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The Cost of the Debt Crisis; Interview with Maroon 5's Adam Levine

Aired July 27, 2011 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, Washington in turmoil.

TIM PAWLENTY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We cannot borrow more money. We have to balance our budget.

SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: We're running out of time. It's time we get serious about finding a compromise.

MORGAN: Americans outraged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can't seem to get it together and compromise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have adults who have been elected to office, and yet they play worse than 3-year-olds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd fire them all.

MORGAN: What would it take to get a deal done? I'll ask the White House and the Republicans.

Plus, what this crisis is already costing you.

And Adam Levine, rock star, Maroon 5 front man. He's sold more than 15 million albums. He's conquered TV on his first season of "The Voice."

Christina takes things to a whole new level, right? You can level with me.

ADAM LEVINE, NBC'S "THE VOICE": I can't on national television.

MORGAN: But tonight his biggest challenge yet. I'm getting him to do something you've never, I mean never seen him do before.

LEVINE: This is so dumb. I don't know why I can do it.

MORGAN: That is incredible.

The amazingly multitalented Adam Levine.


Good evening. We begin tonight with America's debt crisis. It's not just Republicans versus Democrats. It's now House Republicans battling among themselves over Speaker Boehner's debt plan with days to go until the August 2nd deadline.

Is there still a real chance of a deal?

Joining me now from the White House briefing room is Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy.

Mr. Sperling, thank you very much for joining me. Where are we with this? I mean, is it an intransigent stalemate? Is there hope of a deal? Where would you put your money right now?

GENE SPERLING, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, I don't think there's any question we have a degree of stalemate right now, and there's no question that the clock is running. But there's also no question that there is time for a bipartisan compromise.

And this is what the president went on national TV a few days ago to say. And it's what we're saying and trying to do in every way possible. We need a compromise that does three things. It should do a down payment on the deficit. It should make -- it should bring us back a second time to deal with our long-term tax reform and entitlement challenges to bring the deficit down.

And it should take away the specter of default from our economy and from our budget battles. And that means not only getting past this period but not kicking the can down the road six months from now so that the specter of default of the United States government for the first time in our history hangs like a heavy cloud over this economy at this vital time.

MORGAN: How big a problem is the split in the Republican Party? And the reason I ask you that is that Senator McCain has come out very strongly and angrily today, lambasting those on the Tea Party side of the GOP, saying that their demands of balancing the budget and so on are completely fanciful. He calls them hobbits.

Clearly there's a split there amongst some Republicans, but is that helpful or a hindrance to trying to get a deal here?

SPERLING: Look, I think the leaders have set terms that I think allow for a type of compromise. The thing the president has been talking most about, which is the importance of making sure that we do not keep the specter of default hanging over our economy but we have a debt limit that's extended into 2013 so we provide some certainty to investors and job creators in our economy.

That's something that virtually all of the Democratic and Republican leadership has called for during most of these negotiations. Almost everybody wants some form of a downpayment on deficit reduction. Almost everybody believes we need to come back for a second round.

There's differences. The president believes it needs to be a more balanced package when we go for the bigger deal that includes revenues, including those from the most well-off as well as together with entitlement reform.

So they -- you know they say if there's a will there's a way. If there's a will, there are eight or nine different ways to get there. And we just -- you know, beyond the different battles that are going on in the Congress right now, what we need at the leadership level is for people to have that will, and if we can get that type of compromise, you know, we can still get out of this in time to save the credit standing of the United States.

MORGAN: What is -- what is plan B, if you don't get that compromise?

SPERLING: Well, you know, as I said, there are many different ways to get the compromise. We believe that Senator Reid's proposal does represent that type of compromise in the Senate because it does extend the debt limit into 2013, takes away the specter of default that's haunting our economy.

It has a spending cut downpayment which should be satisfactory to the Republicans. It has a commission that brings people back to go for the type of bigger deficit reduction package that this president supports and has called for, and that the bipartisan commissions like the Bowles-Simpson commission have called for.

