Maroon 5's Members Besides Adam Levine Deserve Credit Too, So Let's Get To Know Them
He's charming, flirtatious, and oftentimes shirtless. He's a judge and coach on The Voice, but is best known as the frontman for one of pop's biggest bands. And while it may come as a surprise to learn that there are six — yes, six — other members of Maroon 5 besides Adam Levine, they totally deserve some recognition, too. Especially since all seven of them will soon be taking the stage for one of the biggest performances of their lives: the Super Bowl LIII halftime show.
Look, Levine is great. Just ask my mother, who regularly refers to him as "Adam Divine." Out of everyone in the band, he seems to relish and thrive in the spotlight the most — and perhaps the other members of Maroon 5 are totally content taking a backseat to his big personality. They're all accomplished musicians in their own right, though, and today they're going to get their place in the sun.
So, just to reiterate, Maroon 5 is technically Maroon 7 now. Out of the original five members — Levine, guitarist James Valentine, Jesse Carmichael on keyboard and rhythm guitar, bassist Mickey Madden, and drummer Ryan Dusick — four of them remain. Dusick retired from the band due to injuries in 2006, according to a 2007 interview with Rolling Stone, and was replaced by their current drummer, Matt Flynn.
Since then, the band has rotated a few guest musicians in and out of their line-up while during various tours. Keyboardist PJ Morton and multi-instrumentalist Sam Farrar, however, both became permanent members of the Maroon 5 crew in 2012 and 2016, respectively.
Got all that? Cool. Now it's time to get to know all the guys in Maroon 5 other than Levine. Because let's be honest — at this point, you could probably map out all the tattoos on his torso with your eyes closed, right?
1. Jesse Carmichael (Keyboards & Rhythm Guitar)
Maroon 5 isn't just a group of random dudes. Carmichael, Madden, and Levine have known each other since they were 12, which is when their music journey began. "Adam and I would talk on the phone all night about Pearl Jam and Nirvana," the keyboardist told Rolling Stone back in 2007.
Once they got to high school, Carmichael, Levine, Madden, and Dusick formed a hard-rock band called Kara's Flowers. They gained some success playing clubs around Los Angeles, and released their first and only album together — The Fourth World — in 1997. Sadly, the record flopped, but the group continued to experiment with new sounds. "We were all over the place," Carmichael admitted to Rolling Stone. "We got into a country phase. We had reggae songs."
After recruiting Valentine on guitar, the band rebranded and renamed themselves Maroon 5. Their 2002 debut album, Songs About Jane, turned out to be a hit, and that's when the fame train really took on speed.
In 2012, though, Carmichael decided to take a break from touring. While speaking to Billboard about Carmichael's departure at the time, Valentine explained,
"We've just worked really intensely ever since Songs About Jane came out, and he's been playing music with Adam and Mickey since they were 13, so that's 20 years of playing music with the same guys and he just wanted some time to do some other stuff."
During his hiatus, Carmichael was replaced by PJ Morton. He'd end up returning in 2014, and both he and Morton stayed on as full-time members. That same year, Levine wed supermodel Behati Prinsloo. Carmichael's temporary departure clearly didn't cause a rift between the longtime friends, though, as he was given the honor of being Levine's best man.
2. Mickey Madden (Bass)
Madden has been playing bass with the group since the Kara's Flowers days, which is around the same time he decided to go vegan. "I’m a really big lover of animals," he told VegNews in 2010, "and, at the risk of sounding like a total hippie, I do feel more connected to the world at large and to animals."
He also told the outlet that the rest of the band is pretty health-conscious too, and Levine, in particular has seemingly picked up on some of his vegan eating habits. "All the band members are meat-eaters, but they’re not close-minded and [they] understand the principles of veganism," he explained.
Despite having been in and around show business for most of his life — his father, Robin, was a TV writer — Madden still isn't immune to getting starstruck. According to an interview with Rolling Stone in 2007, his most memorable celebrity encounter was when he met both Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen within 5 minutes of each other at Madison Square Garden.
3. James Valentine (Guitar)
Valentine grew up in Nebraska playing jazz guitar and was raised in the Mormon church. When the band recruited him to play guitar post-Kara's Flowers, he suddenly found himself at a bit of a crossroads.
"At the time it came to either go on a mission or move to California, I went on a different path," he told Desert News in September 2018. "I went to California and formed this band."
He continued to explain,
"That was very difficult. I think coming to terms with what my ideas were on the faith and sort of some the problems I had with some of the teachings of the church — it was very difficult and very confusing as a teenager to navigate some of that stuff."
He and his family are "still as close as ever" today, though. Same goes for his relationship with his second family — his bandmates. And while you'd think there'd be a little bit of jealousy regarding Levine commanding the spotlight — especially since he became a judge and coach on The Voice — Valentine insists that's not the case.
"I think [Levine being on The Voice has] been huge," he told the Kansas City Star in September 2018. "That’s where we played 'Moves Like Jagger' for the first time. That changed everything for us. Then all the subsequent singles, we were able to use The Voice as the platform to launch all of the songs."
4. Matt Flynn (Drums)
After Dusick was forced to bow out of the band in 2006, Flynn was recruited to take over on the drums. He's the oldest member of the group and a veteran musician — prior to taking the stage as a permanent member of Maroon 5, Flynn was the drummer for the B-52's and Gavin DeGraw, Rolling Stone noted.
Flynn typically hangs back when it comes to interviews with the rest of the band. According to his bio on Maroon 5's official fan club — the "S.I.N. Club" — page, though, his favorite color is green, he "[plays] drums kinda good," and he likes "sports and sometimes beer."
5. PJ Morton (Keyboards)
Morton was made an official member of the group in 2012, after taking over the keys for Carmichael during his brief hiatus. He was already an established musician before joining Maroon 5, though, and has been nominated for a whopping 10 Grammy Awards over the course of his career.
At this year's Grammys, Morton is up for four awards total: One for his work on Maroon 5's "Girls Like You" in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category, and three for Gumbo Unplugged — his hip-hop and R&B-inspired solo debut.
In January 2018, Morton spoke to NPR about the recent resurgence of hip-hop and R&B in popular music. "I just think it's very important music," he told the outlet. "It's music that we feel very deeply, and I think people are in need of connection right now. We want to fill each other right now because the world is a bit crazy. And I think it's music that goes straight to the heart."
6. Sam Farrar ("Utility Guy Of Sorts")
Farrar, yet another veteran musician in the group, first gained notoriety by playing bass in Phantom Planet when he was just 16. Sound familiar? Remember "California," aka the theme song to The OC? Yep, that was them.
According to the bio on Farrar's personal website, he joined Maroon 5 in 2012, "functioning as a utility guy of sorts. I play samples, keys, acoustic, percussion and sing some back ground vocals."
He also notes on his site that he's written and/or produced for a ton of well-known artists in addition to Maroon 5, including Sara Bareilles, JR JR, and Gomez. Farrar likes to draw, too, and once went to a summer camp devoted to architecture.
See? Told you the rest of Maroon 7 — er, Maroon 5 were worth getting to know. You can catch all of these super interesting, super talented dudes when they take the stage at the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.