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Impressions of Maine

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Photo by Mike Dow Photo by Mike Dow

Sure, we're kind of partial to it but I've always been curious to find out how non-Mainers you know, 'people from away' feel about our state.

Over the past few years, it's probably been the most frequently asked question of my interview subjects. Their responses have been universally positive, which doesn't surprise me. For starters, Maine is particularly awesome. Secondly, these people know that the interview will either appear on radio, in print, or both, and they're not about to throw us under the bus.

Here's a sampling of some of my favorite quotes about Maine extracted from my interviews of the last few years with musicians, actors, filmmakers, comedians and TV personalities.

'It's a nice place, isn't it? I was thinking that maybe I should move there or retire there. Portland has a quaintness - kind of like a lot of English country places. I say retire' as if that will ever happen (laughing).' -Dave Davies, founding member of The Kinks.

'We were playing [in Maine] and they took us out to this island. There was a 50-gallon drum full of lobsters, and man, we partied let me tell you. We had boats and it was just a very memorable time. It was probably the later part of the '90s because I had already gotten clean and sober, and that was in 1996. Man, we had a ball.' Gregg Allman, formerly of The Allman Brothers Band

'We did a lot of shows in the Portland area and I vividly remember a big outdoor show there about 15 years ago. I have lots of good family memories in the area. My brother-in-law goes to the University of Maine, and over the last year and a half, I've been to Bangor, Orono and points north several times and have gotten to know it a little bit more.' Stephen Page, cofounder of Barenaked Ladies

'I've been coming to Maine for years, even before Wilco. I've always loved Maine. There's a great vibe to it. It's a little edgy, but it's also extremely beautiful. There's just something about pine trees and salt water. It was great being in a boat with the kids and suddenly, Oh my God, there's a seal!' My 3-year-old would reach into the water, pull up seaweed and chomp on it. (laughing) We really dig it.' Glenn Kotche, drummer and percussionist for Wilco

'Maine is one of my favorite places. All of the lobster and scallops that we serve [at the annual Academy Awards dinner] come from Stonington. Maine is very special for us, and you are always part of our Oscar celebration.I will most certainly come back to Maine. It's so beautiful there, but I think I might wait until summer when Maine is a little warmer (laughs).' -Wolfgang Puck, celebrity chef and restaurateur

'Yeah I do [have memories of Maine]. A lot of them are at Three Dollar Deweys' (laughing).' Mike Mills, formerly of R.E.M.

[On his days as a rural Maine deputy sheriff]: 'I was one of two officers who had to cover 14 towns.This was in the '90s, and our department was kind of poor. I remember the chief saying, You know you get to bring the cruiser home with you.' I said, Oh, that's great because my car is a piece of junk with about 190,000 miles on it,' and he goes, 'Let me tell you something. The one I'm giving you has over 250,000 miles on it.' So now I had two pieces of crap. I once pulled a guy over and asked, Do you know why I stopped you?' He said, No.' I said, Because my car is overheated do you have any coolant?'' Juston McKinney, comedian, actor and writer

'I've always loved it here. You know how they say Maine is a state of mind? It really is it's a state of soul. Through all of those years and beyond during MTV and all of the craziness that went with it - Maine was in my mind. I subscribed to Downeast Magazine and Yankee Magazine even back then. In my head, I was in Maine.I love the weather here, including the winter. I was raving about Maine when I was in New York and somebody said, You should really work for the board of tourism for Maine.' There is no place like it and I am just so grateful every day when I wake up in this beautiful, beautiful state.' -Nina Blackwood, one of the original MTV VJs and current daily host on SiriusXM's 80s on 8. Nina moved to Maine eight years ago.

More impressions of Maine can be found in the extended version of this piece on our website,www.TheMaineEdge.com

'The Big Morning Show with Mike Dow' can be heard on Big 104 FM The Biggest Hits of the '60s, '70s & '80s - airing on 104.7 (Bangor/Belfast), 104.3 (Augusta/Waterville) and 107.7 (Bar Harbor/Ellsworth)

'I have a great memory of playing in Bangor in the early '80s. I looked out in the audience and there was this guy watching us and he looked exactly like Stephen King. We did the show and we're backstage and there's a knock at the door. In walks Stephen King. He was an interesting-looking fellow with the glasses and the black hair. He kind of spooked us. He said, Why don't you guys come over to my house and hang out after you dry off.' It was an amazing experience. We went to his house and listened to music a lot of rock and roll stuff. He's really a great guy. Did you know he's an audiophile? He's totally all about music.' Mike Reno, lead singer and drummer for Loverboy

'We just love America and Maine is part of that. We love y'alls lobster (laughing). Man, it's a different breed of people up there. It's great, and we love to come there and play and spread the name of Skynyrd. It's a long way from Florida, so we're just really pleased that they like us up there. You want to hear us play, and we can't wait to get back up there. It's too soon to know if we'll make it back this year, but I hope we do. We really like it there.' Gary Rossington, guitarist and founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd

'I remember those cold winter mornings when I'd be up waiting for the train to drop the papers [Bangor Daily News] off. They didn't even stop. They would just throw the papers out. What I remember the most is that they tied them with wire. I was constantly losing my wire clips and I'd have to take a hammer and somehow wrangle that wire off ruining three or four papers in the process. I don't think I was a very good paperboy.' Rex Fowler, Pittsfield native and member of Aztec Two-Step

'I remember some summers of making that drive [from New York City to Maine] seemingly every week. I also remember playing in Houlton on a New Year's Eve First Night' event [1988]. Coming to Portland over the years has always been a fun thing. It's a sweet city and a fun place to hang out.'Neal Shulman of Aztec Two-Step

'Our Maine shows were both great experiences. I had forgotten how great Maine audiences are. They were open to everything we were doing. We were especially surprised at the audience at Jonathan's [in Ogunquit]. The audience knew everything we did and sang along with every song. We're a baby band and it's exciting to see the new music catching on.' Singer/SongwriterKenny Loggins speaking of his current band, Blue Sky Riders.

'We try to stop there at least once a year for a lobster roll. Since I was born there [in Kittery] I do have my minimum daily requirement of crustaceans.' John O'Hurley, actor and author, best known for his portrayal of J. Peterman on 'Seinfeld.'

'I've lived in New Hampshire for most of the last 40 years, so we're brothers and neighbors. Maine is particularly close to me. I have lots of friends who live there. I think of Acadia. I think of Cadillac Mountain where the first rays of the sun hit the United States of America, and my job is to shed a little light on the United States of America.' -Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker

[On Maine memories] 'Yes, especially the trees in the fall. That's pretty unbelievable. I've been up there a few times in the winter (laughing) and that's pretty unforgettable as well. I'm such a big fan of forests and wilderness, so I always feel at home in Maine.' Todd Park Mohr of Big Head Todd and the Monsters

'The Big Morning Show with Mike Dow' can be heard on Big 104 FM The Biggest Hits of the '60s, '70s & '80s - airing on 104.7 (Bangor/Belfast), 104.3 (Augusta/Waterville) and 107.7 (Bar Harbor/Ellsworth)

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