Pop-rock chart favorites Maroon 5 and Train have made for one of the seasons top tours. That doesnt mean they were positive theyd get along.
Youre always a little nervous. Its like, Man, I hope these guys arent dicks, Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine said. But theyve been really cool, and its a great combo.
It helps that the two groups are some of the centurys biggest hitmakers. With the pair responsible for Hey, Soul Sister, Drops of Jupiter, She Will Be Loved and This Love between them, theres a whole lot of sing-alongs on display, and Valentine thinks he knows why. Kind of.
The secret, if there is a secret, is that its only about the songs, and writing songs that resonant with people.
Its a continual challenge, he said. On the surface, it might not feel like there is much there. Theres lyrics about the same stuff over and over again and simple melodies, and that seems easy, but you really have to work through a lot of ideas to find that one that is memorable enough. If you dont have the songs, you dont have anything.
Against the Madonna model of pop stardom, Maroon 5 has not yet opted for a total re-invention, although some more electronic moments made their way onto the bands latest album, Hands All Over. There is a reason for not straying far from its poppy, neo-soul roots.
I guess we have a pretty unique sound already. We staked our claim on that and were really going to own it, Valentine said.
Hopefully, the five guys minds will align in time to release another record quicker than the four-year lag between previous albums.
Its going to be a leaner approach, he said. We might be going backwards, in a way, and going way more on the organic side: recording more things live, experimenting with record with tape. On the other side, weve talked more about programming and electronic music. Theres all kinds of directions you can go. Were a little scatterbrained in that regard.
Of course, time must be made for front man Adam Levines spot hosting NBCs The Voice, as well as Valentines side project, JJAMZ, with ex-Phantom Planet and Rilo Kiley members.
But at the end of the day, it all comes back to Maroon 5, and Valentine doesnt think any of them will ever get out.
Weve been doing this for so long, weve basically been institutionalized. We dont know how to do anything else, so were pretty much stuck doing this, he said. We know that weve carved our niche in the world, and that if we continue to work hard, we arent going anywhere."