Rolling Stone spent some time with Adam Levine for a Q&A in our current issue, grilling the Maroon 5 frontman on his band’s new album and Begin Again, his big-screen debut. Eventually, conversation turned toward Levine’s haters, a group that the singer has learned to embrace. “Fuck ’em,” he says. “It’s not even worth making music anymore unless you know it’s gonna cause a reaction in people.” Here’s more from contribuing editor Rob Tannenbaum’s chat with the Voice star:
I wondered whether you saw the episode of Girls that features “One More Night.”
So funny, so fucking funny. It was perfect. It was kind of like the ultimate commentary on our music.
I think I know what you mean, but explain.
Well, there’s a couple things that are really funny about that whole scene. First of all, that line when she goes, “It just doesn’t even make sense,” talking about the lipstick line, “your lipstick’s got me so out of breath.” When I was writing that song with the guys who wrote it with me, the line was supposed to be “your lips, they’ve got me so out of breath.” And I heard lipstick, and I thought lipstick was cool because it’s a little more strange and it doesn’t make much sense. I like that about it, so I changed it, and of course, one of the few lines that I change got totally blasted and called out on Girls. “It doesn’t make any sense.” She is totally right – it doesn’t make any sense, but that’s why I liked it.
So there’s that, and there was like this perfect commentary on our music because they were a car full of cute girls singing our songs, and everyone’s having fun but then there’s the one brooding dude who fucking hates it and wants to kill it. Maybe his anger and hatred has something to with secretly maybe liking it, not wanting to admit it, so he beats the shit out of the stereo and he breaks it. I mean, if that’s not Maroon 5 in a nutshell, I don’t know what is. That was the perfect visual reenactment of a response to our music. It’s exactly what we’re going for.
Did you watch it knowing that it was going to happen?
No. Well, someone had sent it to me and I just kind of laughed my ass off, because it was so perfect. It was like, you can’t deny this, it’s in the world, but some people are gonna hate it. And that’s my favorite. To me, it’s not even worth making music anymore unless you know it’s gonna cause a reaction in people, both positive and negative.
I much more enjoy the shit that I know is gonna be polarizing in some way. I think that when you’re younger you don’t want that. “Oh, I want every single person to love us.” No, oh my God. Or, “I really want cool people to like us.” You know, people have a really backwards, ridiculous opinion of what they want to achieve with their music, which, often leads them down a very dangerous path of kind of caring too much about everything. I have started to kind of enjoy and get off on the idea that we’re going to put something out that people are gonna hate but a lot of people are going to love. If some people don’t absolutely fucking hate it, you’re doing something wrong, in my opinion.
You recently tweeted, “I hope people understand that when they say my hair looks creepy, I take that as the highest compliment.” I was wondering if you wanted to add any context to that.
Doing that to my hair [dying it blond] was just complete… I don’t know, we were bored and messing around. I thought it’d be fun and there was such an overwhelming response to it. I don’t really do anything to elicit a response as much as I just want to do it. And I don’t want to be afraid to do it, whatever it is. It’s just a silly stupid thing I didn’t think that anybody was going to care that much about. Of course, I was wrong, as I usually am.
I guess I enjoyed it. I liked the fact that it was off. That was the whole point. Like, “Fuck ’em. Let’s just have fun and not worry about that.” I wanted to do that for a while, so I just did it, and it’s going to go away soon anyway. It’s funny. I like that. I don’t mind people thinking it looks stupid. Fuck them. Who cares? I don’t mind people thinking I look stupid.
I didn’t realize that people were saying that your hair looked creepy or stupid.
I get a lot of that from people. Or at least it was just something that people fixated on, like it was an issue. There are so many things in the world to talk about, it just seems like my fucking hair isn’t one of them, so I think it’s funny when people say the things they say, it’s is hilarious.