Few bands over the past dozen years have been as reliable a hit-making machine as Maroon 5, which performs - no fooling! - Wednesday, April 1, at San Diego State University’s Viejas Arena. This will be the Los Angeles pop-rock band’s first area appearance since its 2013 show here at Sleep Train Amphitheatre with Kelly Clarkson.
The tour is in support of Maroon 5’s fifth and newest album, 2014’s “V.” Rather than offer surprises or sudden stylistic shifts, “V” further refines the band’s winning formula for creating the musical equivalent of comfort food. That formula, while often dismissed by critics as innocuous or worse, has helped Maroon 5 score a bevy of hit singles, sell millions of albums and win three Grammy Awards. (Ticket information appears at the conclusion of this article.)
Beyond “The Voice”
Lead singer Adam Levine, meanwhile, continues to be the band’s most visible member - and resident sex symbol - thanks largely to his high-profile position as a judge on the hit NBC singing competition series “The Voice.” He may soon be playing a key role, this time behind the scenes, on another music-oriented show.
Levine has been a judge on “The Voice” since its inception in 2011. Now, he is helping prepare the pilot for the proposed new NBC show “Songland.” He’ll serve as a co-producer for the show, along with a team that includes “Voice” executive producer Audrey Morrissey and former Eurythmics mainstay Dave Stewart. “Songland” will focus on songwriters, not singers, although the songwriters will also need to have a viewer-worthy back story to make the cut.
Adam Levine: metal head?
You may not know it from his band’s sleek brand of mainstream pop-rock, funk and blue-eyed soul, but lead singer Levine is a longtime headbanger - and proud of it. Maroon 5’s tours in the mid-2000s often included its version of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” a fact that may have qualified Levine for a nod of approval from Butt-head, if not Beavis.
“I stole my entire catalog from Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue; I just loved the music and wanted to learn to play their songs,” Levine told U-T San Diego in 2007. “I’ve been a metal-head from the age of 10 until now. ... Our shows are a lot louder and ruder than people know, unless they go see us. There’s a lot of guitar solos and jamming out.”
And then there were 6
Maroon 5 keyboardist Jesse Carmichael left the band in 2012 for a sabbatical and returned in 2014. Rather than dismiss his replacement, PJ Morton, the band decided to keep Morton and expanded from a quintet to a sextet. Morton’s 2013 debut album, “New Orleans,” features cameos by Stevie Wonder, Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes.
Laid back (in a very good way)
Before their March 2 concert in Washington, D.C., Levine and his band mates met backstage with Christopher Warner, a 10-year-old from Maryland who has Down syndrome. The meeting came about after one of Warner’s special-education teachers, Avery Stanert, made a video called “Christopher - Adam Levine’s #1 Fan” and sent it to an area radio station. (The video has since gone viral and now has more than 3 million views.)
Accompanied by his mother, Stanert and a few of his other teachers, Warner was so excited when he met Levine and the band that he nervously fell to the floor behind his mother, Cecilia. The singer and his fellow Maroon 5 members immediately rose - or, rather, came down - to the situation.
"(Christopher) was very shy at first,” Mrs. Warner later told ABC News. “I kind of got down on the floor and he was hiding behind me. Then Adam said: ‘That’s OK, we’ll all get down on the floor.’ It wasn’t beneath him to lay down on a locker room floor with Christopher.”
Quotes of note
Adam Levine has done several interviews with U-T San Diego over the past eight years. Here are a few of his more memorable quotes from those interviews:
“Pop music has never been a bad word to any of us (in Maroon 5). We’ll continue to embrace it, continue to do it, unapologetically, and just continue on. There is a lot of ‘catchiness’ and ‘pop-iness’ in a lot of our songs, but we’ve worked really hard on every single one of them. We don’t overlook anything.”
• “The longer you stick around, the more people respect you for not being a flash-in-the-pan. And I know we’re good enough to stick around as long as we want.”
• “My mother used to play The Beatles’ ‘I’ll Follow the Sun’ every day. And every time, I felt something intuitively. It seemed effortless and so connected to who I was. I thought: ‘Wow, this is something I could do with my life.’ ”
• “Being famous is just a very unnatural thing... (It) was never a goal of mine. I’ve never been interested in being that kind of person... I never wanted to be in all those stupid magazines. (So) I just retreated a little, because I didn’t want to mess up our career... I scaled back and decided not to be in places I shouldn’t be. I never wanted to think about it or have it be part of my life, but I had to.
• “Nobody wants to hear music about how happy and rich you are. It just isn’t interesting. I think what people want to know is: ' OK, you’ve got this great life, but don’t you suffer like we do?’ And the answer is: ‘Yes, of course. Everyone suffers’.”
Maroon 5, with Magic! and Rozzi Crane
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 1
Where: Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl, San Diego State University
Tickets: $29.50-$125 (plus service charges)
Phone: (800) 745-3000