Andrew Zuckerman photo
Life with Maroon 5 is a constant compromise. When touring, members juggle business and music. While writing, they weigh pop against rock.
Drummer Matt Flynn joined the group in 2006, replacing an injured Ryan Dusick halfway through a three-and-a-half year tour, and immediately felt the business pressure of constant interviews, photo sessions and television appearances.
Though he said he doesn’t pay attention to sales numbers, Flynn may have noticed the first single off the band’s new album, Makes Me Wonder, jump to No. 1 from No. 64 on the Billboard charts — the largest leap in history. Instead, he said everyone focuses on the task at hand.
“We do the writing and recording, that’s our job,” said Flynn. “They pick the single and say what they want to go with.”
After a short rest, the group headed to a studio in Los Angeles to work on new tracks. Though exhausted, Flynn said the group immediately knocked out three songs. The rest of the album came from a variety of songwriting configurations. Group sessions joined tracks written by members working in isolation. The experience wasn’t free of challenges, including arguments over rock or pop arrangements, with the group “locking horns” over the balance between post-production slickness and a more straightforward sound.
A former drummer for the B-52s, Flynn is no stranger to pop. He said if a group sells 10 million records, lots of people want to get involved. But at the same time, over-production undermines a record.
“Initially the album had programming all over it . . . These days . . . everything is so processed,” he said. “(A song) could sound like shit, (but if you) put it in a beat detector and play with pitch control, (it sounds great). The true measure of a band is playing well live.”