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Maroon 5 teams with Mutt Lange for new album

By Denise Quan, CNN
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On the set with Maroon 5
  • Maroon 5's new album is produced by Mutt Lange who's worked with Def Leppard, AC/DC
  • There's a country-flavored ballad on the record, and Lady Antebellum were guests
  • Lead singer Adam Levine: "If you don't like our music, it's fine"
  • Maroon 5
  • Music
  • Entertainment
  • Celebrity News

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- Adam Levine is dangling from a crane, 6 feet above traffic in downtown Los Angeles. Gingerly, the Maroon 5 front man is lowered onto the asphalt, where he falls onto his back and plays possum. "Cut!" yells the assistant director.

Levine jumps up, grins, unhooks his harness and saunters over to his trailer to do an interview. Meanwhile, a Doppelganger stuntman in a matching T-shirt and jeans steps in and prepares to mimic the fall -- but from a higher drop.

Maroon 5 is shooting the video for "Misery," the lead single off the band's third album, "Hands All Over," due in September.

The concept for the video is simple. Levine falls for a girl who keeps hurting him -- figuratively and literally. In Wile E. Coyote fashion, the she-devil shoves him off balconies and throws him through plate-glass windows. Pretty soon, his bandmates' lives are in danger, too. One by one, they get run over by cars and explode via rocket launcher in spectacular fashion.

It's perfect, tongue-in-cheek Maroon 5 fare, over a perfect, radio-friendly Maroon 5 track. "It's your standard sad song set to a happy beat," says Levine.

The new album is produced by Mutt Lange, who's worked with Def Leppard, AC/DC and The Cars, but is perhaps best-known as the camera-shy ex-husband of country superstar Shania Twain. He sought the quintet out, after hearing they were writing songs for a follow-up to their 2007 disc, "It Won't Be Soon Before Long."

CNN spoke with Levine and bass guitarist Mickey Madden during a break on the set of "Misery."

CNN: It's been a couple of years since you last made a music video.

Adam Levine: I have this sick, sadistic love for making videos. Usually people say they hate it. I actually really like it. I've always had a hankering to be an actor, so [I'm] seeing if I have what it takes.

CNN: It's a concept video, not a performance-based video.

Levine: MTV doesn't really play music videos anymore, regardless of what they like to say. So it's kind of one of those things where we have more freedom to do what we want to do now, which is fun. And there also needs to be something happening that makes you want to pay attention. And this is definitely one of those kind of videos, and we're really excited.

CNN: You guys worked with Mutt Lange, who we hear is kind of a famous recluse. He's produced artists like Def Leppard, but people probably best know him as Shania Twain's ex.

Levine: Yeah, people that read the gossip rags know him as that, but he's actually much more. He's a very talented man.

Mickey Madden: It's funny that anyone who basically values their privacy in this day and age is sort of tagged as a recluse, but he's one of the most affable, friendly, just easy to work with people we ever had.

CNN: Did you go to him in Switzerland? Rent a place, hole up and go to work?

Madden: We stayed in a little town right on the lake. We shared an apartment, and a couple other guys stayed above the studio -- all of which was in walking distance. It was really amazing. It's one of the most beautiful places we've ever been. We learned the value of leaving L.A. to record. It was super productive. We worked seven days a week, 14-hour days. Mutt and the engineer -- they worked even longer hours than that. They are machines. It's mind-blowing.

CNN: We hear there's a country-flavored ballad on the record, and that you had Lady Antebellum as guests.

Levine: That was one of those things that kind of came about really organically. We really don't know much about the country world, and we had heard about this band, and their dynamics seemed to be right. The harmonies and extra, additional stuff they did on the record was really great. I love 'em. We had them do it from Nashville, which was kind of a long-distance studio session. Long-distance high five, Lady Antebellum!

CNN: What were you looking to do with this third album?

Levine: I think on this record, I didn't have anything on my mind other than what we were doing musically. That took precedence over who was inspiring us -- or what was influencing us -- on the first two records.

Madden: We probably now have a sense of our own identity.

CNN: The second record had kind of an '80s vibe. Did you get any backlash from people who said, "It doesn't sound like the Maroon 5 I'm familiar with?"

Levine: Yes and no. I don't think that we really focused on that kind of thing. It's a free country. If you don't like our music, it's fine. Or if you're disappointed with what we give you, that's fine, too. We tend to focus on people that like it. That's kind of more fun.

CNN: But most self-loathing musicians concentrate on those who hate it.

Madden: Fool's trap.

Levine: Yeah. I'm not a self-loathing musician.

CNN: That's right. We forgot. You love yourself.

Levine: I'm a fan. Big fan, longtime listener. (Laughter) It hurts your feelings though, you know? I can't act too tough about it, because when people say disparaging things, it's not fun. But you kind of gotta let it roll off. I mean -- I just wish Radiohead would stop ripping us off. (Laughs)