The Making of Maroon 5’s Call and Response: An Oral History


Conceived over the summer of ’08 as a fourth quarter game-changer, Maroon 5’s Call and Response inexplicably gathered such disparate talents as Of Montreal and Deerhoof, Just Blaze, Pharrell Williams, Cool Kids, and Cut Copy together, in the same place. Here now, for the first time, is the story of the making of the album. Some of the characters may in fact be fictional; all of the quotes are complete fantasy.–Chris Ryan

Terry “Doc” Eagleton [Maroon 5 manager]: The idea came some sorry late-summer Saturday night. Me and Walt, M5’s A&R were out with an intern named Leslie, trying to see the bright lights. The Cuervo Gold; the fine Colombian. We were plotting the jump to Santos, and wondering for the 38th time how all the women in New York City agreed, simultaneously, to tuck their jeans into their boots. Leslie starts singing faux-falsetto, “you keep me coming back for more.” Her phone rings. It’s a home-made midi file ringtone of Cut Copy’s “In Ghost Colours,” and–rush of blood to the head time–the idea hits.

Walt “All About the” Bejamin-Brezhner: : Everybody likes “all types of stuff,” and nobody doesn’t like Maroon 5.And what if there was an excuse for all types of stuff to be on one record? And what if Maroon 5 was the ostensible reason for this gathering of tribes that are frequently found on the same MP3 blog but have never yet shared the same physical space?

Eagleton: It was an iTunes playlist from a Sarah Lawrence sophomore masquerading as a physical product. Nobody goes to Pitchfork because Chicago is the Paris of the Rust Belt. Fuck no! They go to hear W.C. perform all of Ghetto Heisman in a field because it’s real and it’s happening. And it doesn’t even matter how it sounds because you were there and that’s what you’ll remember. That was the guiding philosophy behind the album.

Benjamin_Brezhner: We got pretty much everyone we were gunning for except for David Foster and Thomas Brinkmann.

Eagleton: Who gave a fuck what it sounded like! They could’ve gotten whoever they wanted as long as they fit this elegant equation of artists. Cool Kids?! Fine! Jay & The Americans?! Sure!

Chuck English [Cool Kids]: Text is malleable.

Pharrell Williams: I’ve been trying to sound like Maroon 5 since before there was a Maroon 5 so you can imagine this was some circle of life shit wherein I got to play Simba.

Just Blaze: I was salty about Brinkmann dropping out; that was actually the big draw for me. So, between you me and Google, I kinda phoned it in with a Saigon demo from ’04.

Adam Levine [Maroon 5]: I really like wall-climbing to Holdy Paws. That was my rationale for the project. I was also curious to see what people would do with our songs; what jewels would be wrought from such raw materials.

Benjamin-Brezhner: The Cut Copy remix sounds like what you would want being in a cab with a girl with her jeans tucked into her boots going out for the weekend, trying to make tonight a wonderful thing to sound like. Which is to say, it sounds like New Order. Shuffle on.

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