Unless you’re playing stadiums like Keith Richards or The Edge, chances are you’re not gigging on the level James Valentine is.
On the new episode of the audio podcast No Guitar Is Safe, Valentine sets up his elaborate stage rig for you, plugs in and plays for you, and chronicles how his band, Maroon 5, fought their way out of small clubs and greasy van tours to become one of the biggest arena acts in the world, selling over 27 million albums and counting.
“We used to drive the van all night, show up in a radio station’s parking lot, find their restroom so we could rinse out our armpits, and then bring them pizza and perform for them at lunchtime, so they’d get to know us,” says Valentine.
Then, says the guitarist, the band would do the same thing at another radio station across town, head to soundcheck, play a club gig that night, and do it all over again the next day. “I tell young bands, ‘That’s the level of work you’re gonna have to put in if you want to break through,’“ adds Valentine.
Also on this third episode of No Guitar Is Safe (which is the official podcast of our sister publication Guitar Player), Valentine plays tons of musical examples, showing host Jude Gold how he developed his platinum-selling funk-pop guitar style.
Additionally, Valentine details the amazing wet/dry/wet guitar rig designed for him by Mark Snyder and wired by Mike Buffa.
“One of my favorite parts of this episode is when James and tech Dave Lee tell us about some hilarious Spinal Tap-type moments Maroon 5 has suffered on stage,” says Gold. “It proves that no matter how sophisticated your show is, mishaps can and will happen. We’re all just human.”
If you have an iPhone, just open your Podcasts app, search for No Guitar Is Safe, and hit “subscribe,” and you can stream or download this episode as well as the first two episodes (with Joe Satriani and Brad Gillis). No Guitar Is Safe is also, of course, easy to find on Android and Google platforms, Soundcloud, Sticher, your home P.C., and anywhere else where podcasts are hosted. Or simply click the button below.