over again. It quickly became a favorite among my friends and I. Now I can only dream and wish I could see them again and that I could get more music. That's my story. This is my tale. Of the great. The magnificent. The musically-gifted. Mike Mains & The Branches.

Runner-Up, Michael Wilcher

First off, I don't care about getting free merch, I'm not writing to you to gain anything out of it. I'm writing to you because I just want you guys to know how much I care about this band and how much you guys made me feel like family. You guys have forever changed the way I live because of one weekend at Purple Door Festival.
On the weekend of August 12th and 13th, my friends and I drove six hours to see you all. When I got to Purple Door, I saw David, who remembered me from a show that was almost a year before in VA Beach, we got to hang out for a bit, he suggested music, I suggested music. Mike and Shannon showed up briefly, but in those brief couple of minutes, it was like I was surrounded by family. You guys are the most real and caring individuals that I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
During all of this, I was suffering from depression and all its friends. I didn't smile, I didn't want to. I didn't know what my life would look like in the next 5 and 10 years. Now I do. You guys have inspired me to make music, not only to make music but to touch the lives of teenagers suffering from the same things I was suffering from a month ago. You guys have inspired me to smile.
Thank you so much for just being around and being the most real and caring people I have ever met.

Runner-Up, Taylor Dooley

"Just say what's on your mind. 'I think I love you.' But you don't know what love is..." I think most people don't really know what love is. They 'love' their record player, their new hair cut, barbeque sauce... It's a word our society tosses around every time we 'like' something. I'm a victim of this; we all are.
On one of our first dates, my boyfriend Travis had his Mike Mains and the Branches CD in his car. We were listening to it and I instantly adored 'Miracle' and 'Stereo' (which happens to be the 5th most played song on my iPod.) The first songs on the CD were my favorite so we never really got past track 5, the rest being foreign territory. In passing, he had said that one of his favorite definitions of love was in one of the songs, but at the time he couldn't think of the name and if he did I forgot because I kind of freaked out when he said the 'love.' I mean, we'd been dating less than month and 'the L word' wasn't something I'd even thought about.  It caught me off guard until I realized he was just talking about a part in the song... Anyway, it was a while before I listened to 'Stop the Car.' You see, I have this really bad habit of changing the song within 2 minutes, so naturally I didn't reach the bridge for some time. When I finally did, however, I instantly knew that this was the song he had been talking about.
Love, at least in my eyes, is really complex. You can't find the definition on dictionary.com and get a satisfying answer. In lasting relationships, love is an important aspect. I didn't want to be one of those girls who says 'I love you' within a short span of time because I don't think you can determine whether or not you love someone that quickly. In a quest to understand it better, I began relying on the Bible (1 Corinthians 13) and the 'Stop the Car' bridge. The bridge describes it in a way that I can begin to comprehend, saying that '"I know that it's great and it's different. It's when you give and give of yourself until your tank is on empty just to be with the one you love.' You bleed on the inside at the thought of losing them that's how I feel." When I listen to it, part of me feels pain because I hear the pain in your voices as you're telling us what it really feels like to love. It's an honest definition that shows how it feels when you truly care. It's not the fluff Disney shows you when you're an 8-year old watching Snow White for the first time. I'll be honest in saying that I still don't fully understand it. Though it may seem silly, this song has guided me, as all your music does, whether is be spiritually, musically, or otherwise.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Tour Announcement: Mike Mains & The Branches w/ Ocean Is Theory

Hi Friends,

We have some great news for Fall - Mike Mains & The Branches are gearing up for a a 7-date run with Ocean Is A Theory as part of the band's fall tour this year! See if we'll be heading to a place near you, and come hang out with us! Show dates are below, and all details (locations, times) can be found on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mikemainsandthebranches.

09/17 - Mt. Vernon, OH
10/02 - Chattanooga, TN (w/ Ocean Is Theory)
10/06 - Cincinnati, OH (w/ Ocean Is Theory)
10/07 - Louisville, KY (w/ Ocean Is Theory)
10/09 - Terre Haute, IN (w/ Ocean Is Theory)
10/10 - Ames, IA (w/ Ocean Is Theory)
10/11 - Mason City, IA (w/ Ocean Is Theory)
10/15 - Mishawaka, IN (w/ Ocean Is Theory)
10/16 - Canton, OH
10/21 - Grand Rapids, MI
10/23 - Pontiac, MI
11/11 - Spring, TX

~ Management

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Buy Us: Web Store

Monday, September 19, 2011

Greetings, friends. We are pleased to announce the “What’s YOUR Story” Contest! You guys are what inspires us to do this. Some of the most moving, the funniest, and the most inspirational interactions we have ever had have been conversations with folks who have come up to talk with us before or after our shows, and we want to give you an opportunity to share those stories with the world.

