Maroon 5: 'Harder to Breathe' Is a Song About Coal. Just Kidding.

The band talks about how they're minimizing their footprint at Al Gore's Green Ball.


Lots of musicians have jumped on the green bandwagon this year, but Maroon 5, who performed at Al Gore's Green Ball, has been ahead of the trend for a while. "There was a groundswell of awareness in the early aughts about these issues," said James Valentine, the band's guitarist, on the green carpet. "But Jesse [Carmichael, keyboardist] was always way on it, he was a leader of getting stuff ready for the band."

Jesse told me about the band's transportation: "We offset everything we do. We don't ever take a flight without offsetting it." he added, however, that his transportation to Washington was a jet. "That conflict of interest is big."
Members of Maroon 5 (from left): James Valentine, Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael, Michael Madden, Matt Flynn. Far right: Paulina Rubio.

As for the bandmembers' personal lives, they're aiming for more sustainable lifestyles. "At home I'm working on a huge overhaul to my house, with solar panels and water systems and a greenhouse, and growing food," said Carmichael. 

Said Valentine: "I'm unplugging appliances, setting the thermostat at a reasonable level, and wearing a sweater instead of getting it blazing in there. All that kind of stuff that I learned from my anal frugal dad. If his voice was in everybody's ear, we would save a lot of energy. That's one of the unintended consequences of the economic crisis. People will start thinking about saving energy, because they'll save money."

Though the band is vocal about the ways that they're green, and encourages their fans to visit, they don't want the shift to a sustainable lifestyle to become a total downer. "We're trying to keep our fingers crossed but we're trying to stay happy too. It doesn't have to be spun in a way like, everything we enjoy has to stop if we're going to try to live more sustainably," said Carmichael. 

Asked what they were going to play at the Green Ball, Carmichael said, "We're going to play 'This Love,' 'Makes Me Wonder,' 'Harder to Breathe,' - which is a song that we're dedicating to the problem of coal burning. Just kidding."

Carmichael (l) and Valentine (r)


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