So I really think we're close. We just need the will. People have to recognize that if we get into next week there are no good alternatives. America would be on the cusp of default for the first time in our history after we've had a 220-year legacy of having an impeccable credit rating which has benefited our country for generations in terms of low -- lower interest rates and an investment climate that gave people the confidence to do the long-term investment and job creation here in the United States.

MORGAN: Let me -- let me ask you, and I want a yes or no answer, Mr. Sperling. Can you envisage any scenario in which the president will invoke the 14th amendment here and go it alone?

SPERLING: You know, when you get to a crisis like this or near a crisis, everyone is looking for an off-ramp. Everyone is looking, can the date be different, is there a constitutional issue. Some people want to use the threat of default.

You know, what you need and what everybody I'm sure who's watching tonight thinks is just for people to get together and compromise and get this done. You shouldn't need to invoke the Constitution. You shouldn't need to use the threat of default.

From Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill to Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, even when we have divided government, when it -- when it comes right down to it we as a country know how to get together and resolve our differences in a way that's good -- that's best for the public interest.

No off-ramps, just people getting together and doing their job in the next day or two to help avoid what would be a very unfortunate situation for our economy. MORGAN: Is there any way of translating that into a yes or no?


SPERLING: Well, I think -- I think that should sound, you know, heavily in the no category. I'm the economic adviser for the president, not his constitutional adviser, but he's been pretty clear, that's not an option we're looking at.

MORGAN: Gene Sperling, thank you very much.

SPERLING: Thank you.

MORGAN: Now I want to bring in Republican Representative Connie Mack. He's put forward a plan that he says would, and I quote, "cut up the government's credit card." And he joins me now from Capitol Hill.

Congressman, explain your plan, please.

REP. CONNIE MACK IV (R), FLORIDA: First of all, thank you very much for having me on. And you know, everyone right -- everyone right now is looking for that plan, and I've got one that I think people on both sides of the aisle not only can understand but can like. And what it does is simple.

We would cut 1 percent of spending a year for six years. So that's only one penny out of every federal dollar. It's up to the Congress to define where that 1 percent comes from. But if the Congress fails and the president fails and they can't work together, then it would be an across-the-board cut.

After six years we cap spending at 18 percent of GDP. In the seventh year we balance the budget. And after 10 years you cut $7.5 trillion.

One of the things that people need to understand, when Washington talks about a cut, what they're not talking about is every year there's a projected 7.5 percent increase in spending. So what we need to do, if the president is serious, what we need to do is a plan that cuts spending.

And taking one penny out of every federal dollar is something that everyone who's watching your show has had to do at home, has had to do in their business, and in fact they've had to do much more than that. And they're looking at us and saying, why can't you do that? Why can't you do something as simple as one penny out of every federal dollar?

MORGAN: Senator John McCain says that you're a hobbit. How do you react to that charge?

MACK: Well, you know, I'm not going to respond to Senator McCain. I think the senator is -- you know, hopefully we're all on the same team, Republicans, Democrats, we're all fighting for America. And if the -- if the senator wants to make those kind of comments about me or anybody else, that's his business.

I'm here to talk to you and your audience about how we can balance the budget, how we can do it in a responsible way, by taking one penny out of every federal dollar to balance the budget in eight years and cut $7.5 trillion.

MORGAN: But the reason the senator said that about guys like you is that he believes you are being deliberately obstructive to the process of getting a deal here and the intransigence of Republicans who simply won't allow a debt ceiling increase, won't allow any tax increases, don't want any revenue from anywhere by the look of it, that it's that intransigence is what's causing the problem. And until you stop being so intransigent there can't be a deal.

MACK: Some of us believe we need to continue to stand on principle and fight for what we believe in. And that's what I'm doing. Let me say this. Right now we spend roughly 1.5 trillion more than we bring in every year. Earlier your guest earlier talked about debt to income or debt to revenue ratio. We will -- if we raise the debt ceiling, we'll be at $17 trillion of debt within two years. $17 trillion based upon income of about $2 trillion.

No one -- if that was an individual, no one with that kind of record would be able to get a credit card. Yet somehow we think that the federal government can keep doing this. So yes, I'm going to continue to fight for a balanced budget. I'm going to continue to fight to get the fiscal house in order.

