Maroon 5 grateful for frontman’s success

0

Maroon 5 grateful for frontman’s success

CONCERT PREVIEW

Maroon 5. With Kelly Clarkson and PJ Morton. 7 p.m. Sept. 16. $33.75-$99.50. Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, 2002 Lakewood Way, Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.

In March, Maroon 5 quickly sold out Philips Arena, largely thanks to the heightened visibility of its tattooed heartthrob of a frontman, Adam Levine.

On Monday, the band returns to Atlanta, this time heading outdoors at Lakewood for the Honda Civic Tour with headliner-in-her-own-right Kelly Clarkson joining them.

Not surprisingly, only a handful of seats remain.

Maroon 5’s recent ascension can be traced to Levine’s high-profile gig as a judge on “The Voice,” which tied in to a return to the charts in a big way. Since 2011, the year Levine joined the hit NBC singing competition, the band has scored five consecutive Top 10 hits: “Moves Like Jagger,” “Payphone,” “One More Night,” “Daylight” and “Love Somebody.”

Of course the band — Levine, guitarist James Valentine, bassist Mickey Madden, keyboardist PJ Morton, guitarist Sam Farrar and drummer Matt Flynn — was doing just fine prior to that, with a consistent presence on the charts in the mid-2000s with “This Love,” “Makes Me Wonder,” “She Will Be Loved” and others.

But Valentine readily admits that Levine’s breakout stardom has been an undeniable boost.

The affable ax-man called in from his home in Hollywood, Calif., recently, where he’s lived for 13 years, to talk about the tour.

Q: You’re going to some markets — like here — that you played earlier this year. How will these shows be different?

A: It’s an interesting challenge. We have to keep the set new, but we’ve been around long enough that people are going to want to hear certain songs. If you go see the Eagles, you want to hear “Hotel California.” If you go see Maroon 5, you want to hear “She Will Be Loved” and “Moves Like Jagger.” We change up the arrangements and want the show to flow together like one fluid element and throw in some covers to put it all together. Set-wise, we were inside the arenas on the previous tour, and we experimented with more production and figured out a way to bring some more of that into the amphitheaters.

Q: Did you have anything to do with Kelly Clarkson coming on board the tour?

A: We’ve been close to doing tours with her many times over the years. It kind of makes sense on a lot of levels. She is a singer’s singer. She’s just amazing, so that will be really inspiring, especially for Adam, to have her on right before us. He’s going to have to up his game! (laughs)

Q: Did you work on new material on the break between tours or just take some time to live?

A: We’re always working on new material. That continues on the road. We have a lot of songs in various stages of completion going. We could put out a record tomorrow if we needed to, but we won’t! Perhaps in the old days, we’d finish a record, tour and go back to the drawing board. I don’t know if we’re more focused, or because of technology, but we can work on ideas on our laptops on the back of the bus. We never really stop. We’re looking at early 2014 for a new release.

Q: Are you tired of being on the road or are you comfortable out there?

A: I do love being on the road. To an extent we’ve been institutionalized — it’s all we’ve really been doing since we were 21, hitting the road. So life makes more sense to me when we’re on the road. I know how to structure my day, then you get the release of playing a show at the end of the night.

Q: You can’t all possibly travel on the same bus?

A: Noooo! The band is split on two buses; those lines were drawn based on whether you play video games or not. They play a lot of “NBA Live,” but I’m not part of that bus. Can you tell from my tone? There’s a lot of shouting and name calling. Adam and Matt are on the video game bus. The rest of us read and listen to music.

Q: Speaking of Adam, how has the rest of the band dealt with his extracurricular activities and subsequent stardom?

A: The only time there was a hesitation was when (“Voice” producers) were deciding whether he would be involved. We couldn’t have predicted what a success the show would be — the whole show was classier than any of us expected. Initially when we heard singing competition show, that could have gone any number of ways. I think they pulled off something unique and created a really great show that is compelling to watch and it isn’t cheap like a lot of reality shows are now. Once the show was out, we were all clearly happy that this was all benefiting us. We felt a little guilty, actually, that we get to reap the benefits of this show, too.

It’s been a huge deal for us. It allowed a lot of people to connect the dots. Pre-“Voice,” I’d hum people songs and they’d go, “Um, yeah,” and now, post-“Voice” Maroon 5 it’s, “Oh, Adam Levine, ‘The Voice!’” Maybe if that wouldn’t have happened, we would have been one of those faceless bands.

For more music news, interviews and concert reviews, visit The Music Scene blog at www.accessatlanta.com.

View Comments 0

Weather and Traffic