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In their circles
New album "V" out September 2nd. Pre-Order it here- smarturl.it/M5V
Adam and Jesse and I started playing music together in junior high, under the sway of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and their ilk. We generally played in Jesse's garage in Malibu or David Richman's basement in Brentwood. A few players came and went, most notably Adam Salzman, Amy Wood, and Jesse Nicita, until finally we scored Ryan Dusick as our drummer in 1994 and the unfortunately-monikered Kara's Flowers was born. We considered this quite a coup, as Ryan was older and one of the best musicians at our school. Ryan had also been writing music, and his collaborations with Adam made up the core of our material at the time, which is best described as "heavy" and "brooding". The lyrics could be characterized as "nonsense". After a year or so of this, our tastes were changing, as they so often do at that tender age, and we entered a phase of massive, obsessive Beatlemania that culminated in some ill-advised matching suits and big, bright pop songs with loud guitars. These are the songs that got us signed to Warner Brothers and to a superbigtime Hollywood management company. We made a record, hemorrhaged money, went on a couple really weird tours, and sold about a thousand records. The following couple years were spent regrouping, reshuffling, writing songs in the vein of "classic rock" and folk, and coming dangerously close to throwing in the towel. Adam and Jesse went on their Long Island adventure, driving cross-country at a breakneck pace and spending a semester at Five Towns College, purportedly studying music but mostly coming up with colorful nicknames for their classmates and listening to soul, gospel, R & B, and hip-hop. So, in fine Kara's Flowers fashion, we abandoned the songs that we'd been playing for the prior year and started fresh upon Adam and Jesse's return. Around this time the songs that ended up on Songs About Jane began to be written, and over the following year or so we'd written about half the record and recorded the demos that eventually got us signed yet again, this time to a plucky young upstart label called Octone, which was attached to the plucky young upstart behemoth J Records, which was in turn attached to the not-so-young, leviathan, venerated BMG. James had moved from Nebraska to LA around the time that we recorded those demos, and we met him and his bandmates in Square through mutual friends. So when we needed a guitar tech for those sessions, we called in James for his expertise in string-changing and guitar-tuning. When we needed another guitarist, as Jesse was making the transition from six strings to eighty-eight, we called in James for his expertise at actually playing the guitar. With the addition of a new member and a fresh spate of songwriting, we changed our name to Maroon 5 to solidify a new beginning. As to the origin of the name, it's a secret, and aside from the five of us only Billy Joel knows its provenance (true story). We then wrote Songs About Jane, recorded it in LA with Matt Wallace producing and Mike Landolt engineering, ate a lot of fast food and a lot of prescription speed, finished the record, totally thought we'd missed the mark, put it out, played a release party at Tower Records Sunset (R.I.P.) on January 25, 2002, went on tour, had a blast, played Starkville, MI a few times, reconfigured the seating in vans to accommodate us more comfortably, traveled in one very inhospitable RV that smelt of piss, looked in awe upon our first bus, met the Boss and Jay-Z within five minutes of each other, went platinum on our tenth anniversary as a band, kept touring, won a Grammy (!), made a lot of friends along the way, wrote a new song here and there, won another Grammy (wtf), opened for the Stones, saw a lot of the western world and a bit of the eastern, and toured some more. Sadly, the physical strain of playing so much really did a number on Ryan, and he hurt his arm so badly that he had to stop performing. We always imagined this to be temporary, but time went on and no reasonable diagnosis was made as to his ailment. Matt Flynn came in at the last minute and saved our asses in a time of need, having learned our record over the course of a couple nights. He ended up touring with us until we finally hung up our "on-the-road" gloves and put on the recording ones. After a year and a half playing with Matt, and with Ryan's condition still hindering him, we faced the most brutal decision and transition we had yet to encounter. So we moved into a new phase with Matt officially in the band, and thankfully he made it easy for us by being a monstrously great player and a general bro. After taking about a month off following our last few shows, we moved into the Houdini mansion in Laurel Canyon to write our next record. James and Jesse actually lived in the house, as the rest of us came and went daily, recording jams, building songs, and basically releasing the pent-up creativity that had amassed over the years. Jason Lader, an old friend who had engineered the demos of This Love and Harder to Breathe, was our comrade and co-producer on these sessions. That house has a few claims to fame, most notably that it is haunted, that it was home to the sessions for Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and that the board in the control room is the hallowed Hit Factory board on which most of John Lennon's solo work was recorded, among countless other great records. The bulk of what would become our second record was written and demoed over the few months that we worked there. We began to cast about for producers, and after consideration we assembled the team of Mike Elizondo and "Spike" Stent, two totally brilliant guys who happen to be a pleasure to work with too. (Btw, if you look closely at the string section during the G'n'R performance of "November Rain" at the '92 VMA's, you'll see a 19 year old Elizondo playing double bass.) We spent a couple months at Conway Studios, a sentimental favorite of ours (and home to those sessions that got us signed to Octone), and recorded the bulk of the record. After a short break, we regrouped in Burbank and finished phase one of recording. We lived with the record for a moment, and realized that there were a few loose ends to be tied up so we went in for two additional sessions, with Eric Valentine and Mark Endert, respectively, for fresh perspective and fresh ears. Both of them killed it, and really rounded out the record. As I write this, our single Makes Me Wonder has just been released, and our record is under our belts and coming out in less than two months. It's called "It Won't Be Soon Before Long", and we are quite proud of it. After so long touring, all we could focus on was our excitement about recording new songs, and now that the record is done, of course, all our energy is focused on our live show and the anticipation of being back on the road. See ya there, suckersssss