I'm going to continue to stand up on principle and say look, if we want to reach a deal it's got to -- it's got to be based on the fact of balancing our budget. Now if others want to call that out of line, so be it. I happen to think it's responsible and what the American people are demanding of their members of Congress and their senators.

MORGAN: But the problem with what you're saying is that as the president's made very clear this is not about future spending, it's about paying money that America has already spent.

MACK: Well, let me just say this. I don't think the president has much -- a leg to stand on in this. He hasn't put forward a plan. He's put up good speeches and he's talked about things, but there's nothing for us to look at to compare.

So Piers, it's almost like if my wife and I went to the car dealership, sat next to each other, agreed on the make of car, agreed on the terms, the price, the color, the kind of car, but there was nobody on the other side to negotiate with. And that's what we have here. We keep -- the Republicans continue to put up plans, continue to put out ideas.

The president has yet to come forward with an idea or a plan that anybody can look at and determine whether or not it's good for America.

MORGAN: But in that situation, the domestic one that you just painted for me so eloquently, I mean, you'd find a car. You wouldn't get divorced, would you?

MACK: No. But you would probably go to a car dealership where there's somebody willing to sit on the other side with you. Right now there's no one at the table. The table on the other side is empty. There's nobody over there saying here in writing is what the terms are going to be, here's what we can do.

The president hasn't come forward with a plan. He has said no to a lot of things. In fact, he has said no to just about everything. But he has not put a plan out of his own.

MORGAN: Congressman, thank you very much indeed.

MACK: Thank you so much.

MORGAN: There's been much talk about what could happen if there's no deal by August the 2nd. But this crisis is already costing you money. An expert explains when we come back.


MORGAN: While Washington battles over the debt ceiling, this crisis is already costing you money. Here to explain how is Kai Ryssdal, host of American Public Media's "Marketplace."

Kai, thanks for joining me.


MORGAN: Let's cut through all the Washington babble here and cut to the quick. What is going on, how bad could it get, and if we get to August the 2nd and there's no deal is it the financial Armageddon that the president keeps warning us it will be?

RYSSDAL: Let me take the last part of the question first. Did you see the stock market today?

MORGAN: Down 2 percent.

RYSSDAL: Dow was down, you know, almost 2 percent. Nasdaq and S&P 2.5 percent. Right? That's just a taste. I think the markets picked today to start getting wigged out. But let's work backwards. What's going on?

Fundamental disagreement about the size and shape of the United States government. It's really unfortunate that they're deciding to do that at a time when we're running out of money.

The technical aspects are this. Right? We are going to -- we've already hit the debt ceiling. Everybody who says oh, we're going to hit debt ceiling on the 2nd of August, that's already happened. Happened back on May 16th. Since then the Treasury Department, Treasury Secretary Geithner, has been moving money around. He's been putting off payments. He's been taking things out of pension funds. All that --

MORGAN: Using a credit card, essentially.

RYSSDAL: Using a credit card. And now what are we doing? We're running up the balance on the credit card. So come Tuesday in theory we're going to run out of money.

MORGAN: What does it mean for the average American consumer at home who's watching this, they're worried, they're anxious, they're not quite sure what this will actually mean for them and their domestic budget.

RYSSDAL: Here's -- so a couple of things. First of all, as I said, the stock market. OK? You're going to see on Tuesday morning or Wednesday morning if the worst comes to pass, it's going to be a day not unlike when the House voted down the TARP back in the financial crisis, when the House said no, we're not approving this pot of money and the Dow Industrials fell 777 points in like 20 minutes. Right?

So that's one thing that's going to happen. The other thing that's going to happen, though, and the more fundamental and the more important long-lasting effect is going to be an increase in interest rates. Right? If the government, the American government is the biggest borrower in the world. If they have to pay more money to borrow money, we will eventually, too.

MORGAN: Everyone with a mortgage, with a loan, in effect, would all start paying through the nose?

RYSSDAL: The whole stash. Lines of credit, auto payments, student loans, it will all eventually happen.

MORGAN: Do you think this is going to happen? Do you think we're going to default? I mean it's never happened before. There's a lot of posturing going on. Do you with all your expertise think we could get to August the 2nd and the unthinkable happens?

