Over the years, Maroon 5 has become a household name. It seems like every time we turn on the radio we hear another #1 hit single. They've been on top long enough to stake their claim and headline national arena tours, producing a menagerie of catchy songs; it's hard not to admit to liking at least a portion of their music. For some people, there is a certain amount of discomfiture that comes from admitting you like a band with as much mainstream popularity as Maroon 5. Even your friends who own an album or two might not want to admit it.
[jump] But you know what? It's safe to admit it. No really, it is. Maroon 5 isn't your typical genre of pop; they have a conceptual way of blending all the things we love about music. With aspects of funk, R&B, and rock 'n' roll, Adam Levine's pliable vocals uniquely display the pains and desperation of that heart-on-sleeve lyrical content that we can all relate to.
The band just released their third album, Hands All Over, in September, and are on a tour now. Gimme Noise had a chance to speak with keyboardist Jesse Carmichael of Maroon 5 prior to their performance tomorrow night at the Target Center.
(Before I even had a chance to begin my interview, Jesse Carmichael Keyboardist of Maroon 5 had another idea...)
I can give you this interview without you even saying one word; I can tell you everything that you want to put in your City Pages publication. Unless... you can tell me there was something unexpected that you were going to ask me?
You probably do a lot of press, huh?
You gotta' get personal, you gott'a look into their Wikipedia pages and ask, what is this person been doing, what's your entry point. Like look into it, is this person into Yoga? Talk about what this person's interest is in yoga. And then I'll be like, whoa, Cindal! I'm interested in what I'm asking now I can really talk to you, as opposed to giving you some sound bite.
Are you into yoga?
No I hate yoga! No just kidding I really am into yoga, I love yoga. I see that we are talking about the Minneapolis dates, at the Target Center, but anyway, I would really like to say that Ry Cuming is a really good friend of mine (he's opening), he's a great musician, and he's got a great soul. One Republic are great guys as well, they'll be playing before us as well. So it's a great bill for our fans.
I also think something our fans should know is that we're more excited for this tour than we've been for any other tour ever before! Because we've got this full-on, breath of fresh air, burst of energy when we started preparing for this tour. When we went back and started to remix some of our old songs, and came up with some cool covers. We have some cool ideas for the show. And we started playing with a guy named PJ Morton, who is a piano player and singer from New Orleans; his musicianship and soulfulness really revitalizes the band. We're already started to tour on the East coast, and now the album is out and I think it's going to be a lot more fun to the people in the audience to see the new songs. Everything has a good feeling about. Twitter has really changed the way we feel about touring.
Do you know off the top of your head how many awards you've actually won?
Umm No, 7, I'll say 7, that's my guess. I have no idea, how many...?
I think that's about right.
That's a very interesting aspect of the world that we live in, because for me it's like it's very separate from how successful we feel internally, whether or not we win awards. And I think it's the same for everybody, where like, you're own critical voice is the most important thing that reads. When you do that it doesn't matter what else happens, and when you don't do that, it also doesn't matter what else happens. So ask me how many internal-mind Grammys I've won?
I don't know, I think about this all the time -- 9 or 11.
See the way I see it, if you think you've reached success, and if you think you've done your best, than you'll never grow to keep doing better.
That's a good way of saying it, I agree with you completely.
I'm sorry, but what are you listening to there?
Ah, Ella Fitzgerald Christmas Carols.
Are you serious?
I am so serious.
What do you think of the current state of music?
I am a very optimistic person, I believe that there are silver linings found in everything and I guess that implies that there are a lot of gray clouds too. So I am just focused on the future, I am not focused on what is right now in the music. I am thinking of what kind of music is going to make me happy in the future. And that's the kind of music I am going to try and make. So it's going to be pure, and I hope that everyone is always trying to do things from a pure place, and if they're not doing that, then I hope they start to do that.
Who is your all-time favorite artist? Not your influence, but your favorite.
It's like different pieces of the whole puzzle, yah know, I love whatever Bob Dylan has ever done - on one side of things. And Radiohead, and Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Robbins. And as far as everybody else, on lots of different sides of the spectrum. I love Kanye West, and John Lennon.
I guess I like people who are true to themselves, that's like the thing I would say across the board. People who also can communicate that very personal thing in a very universal way; it's an amazing thing to be able to do. Like I just saw a picture of John Lennon's apartment after he'd been killed, and the people that filled the streets and it was just insane.
Have you ever been to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
I went a couple years ago, but I also went to the Rock and Roll Induction last year and sang with Graham Nash & the Hollies, with Adam [Levine]. We were filling in for the two other Hollies that weren't able to make it. It was a blast! What brought that to your mind?
Well I was just there, and I saw a bunch of John Lennon's artifacts, did you know that Yoko Ono was the one that actually provided the Hall of Fame all of his stuff?
She's rad, they're all rad! I mean I was just reading a bunch of interviews about and with John Lennon in this big compilation. When they were first getting started with their peace-protest they were real fucking brave experimentalists for doing the things that they did. Just they're whole thing, like the whole idea of wanting to shake people up and get them out of their comfort zones. So exciting, and I just really appreciate what they did.
John is just a totally fearless man, putting him and Yoko naked on the cover of the music that they made, the first night that hung out together. I don't know can you imagine anybody who's a famous pop-star today doing a cover of themselves naked on their album?
Well, who's naked on the cover of your album?
OH YEAH?! They're not naked, that's tasteful. But what I am talking about is just personal, have nothing to hide behind - see me standing full-frontal nudity.
Well today, that would be completely insane and totally illegal.
Right and it already happened back in 1969, so why haven't we continued that tradition of bravery? How have we gone backwards in our world?
Because it would be done distastefully, that's how our society thinks.
No but that's really sort of a cynical way to paint it with a broad stroke. We could do whatever we want. You and I could put pictures of ourselves completely naked on our Myspace accounts; we haven't yet right?
When does this happen?
New Years Eve Midnight 2011! It's no-fear year, and everybody is going to post a picture of themselves, stark naked, standing in front of harsh fluorescent lights with a white background. This is what I'm saying we have to form a collective movement, strength in numbers.
MAROON 5 play with Ry Cuming and OneRepublic on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28, at the TARGET CENTER. All ages. $29-$65. 7:30 p.m.