To enter the contest, send us a story of some way that MMTB has impacted you, whether it’s through personal interactions, the music itself, or watching a live show. We’re looking for the funniest, most interesting, or most inspiring MMTB-related memories. If a song helped you through a tough time, we want to hear about it. If your grandma hates our music and complains when you play it, tell us what suggestions she has! In addition to the prizes, the 3 winners will have their stories posted on our blog, and mentioned on our social networks.

Please submit your story (no more than 2 or 3 paragraphs) to MMTBFeedback@gmail.com no later than Friday, September 23rd. No more than 2 submissions per person.

First place winner will receive 1 shirt of their choice from the MMTB merch store, one MMTB Koozie, signed poster, and a signed copy of “Home.”
Two runners up will receive a signed copy of “Home,” and a personally-addressed, signed poster.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Why do we do the things we do?
Why do we continue doing what we should not?
There are two voices inside of us
One guiding us into light
The other into darkness

We can sleep our entire lives away
Or wake up and seize the day
I want to live for something bigger
Than the reality of my mortality

Greatness is serving


We are who we are behind closed doors

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Glow-In-The-Dark Cats: They're all the rave

This morning, Fox News New York reported that “medical scientists at the Mayo Clinic have combined genes from three species to produce a glow-in-the-dark cat resistant to feline AIDS.” Apparently, part of a monkey and part of a jellyfish were placed inside a fertilized cat egg, somehow producing a kitten that is not only resistant to AIDS, which may potentially lead to a cure for humans with AIDS, but more importantly, GLOWS IN THE DARK! They say that it is just coincidence that the jellyfish genes cause this illuminating side-effect, and the media seems to be focusing pretty heavily on the AIDS side of things, and rightfully so.

But if you know anything about Mike Mains & The Branches, you know that we love cats. This is not the I’m-really-more-of-a-cat-person kind of love. We’re talking about the holy-crap-there-are-glow-in-the-dark-cats-now-and-I-have-to-tell-everybody-about-it kind of love.

Now, I know that it is important that we may be able to solve the global AIDS epidemic. Totally get it. Lots of people have AIDS. That’s really bad. We should definitely fix it. But the media at large seems to be focusing almost exclusively on the disease-curing front, so I decided to take a moment to point out a few of the positive things that these rave-friendly felines bring to the table.

For instance, with these kinds of powers, families with cats will never have to invest in nightlights for their kids. Does little Johnny like Muff Muff the cat, but is afraid of the dark? Problem solved. Does your cat run away a lot? Just wait until nightfall to go looking for it. Let’s not neglect the benefit to the military either. Stumble upon a dark cave full of Taliban? Send in the cats! Whether you are marking the fire exits or decorating your yard at Christmas time, look no further than these furry felines. And the best part is their longevity; no way are these cats getting AIDS.

Whether you suffer from a previously incurable disease, or you just like kitties, it’s been a good day.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wooden Heart

   I usually don't have a whole lot of new, exciting things to say on here, but guess what? Today I have some exciting, new news! As of Tuesday night I officially launched Wooden Heart Jewelry. Since we tour full-time, it's been nearly impossible to find an employer willing to hire someone for a few random days a month. And regardless of what you may have heard, we aren't exactly "raking in the Benjamins" at the moment. Therefore, I needed to find a creative way of sustaining a somewhat livable income. Trust me, I would have gone and done something else with my life by this point if playing music wasn't what I wanted to do with my life. So, I thought real hard about something I could do and take with me while we travel. This is what I came up with: making jewelry.

   I feel like a lot of the jewelry I see people wearing today is so mass-produced and cheap looking. I wanted to make pieces that were unique, handmade, and had a little special flair to them. I decided to use all semi-precious stones, real gold and silver, and vintage accents (watch faces, gears, found objects, etc...). I think the key to investing into a piece of jewelry is knowing that you're wearing something that was handmade with love, care, and durable material. So, that's what I'm aiming to do: create products that you will love, which will in turn help me continue to travel and be a part of my family, Mike Mains & The Branches. For those who read this, it would mean the absolute world to me if you would help me spread the word about Wooden Heart. I've posted some samples of my work, and will continue to keep updating the store about once a week depending on how busy we are with traveling.