RYSSDAL: It's so unimaginable that it's unimaginable. Right? I know that's kind of ducking the question. But I can't conceive of a world in which Washington doesn't see what's going on out there and say we have to do something.

MORGAN: Could a situation where the default doesn't happen but in the process of all this uncertainty the credit rating comes down, or is that not --


RYSSDAL: Right. No, that is the key question. And it has already gone on. I think, and this is from many, many people that I've talked to in the markets, the AAA credit rating of the United States is already forfeit. Right? Standard & Poor's has come out and said we are going to downgrade you unless you do $4 trillion worth in cuts.

Now they're backing away from that a little bit today. But the fact of the matter is we have so much other -- so many other things going on in this economy besides the debt limit, right? We've got entitlement obligations. We've got military spending. So many things that are damaging our finances --

MORGAN: If that credit rating is reduced.


MORGAN: What does that actually mean? What effect will that have on the average American?

RYSSDAL: Well, so let me give you a global number for a minute. OK? The United States issues 60 percent, 2/3 of all the AAA-rated sovereign debt that goes out there. That is countries selling bonds. Right? Two-thirds of it comes from the United States. We are the international AAA market. Right?

If we all of a sudden go away and people can't buy our debt, mutual funds and investors and people who are mandated by the conditions of their investment to buy AAA debt, it's a global economic problem.

Now we will, as I said before, start to see our individual interest rates rise. Right? We are all -- it's like a big family credit downgrade if the United States gets downgraded.

MORGAN: The Republicans, a large body of Republicans, say that raising taxes is simply unthinkable, unacceptable. Most financial experts outside of America say of course you should raise taxes, the taxation here is not that high compared to places like Britain, for example, and they should be doing this now, that is how actually to deal with cutting spending but raising taxes, that is how you get out of this mess.

Do you agree with that?

RYSSDAL: It's true. It's absolutely true. And I think you have to look at what's on the table now. Right? What we have is not what the president has proposed, which is a balanced approach. It's an approach where the Democrats are giving and the Republicans are not.

The deal on the table from Harry Reid, the Democratic leader of the United States Senate, includes no new revenues. The Democrats are the ones who have come to the table and said listen, we are willing to compromise. The Republicans, because Speaker Boehner has the Tea Party that he has to deal with, he has to control his own caucus, can't come to the table and say OK, we'll take some new revenues.

MORGAN: Kai Ryssdal, fascinating conversation. Please come back.

RYSSDAL: Of course.

MORGAN: And talk to me again. It's going to be, I think, a huge story as it unfolds toward August 2nd. I'd love to talk to you again.

RYSSDAL: Absolutely. MORGAN: Thanks very much.

RYSSDAL: Pleasure.

MORGAN: Coming up, my chat with front man of Maroon 5 Adam Levine. He's going to do something that I promise you, I guarantee you've never seen him do before.


LEVINE: Here we are.

MORGAN: Adam Levine is the front man of the mega-successful band Maroon 5. He sold 15 million albums around the world, and he coached Javier Colon to the big win on NBC's "The Voice." And Adam joins me now.


LEVINE: Thank you very much.

MORGAN: I mean what's been the bigger thrill? Fifteen million albums or big talent show superstar?

LEVINE: Gosh. I mean, you know, the 15 million -- every time someone says that it blows my mind. I can't believe it. The talent show thing was a surprise because I'm not sure any of us knew what to expect. And then obviously, you know, you being a part of it as well. I don't know --


MORGAN: I don't think of the option because I haven't sold 15 million albums.

LEVINE: That's true. You haven't done that.

MORGAN: To me, this is it. And I haven't no discernible talent so.

LEVINE: Well, that's not necessarily true.


LEVINE: You know, I was just very open minded but a little skeptical, a little curious about it, and it wound up working and kind of -- I hate to sound so heavy about it but kind of changed my life a little bit because --

MORGAN: Yes, I mean, I was going to ask you that because you've been a very cool rock star but there is a difference. I mean -- there's a credibility thing which I know you all go through before you take on these shows.

LEVINE: Absolutely.

MORGAN: And I'm sure all of you. It's a stellar cast of judges or coaches.

