On the verge of stardom: Maroon 5

Allison Corneau

Maroon 5 is not your typical boy band. Yes, the five members are all male, but you won’t catch this group busting a move on stage to a prerecorded dance track using rehearsed choreography. Instead, the group has traded their dance moves for instruments, as they treat music fans to a guitar-driven, pop rock infused musical journey. Maroon 5, whose hit “Harder to Breathe” is currently gaining airplay on local radio stations like Hamden’s KC101 and KISS 95.7 out of Hartford, released their debut album “Songs About Jane,” in June 2002.

But before there was Maroon 5, these L.A.-based rockers were the cream of the crop at their high school, with their band Kara’s Flowers. Members Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael and Mickey Madden formed the group, which produced a less than stellar debut record, “The Fourth World.” Leaving the group to wonder if music was really their calling, the trio disbanded and attended college.

Things began to look up once Levine, Carmichael and Madden met up with high school chum Ryan Dusick and guitarist James Valentine, who created the final piece of the new band. Deciding to rename their group Maroon 5, the quintet hit the ground running after being signed by the Octone Records label, a partnering label of Clive Davis’ media powerhouse J Records.

Maroon 5 worked with noted producer Matt Wallace (Third Eye Blind, Train) to compile their debut disc “Songs About Jane,” which, according to Levine on the band’s web site, was a way to vent his frustration about an ex-girlfriend, strangely enough, named Jane.

A popular hit among area music fans, “Harder to Breathe,” is the result of Levine’s longing to create a distinct, new sound for his edgier group.

“I have to give the people at [the label] credit because they were really trying to push us to do this. Matt Wallace also thought we had so much chemistry as a rock & roll band that it would be a shame to lose that element. We went back and recorded live drums over loops, and wound up making more of a rock record, which I think makes it stand out way better,” he writes on the web site.

Maroon 5’s new hardcore sound has gotten the band quite noticed over the last few months, as they have made the rounds on the television talk show circuit and have wowed music fans in concert venues across the country. The quintet has proved the non-believers wrong when they accompanied such hit makers as local favorite John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, and newcomer Jason Mraz, on the road. With a hit single that can transcend age groups and radio market demographics, Maroon 5 definitely has the staying power to keep their records spinning on local airwaves for a while.