   With Love,
Shannon Briggs Bolanowski

   I present to you: Wooden Heart Jewelry

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Consistency is Key

   I do not remember the person who actually said this but the quote goes something like, "Spiritual maturity is the consistent application of elementary principles."  This is a fitting principle to live by in every area. Consistency is something I feel like I can grow in a lot. It's the getting up when I do not feel like it, writing a blog when I am way too tired to do so, or caring more about helping someone than isolating myself and only caring about my own concerns.

    I asked a friend of mine awhile ago what she thought our generation would be remembered for. Her response was "overextended adolescence". Maybe it is because our generation at times is so afraid of taking a risk that we never pursue anything. I can be honest enough to admit it. I can dream up big dreams and write up enormous plans. Yet, what is more of a mountain to me is the drudgery of the mundane. We want to do t-shirt ministry and embrace bike rides instead of wasting resources and volunteering for our fellow man and the only way to do it is in a distant foreign land. Yet, what if the greatest place of growth and personal development is learning to embrace where we are? Instead of changing the scenery and moving, why not try to change the landscape where we are at? Perhaps the greatest feats of accomplishment come from every little step taken forward. I hope you are well, whoever you are reading this, and whatever it is that you are facing. I hope this encourages you not to climb the mountain or build some gigantic structure or write a top billboard song, but to take one more step, lay one more brick and write one more line. One day at a time.

Have a wonderful day!

- Mikey

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I'm No Abe Lincoln, But...

You don’t actually believe in something huge if the impact it has on your life is small. If you claim to believe in something so important that your life should be centered around it, but you live as if it means nothing to you, you are a liar and a fraud. I know that sounds harsh. Please forgive me if any of this is offensive. But we try to be honest here, and honestly, I’m getting pissed.

I’ll try to be less vague. It feels more and more like our generation claims to believe in God, but then refuses to acknowledge his existence in their lives. To be clear, IT DOES NOT OFFEND ME TO TALK TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T BELIVE IN GOD. What offends me to me core, however, is to watch people who say they do acting with total disregard for it. I have friends who flat out admit that they don’t believe in the existence of God, that they think we’re here by chance, and that the lack of irrefutable evidence in support of a creator is too overwhelming for them to believe. I respect the honesty in that. While I may personally disagree with their conclusions, I give them credit for being honest with themselves and with others.

There is one key difference between someone who believes in God and someone who does not. A lack of belief in God requires nothing of you. A belief in God requires everything of you. So before you sign your name on the dotted line because it’s what your parents or friends did, carefully consider the fact that when you join a group of any kind, you become a reflection of that group. For instance, if I were a Communist, I would be pretty ticked if a bunch of free-market capitalists started joining the Communist party, taking on that title, and portraying ideals that are fundamentally different than those that Communism stands for.

(To clarify, I’m not a Communist.)

I’m not going to judge anyone for their actions, and I fully recognize that there are people who sincerely strive to live as God intends them to, but almost constantly fall short. I am one of them. But the key lies in sincerity. So regardless of what it is that you believe in, be honest about it, and live a life that is true to it. I’m not talking exclusively about religion. Religion is just an easy target, because religion claims to know the answers to life’s questions, and should consequently be held to a higher standard. Just live your life in a way that you won’t regret when you’re old or dead.


Thursday, September 1, 2011


Hello Friends,

I love breakfast. I would replace any meal with it. I would love to hear about all of your favorite breakfast stops (Which given the chance… I will stop at) But for now I'm going to tell you all about my favorite breakfast joints I have come across.

Golden Harvest, Lansing MI

Fruity Pebble French Toast, Milky Way Waffles, Captain Crunch French Toast. Music is cranked, The last time I was there I listened to: Run DMC, 50 Cent, Blackstreet, Sublime, Bassnectar, Matisyahu. Best breakfast in Michigan

Sarkis Café, Wilmette Il.
30 Year old griddle that has never been cleaned. Thankfully. Order a bacon loretta everything on it with a side of hash browns and can of Coke.

The Griddle Café, Hollywood CA

Right on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Pancakes the falling off the sides of plates, best bacon I have ever had in my life. My favorite is the pumpkin pancakes.

If you are ever around these spots you HAVE to stop by these places you will not regret it. I’m looking forward to trying out your suggestions. J

-Nate Dogg