So. Cal. band victorious with 'Jane'
Published: Thursday, May 20, 2004
Updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 15:01
If you've never heard of a band called Kara's Flowers, you have Stevie Wonder and the infamous ex-girlfriend Jane to thank.
Kara's Flowers was the Los Angeles high school band formed by the present-day members of Maroon 5. The quasi-punk band thought they had made it big after signing a record deal right out of high school, and began touring with fellow So-Cal skapunk standbys Reel Big Fish and Goldfinger. Kara's Flowers yielded one album and a lackluster sound that never allowed them to bloom to their full potential.
In 1999, the battered and wilted Flowers changed directions with a new style, a new sound, a new leading lady and a new name. Maroon 5 Lead guitarist, James Valentine, who attended Berklee College of Music with John Mayer, was added to the lineup, providing the guitar mastery that unleashed the powerhouse rock-funk fusion that now defines the band's signature sound.
In the meantime, lead singer Adam Levine fell in love. Twice. The first time with Motown legend Stevie Wonder. Levine first experienced Stevie's music in college and immediately adopted his soulful funky beats complimented by his smooth yet powerful voice, which proved to be the missing ingredient for the success that had eluded Kara's Flowers.
The rest of the band's lineup is augmented by the talent provided by Jesse Carmichael on keyboards, Mickey Madden on bass, and Ryan Dusick on drums.
The final element of the band's success was Jane. Jane is the muse and ex-girlfriend of Adam Levine, the "femme fatale" who inspired the band's first album, aptly titled "Songs About Jane." It was released in 2002.
While his hero Stevie Wonder "just called to say I love you," Levine laments the heartache and ecstasy inflicted by the notorious and almost villainous Jane. He examines, and mercilessly exposes, their relationship in the refreshingly unique and stylish songs that compromise the band's freshman album. It recently went platinum and generated their first number one single, "This Love."
Despite releasing "Songs About Jane" in 2002, their first single "Harder to Breathe" did not gain regular radio play last summer, when it dominated the playlists of radios and made routine appearances on MTV.
Their current music video for "This Love" has caused quite a sensation, as Levine gyrates and rolls around with a half-naked girl to the powerful, and borderline scandalous, lyrics of this cathartic ballad antithesis. The topless temptress is not just any actress: ironically she is Levine's current girlfriend.
As Levine's lyrics immortalize his bedroom exploits and attempts with Jane: "tried to keep her coming every night/ so hard to keep her satisfied," he is thrusting hip first into a vindicating romance that the blushing viewer can't help but wonder will provide the material for Maroon 5's next album.
The band's climb to fame has been very rapid and culminated with their recent explosion onto the Billboard charts. They have even gained popularity since APB originally courted the band to play a show at Santa Clara. Up until their current tour, Maroon 5 has opened for such performers as John Mayer, Counting Crows, Sheryl Crow and O.A.R.
Prior to the Santa Clara concert, the band played at a few East Coast universities. As supported by their recent and immense commercial success, APB's Andy Benton considers this concert "the biggest Santa Clara has ever put on, and its amazing that APB was able to pull this off."
APB chose Maroon 5 because of their rising popularity, and in part because the last two APB sponsored shows were punk bands, The Ataris and Sum 41. The suave music styling and boy band good looks of Maroon 5 provide a new flavor to the Santa Clara concert lineup, appealing to the pervasive Dave Matthews/John Mayer campus constituency.
In accordance with previous concert ticket sales, APB released the tickets to Ticketmaster, and designated the majority for student purchase. This chunk of tickets sold out within a few days. If you had a ticket to the concert, consider yourself lucky.