LEVINE: Yes. Absolutely.

MORGAN: You know which --

LEVINE: A huge part of that was that, though -- you know, a huge part of it was finding out who's going to be involved with the show.

MORGAN: Right.

LEVINE: And then once that started taking shape, I thought OK, this could be really cool. You know? Everyone is in a different phase of their career and it's kind of a great thing, and it's all so wrong it could be right. You know what I mean?

MORGAN: Did you worry that if it didn't do that well it could damage the Maroon 5 end of things?

LEVINE: Not necessarily. It seemed more like if was one of those things where OK, here's a slight calculated risk, I guess you could say. And you know, you can't take away things like selling a lot of records and having a huge fan base. That's not going to necessarily go anywhere. It's not going to vanish overnight.

But potentially this could be a good vehicle for the band, you know, this could be a great thing. So I saw more potential in it than anything else. And of course, I mean, it could have been the downside, which is it being a massive failure, but that didn't happen. So I'm very happy about that.

MORGAN: How has it changed your life? It's interesting you say that.

LEVINE: Just being able to -- the mentor aspect of it. It was really kind of a surprise for me. You know? Just being able to help people along with knowledge that we were -- you know, that I've gained over the years. Like, I never thought I was particularly -- I'm in a band.

I play in a band, I write songs, I sing, you know, perform on stage. But I never thought of myself as having the tools to kind of help somebody along. And that process was surprisingly amazing for me. I had such a great time doing it and realized that I actually like doing it so.

MORGAN: I mean you're very nice on that show, all of you. Obviously, this isn't the way --


MORGAN: This isn't the modus operandi that I bring to my judgmental behavior but --

LEVINE: You see a vast array of things on your show. We're focusing on one thing that we actually know a lot about. And it's like -- it's a very fixated -- you know, we're all fixated on the singing part. It's a little different. I mean, I'm sure I'd probably be the same way on your show because there are so many different types of things.

MORGAN: You said a wonderfully bitchy line about "American Idol." You said the people were not turning our chairs around for could win "American Idol." And that was a real meow moment.

LEVINE: That was a little jab.


LEVINE: Whatever. It's the biggest show on television. I think they can take a little jab.


LEVINE: It wasn't an uppercut or anything like that.

MORGAN: Have you been surprised about how your profile has changed since the smash hit of "The Voice"?

LEVINE: Yes. I was very, very happy and comfortable with the level of fame that I had. It didn't need to be any more. And I didn't really think about that as much when I took the job. And I didn't really know -- I didn't really realize what I was getting myself into as far as that's concerned because this is what they call TV famous.

It's a very different thing. People see you on TV every day, they start knowing your name. You know, I was always just the guy from Maroon 5 until I became myself.

MORGAN: And now it's Adam.

LEVINE: I know. It's very bizarre. It actually is very strange, people calling your name on the streets, because usually it's Maroon 5 and now it's, hey, Adam, and you turn around, you think it's your buddy.

MORGAN: Is it a bit unsettling after years of being able to be slightly below that radar suddenly you're like whoa, you know, this famous TV guy.

LEVINE: Yes, it's a little unsettling but it's also kind of better that I experienced some level of it before. So it didn't just skyrocket all of a sudden and it becomes something I couldn't handle. And I'm a little older now so I'm not 17.

You know I don't understand how kids handle it when you're younger. I'm so happy that it all kind of evolved and grew slowly as opposed to -- I didn't get slapped in the face with it when I was --

MORGAN: I mean, I thought I had problems working with Sharon Osbourne in terms of the diva stakes, but I mean Christina takes things to a whole new level, I would imagine, doesn't she? You can level with me. LEVINE: Can I on national television, level with you?


LEVINE: She's fine. You know, I mean, listen, we're all a pain in the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) in our own way. In our own unique beautiful way.

Piers Morgan, I'm sure you're a pain in the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sometimes.

MORGAN: Most people would concur with that.

LEVINE: Yes, am I right?


LEVINE: No, but you know, it's -- everyone's got their thing. And you know people bust her chops a little bit, but it's fine. It's nothing out of control, really.

