Maroon 5 with Train and Matt Nathanson
6:30 p.m. Thursday
OKC Zoo Amphitheatre
2011 N.E. 50th
Pop-rock chart favorites Maroon 5 and Train have made for one of the season’s top tours. That doesn’t mean they were positive they’d get along.
“You’re always a little nervous. It’s like, ‘Man, I hope these guys aren’t dicks,’” Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine said. “But they’ve been really cool, and it’s a great combo.”
It helps that the two groups are some of the century’s biggest hitmakers. With the pair responsible for “Hey, Soul Sister,” “Drops of Jupiter,” “She Will Be Loved” and “This Love” between them, there’s 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 it’s only about the songs, and writing songs that resonant with people.
It’s a continual challenge,” he said. “On the surface, it might not feel like there is much there. There’s 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 don’t have the songs, you don’t 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 band’s 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 we’re 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.
“It’s 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, we’ve talked more about programming and electronic music. There’s all kinds of directions you can go. We’re a little scatterbrained in that regard.”
Of course, time must be made for front man Adam Levine’s spot hosting NBC’s “The Voice,” as well as Valentine’s 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 doesn’t think any of them will ever get out.
“We’ve been doing this for so long, we’ve basically been institutionalized. We don’t know how to do anything else, so we’re pretty much stuck doing this,” he said. “We know that we’ve carved our niche in the world, and that if we continue to work hard, we aren’t going anywhere."