Uber-band Maroon 5 have the #1 single and album in the country this week. That gave them precisely five minutes to sit exclusively with iVillage to discuss such puzzling things as fame, the mystery of "Dunkleman," and why digital flowers are never cool.
M5 bass player Mickey Madden answers our "hard-hitting journalistic" questions.
1. Your debut album, Songs About Jane, was released five years ago this June. Having a gap that long in between albums is unusual for artists lately - especially if you're Rihanna.
Was there any pressure on you from the "powers that be" to deliver a second album sooner than you did, or do you really just like touring that much?
Unfortunately, long turnarounds are much more common these days than they used to be. Ours was unusually long, because when we started touring on SAJ we had no fanbase and no radio or MTV attention whatsoever, and we had an abnormally long tour while we built things from the ground up. After 3 and a half years on the road we finally came back home to make It Won't be Soon Before Long, which took about a year to make from the initial writing sessions to the mastered finished product.
The label certainly never rushed us, and they were incredibly hands-off throughout this process. We made the record that we wanted to make, top to bottom; from the songs to the production to the packaging to every other aesthetic detail, this record is a very accurate reflection of our five very disparate personalities and how they interact and blend.
2. Do you pitch music video treatments for your songs? ...And have you thanked Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake for the apparent aftershock digital flower alterations to the "This Love" video?
Man oh man, those digital flowers. What an absurd overreaction. Nudity and sexuality are NOT the problem; the problem is crass, empty, and cheap psuedo-sexuality. We strive to be sincere in everything we do, and sex is a big issue in our songs.
As far as our treatments and videos, we have been creatively involved, but certainly never to the extent that we'd ideally like, and we've never made a video completely to our satisfaction. It's a foreign art form to us, in which the band is essentially a prop for the director and editor. The more videos we make, the more clearly we see the nature of the medium, and we will hopefully continue to improve our output in that regard.
3. You performed your lead single, "Makes Me Wonder," on American Idol this season.
What was that experience like? And would you have been so willing to perform on that show, say, back in the days of Dunkleman?
Well, I don't know who or what Dunkleman is, but American Idol is such an outrageously huge phemomenon, and the prospect of performing in front of an audience that size was extremely exciting to us. It was strange and nervewracking, to be sure. It was a very unusual context in which to find ourselves, playing on that stage in front of those three judges, expecting a critique as soon as the song ended. I think we all sighed with relief when it was over.
Contestant Blake Lewis also performed two M5 songs on the show. Did you vote for him as a thank you for all those sweet residuals?
To my knowledge, no one in the band is a voting viewer of American Idol, but you never know. Maybe we have a closeted voter or two.
4. Adam's younger siblings have been identified as the "litmus test" for predicting hit M5 songs. Did they accurately predict that "Makes Me Wonder" would be a #1 song? Did you?
In classic band fashion, we were very unsure of Makes Me Wonder's potential, and it was a point of contention for months whether the song should even make the record. Thankfully certain of us were wrong.
5. Have you strolled on into Starbucks lately and tried to score a gratis tall misto by identifying yourselves as the band in the "Hear Music" display at the counter? Is it cool to see your music being carried in a variety of places for new fans to discover?
Usually I wear a sandwich board with our album cover on it and a circle around my likeness with "THIS IS ME. I'M A BIG DEAL" written in pink glitter paint above it. It works wonders. In all seriousness, the range and scope of the success is still overwhelming. It's flattering, humbling, bizarre and funny all at once.
6. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Adam cites an encounter with Billy Joel, where he divulged the apparent guarded history of the name "Maroon 5" to him - one of few to hear it.
Listen. . .
I went to school in Hicksville, he went to school in Hicksville. Adam and Jesse went to Five Towns College, I went to multiple colleges on the Island of Long. I own the original recorded-at-the-wrong-speed record of Cold Spring Harbor, and I'm sure he has one, too.
...Therefore, one can see that I clearly have so much in common with both you and Billy Joel that you should also tell me the "secret."
So, go ahead.
Well, I've met a lot of people with a lot in common with Billy Joel, but none has the magical je ne ce'st quoi of the master himself. So, with my apologies, I've got to continue to hold onto this secret.
May 30, 2007
Did you miss Maroon 5's Toyota Concert Series performance on TODAY?
Don't worry! We have an exclusive slideshow to help you catch up on all the M5 moments you missed.
Maroon 5's new album, It Won't Be Soon Before Long, featuring the hit single "Makes Me Wonder," is available online here.