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Maroon 5
One minute they were languishing on the sidelines without their careers ever having taken off, the next they were the hottest band around. Basking in the sweet glow of success, Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine talks exclusively to us about how this quintet found a new band name, developed some serious writing chops and brought the house down in their new avatar.


Before Maroon 5 they were called Kara’s Flowers. They ditched the floral moniker but life smells much sweeter now.

The Record: What was the struggle of the early days like for Maroon 5?
James: We really paid our dues early on. We opened up for so many different bands and it was always a struggle to engage someone else’s audience. At one point we were opening up for a sort of ska-punk band in Detroit and we had a little bit of a rough time there. People didn’t really know what to think of us. We had so many experiences like that!

TR: What was the biggest misconception about the band?
James: Early on people didn’t really know what to think of us because we were unlike any other band that was out. And early on with our direct sort of pop approach to song writing and because of our name, which has a number, some people might have misunderstood that we were a boy band. But that misconception quickly went away as people understood that we indeed play our own instruments and write our own songs. So I think that has been cleared but I think releasing a live DVD will continue to further convey the fact that we are indeed a rock band.


With this band there is no doubt that their success owes itself to the songs they so dedicatedly crafted. James gives us an inside look into their biggest hits.

Harder To Breathe ~ That was one of the last songs written for the album. Originally the inspiration for the song ~ it was about the pressure that was on us to write more songs. So that line ‘getting harder and harder to breathe’ was directly about the pressure that our manager and record company and everyone was putting on us! It’s funny because it ended up being the first single for the record.

She Will Be Loved ~ Also one of the last songs written before we started recording. That just came out of a night where Adam and I were jamming in the house we were living in at the time. I started playing a bossa nova riff, because I am really into Antonio Carlos Jobim and a lot of Brazilian composers. And that ended up becoming, eventually, the beginning of She Will Be Loved.

This Love ~ At the time, I was staying with Jesse, the keyboard player, who wrote that song. And I remember one morning I woke up to him playing that beginning intro riff on his piano and I remember thinking ‘Wow that’s really cool, we should turn that into something’. We combined it with something that Adam had been working on and it became that song.

Sunday Morning ~ That’s probably the earliest song on the record. The band has been performing it for almost five years now. They were playing it before I joined the band. That’s one of the more optimistic songs on the record because a lot of the songs tend to be pretty dark, about the bad times of a relationships and stuff and that one is about the good times.

You can read the rest of our exclusive with Maroon 5 in the November 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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