The mocu-view: Maroon 5
Adam Levine and James Valentine get Blunted and spill their guts
Whether it’s frontman Adam Levine’s shocking confession to Rolling Stone that he has excruciatingly boring dreams, or bassist Mickey Madden’s jaw-dropping revelation that he just loves animals, it seems that, time after time, for their adoring fans, the young men of Maroon 5 are not above “letting it all hang out.”
Their music is everywhere: television commercials, the Internet and elevators nationwide. So it seems like another interview with the band would only add more superfluous garbage to the media junk pile.
But not so fast, says Michael Moses, of BWR Public Relations, the Beverly Hills firm representing the band: Let’s not forget that Maroon 5 is a Grammy-winning, multi-platinum group. They’ve won several awards for their 2002 debut album, Songs About Jane, and this past May released It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, which quickly went to No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Over the last few years, the band has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide; over the past few weeks, Moses has thrown so many band-related facts into SN&R inboxes that we half-expect all the computers to burst into Maroon 5-trivia fireballs.
Well, lucky for us, the bionic group is now on tour, bringing its Starbucks-ready brand of soggy pop to Sacramento’s Arco Arena November 5.
But instead of scheduling a personal phone interview, Moses, cost-efficient guy that he is, strongly encourages us to use a canned teleconference interview to pacify the nation’s most pop-thirsty Maroon 5 fans.
Why, thank you, Mr. Moses. We just might take you up on your offer.
Yet that confirmation won’t do: “You are gonna write about them, aren’t you?” He prods, hoping someone here uses this intriguing interview to his advantage.
Sure, Mr. Moses. We’ll figure something out.
SN&R: Over the past decade or so, given our political climate, musicians really seem to have taken on an activist role, like they did in the Vietnam era. It seems like artists are getting involved again in global issues and really reaching out to other communities. Have you guys ever thought about how you, as one of the world’s most popular bands, can positively impact the world?
Adam Levine: No.
Oh man. OK, how about spirituality? I heard that you guys are pretty close to God. What’s that like?
Levine: Well, actually, James and I both got to play with Him. We were having a jam session at my house—just a random night—and everyone came over and played music. I had invited all the musicians I knew and He ended up stopping by with his band. Kind of took over, obviously, and started playing for a little bit and there was some sort of issue.
God had an issue?
Levine: There was some technical problem with one of the amps or something. He immediately put the guitar down and said, “Let’s go to my place, jam there; bring your party over to my house.” So that’s what we did, and it was just incredible.
That’s really intense. What kind of music do you play when you’re in God’s house?
Levine: We played cover tunes. He started off by just playing some of his songs from his records. It was just a blast. He has this big, huge, gigantic ballroom-esque place in his house and all of our friends dancing and having a good time. And then we went up there and joined him. And then James went and traded solos with Him. It was pretty …
James Valentine: The greatest moment of my life!
Levine: Yes, you kept up with Him, too. It was good.
Valentine: Thanks, Adam.
Jesus, get a room, dudes. Anyway, God, huh? That’s an insane story—almost unbelievable. You must have learned tons from the Lord.
Levine: I think you always learn something when you’re in that guy’s presence.
Valentine: Yes, the goal is always to play with musicians who are better than you, and He would definitely fall into that category.
Yeah, no shit.
Valentine: And His whole band was really incredible, too. All He was interested in doing was playing music, and that’s all He does every night. It’s amazing.
Levine: Until the wee hours, until pancake time.
You had pancakes with God and his band?
Levine: No, they offered, actually. Believe it or not, they offered, but we were too tired.
Bad move. You should have had the pancakes. Anyway, can we delve into your personal lives? I mean, didn’t you guys just get into a huge Roman-style orgy with James Blunt?
Levine: That was intense, to say the least.
Valentine: That was an amazing experience … speaking of like Prince to the Rolling Stones. They’re another group of our idols and …
Wait, wait. That’s such a shitty segue. Don’t cop out.
Levine: I don’t know what’s happening here.
What? Let me guess, you haven’t come out of the closet?
This is the SN&R, dude—everyone’s gay here. Anyway, Swedish dudes are hot, but I’m told you’re only into Swedes. And if you love them so much, why don’t you have the decency to learn their language?
Valentine: Swedish is hard.
Levine: Swedish is tough … beautiful, though, mostly because I think the Swedish people are beautiful.
OK, but do you think your extreme-hyper-metrosexual image will alienate your heterosexual fans?
Wow. Since we’re being so honest, you guys have been accused of misogynist lyrics, but aren’t you kind of known as the loverboys of the music industry? If so, how do you classify your lovemaking style?
Levine: Bam, bam, bam. Most of them are pretty quick.
So if we were to make love right here and now, would you still respect me as a journalist, or would you consider me …
Levine: Another notch on our belts.
Ouch. Hey, I heard a sex tape was in the works.
Levine: Not for this tour. We’re definitely, at this point, we want to document everything … as far as a proper DVD, not for this tour. We’re probably going to do that either in Europe or next summer or something around that time when we can really prepare for it. This is kind of our first time out. We want to play some new songs, loosen up a little bit.
Well, not to dwell on superficialities, but you guys look like a bunch of dudes who just got fired from the Gap. What is going on with your whole image?
Valentine: That’s a good question.
I know. That’s why I asked it.
Levine: Someone once told me, “Take long walks.” And I still don’t do that. Just a friend, said, “Take long walks.”
That doesn’t make sense. What on earth are you talking about?
Levine: I feel a little bit like a savant or a weirdo.
Oh, I see: a disability. Sorry. Let’s change the subject. Are you guys into Criss Angel at all?
Valentine: Criss Angel. Is he a … guy?
Yeah, he’s a guy.
Valentine: I think he’s going to run me over with a steamroller as I’m singing, but I’m going to keep singing.
Oh my God! I don’t even know what that means.
Valentine: I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. Yes, I have no idea. I’d like to meet that guy at least.
You guys have been described as heartbreakers, but all I really see are just some dudes, wearing different colored striped shirts and making various poses. Where are all these conquests you speak of in your lyrics? Do any of them ever stick around?
Levine: Once they do, they stick like glue.
Um, OK. Well, since we’ve broken the decency hymen a long time ago, can I confess something? Sometimes I imagine I’m locked in a room with just you guys, a keg of margarine and a bottomless bag of methamphetamine.
Levine: Weird. I think about that all the time. I think there’s something about what we do that is very attractive to people and they like what we do. I don’t know what it is, but it’s very exciting.
It gets you a bit woozy just thinking about it, no?
Levine: It does.
Let’s be honest. You guys love the shit out of yourselves, don’t you?
Levine: Bands get big and they kind of develop these grandiose opinions of themselves and what they want to do. Then they start answering questions like this, which is impacting the culture and you think, “All right, let’s backpedal for a minute.” We craft songs and we love to play them. And we hope to inspire people and make them smile, or make them think, or make them do whatever they’re going to do, or dance maybe.
But we’re certainly not reinventing the wheel or necessarily putting a flag anywhere. We just are kind of a unique group of guys and just want to continue to play music. As far as any kind of impact, we won’t know that for 20 years. Right now, we just have to make the right decisions and write good songs that people love and see what happens.
Actually, your tracks seem to be bit watered down for the sake of mass appeal.
Levine: We don’t write tracks, we write songs.
Levine: I don’t know what’s happening here.
Yeah. Um. Yeah. Well, I think I have to wrap up.
Moderator: Thank you, and that does conclude our conference for today.