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“Any Major Dude” by Steely Dan is probably my favorite song right now.
Lyrically it’s funny and serious at the same time: “Any major dude with half a heart surely would tell you my friend, that any minor world that breaks apart falls together again.” While making fun of this narrator’s stoner-speak, they still impart a positive affirmation.
James Valentine is no stranger to Premier Guitar: He’s joined us for a Rig Rundown, and we interviewed him about Maroon 5’s platinum album Hands All Over.
He even cited his favorite Halloween-themed album in Staff Picks.
The symmetry of the “major dude/minor world” lines is so clever!
That balance of funny but meaningful is so hard to achieve with lyrics—Randy Newman can do it too.
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We also do a big cock-rock ending when we play it live, and I really like it when we mix up the live arrangements. As for gear, right now my favorite pieces are probably one of my old ES-335s, a Matchless Independence 35, and either my Line 6 DL4 or Fulltone OCD… And I’ve been bonding with my Martin 000-18 at home and on the road because I’ve really enjoyed playing “Secret” as an acoustic song. I call Pete from time to time to bug him with questions about gear. After hearing Joe Satriani’s Surfing With The Alien as a teenager, I knew I had to play guitar. My best advice to any aspiring guitarist or musician is to write songs. After that, write even more songs, because from my experience as a musician and as a part of Maroon 5, I’ve realized you only get better at writing songs from writing songs—no matter the quality, because you need repetition.
I was instantly drawn to the instrument because of that album. I have been guilty, especially when I was younger, of spending more time trying to “learn to write” rather than just writing, because that is how you learn to write! You know, whenever I’ve tried to build or design a guitar with specific appointments, the guitar has never really worked out.
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