MORGAN: Did you all feel the competitive juices coming out?

LEVINE: Not so -- well, a little bit. Not so much with each other. I feel like I've got three great new friends and it's awesome and we have fun. And it's playfully competitive. But the real competition is I really just wanted the right person to win. And I mean, I was all bent out of shape about it the night before.

I was not thinking he was going to do it and I was nervous and freaking out, and I was -- I was in it. I was definitely wrapped up in the whole thing so.

MORGAN: I want to throw a few names at you as if they've appeared on "The Voice," and you've got to give a bit of mentor --

LEVINE: Do I have to turn my chair around or I have to mentor them?

MORGAN: You can -- well, do either actually, because you know who they are.


MORGAN: So Adele performs. What would your reaction be?

LEVINE: She's ridiculous. She's so good. You know, she would -- she would win in two seconds. I'm not sure I could win, by the way. You know, that's another thing, too, is this was a very humbling experience, because I'm a fine singer. I -- you know, I have a decent voice. And I think I have I have a distinct voice. But I don't have one of these belty voices like Javier.

So my own confidence in myself to win something like this isn't necessarily -- I don't think I would be a ringer. But Adele would be. She would be -- MORGAN: Justin Bieber?

LEVINE: Great singer. That kid can sing, man.

MORGAN: Could he win "The Voice"?

LEVINE: He could. He could. I mean, it really depends. Another thing that I learned about the show is that it's so hard to say -- a guy like Javier is almost supernatural in his ability. I mean, that is just not normal.

You know what I'm saying? Physical ability-wise, you know, he's probably one of the best singers I've ever heard in my life.

MORGAN: Really?


MORGAN: You see, for all those who criticize these talent shows -- we found a girl last year, Jackie Evancho, who David Foster sat in the studio a while ago and said that he'd been mentoring Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand and others that this girl had the best voice at her age he'd ever heard before.

And I look at Susan Boyle and these others. These shows can produce bona fide huge stars.

LEVINE: Yes. And another thing that's huge to think about is the artistry that's connected to it. Because it's not always just been an amazing singer. There are a lot of other things. There are songs. there's production. There's the style of who you are as a person, whether people like you.

There's a lot of different things, especially now in the wake of kind of all the social media taking over and becoming so prevalent. They want to love you, too.

MORGAN: Likability is always a key thing with these shows.

LEVINE: Absolutely. In general --

MORGAN: How would someone like Lady Gaga do, given that she doesn't go out of her way to say like me. She's provocative. She's daring.

LEVINE: She's great. I mean, she's a performer. Showmanship is a huge thing for her. She's a huge performer. So her --

MORGAN: Could she win a show like "The Voice"?

LEVINE: Given the right circumstances, probably. You know, for all of the rest of the craziness that goes on when that woman is on stage, if you stripped it all away, I think she does have a good voice. I think there's a lot of distractions from that.

But I don't think of her as, you know, a non-musician or -- you know, she writes and all those things, too.

MORGAN: I want to play a little clip from this "Moves Like Jagger" collaboration you came up with from "The Voice." And we'll chat about this after you watch this.




MORGAN: You look a bit uncomfortable watching yourself there.

LEVINE: No, no. I don't like watching myself back on television. Singing on TV sucks, because my voice isn't particularly big. I don't have a big -- I have a thinner, small voice.

MORGAN: When you're next to Christina -- I mean, I saw her perform at a private party Donald Trump had here last summer. And she ages about this high. And she sort of bustled through full of attitude. And then she just began to sing. And I've never heard a voice that big, as close as I was that night.

I mean, she's extraordinary.

LEVINE: She is an extraordinary talent. And that's the thing is you know, shows up a little bit late and everyone's pissed off. She opens up her mouth and starts singing and no one cares anymore. It's pretty incredible.

She's -- she does blow your mind, and you kind of realize, oh, yeah, OK. Wow. You know. So she's great, man.

MORGAN: If I was to put you on "America's Got Talent" but you couldn't sing, what would your talent be? What are the secret Adam Levine talents we don't know about?

LEVINE: Secret Adam Levine -- you know, I was all in with music. I'm not sure.

MORGAN: Weird little party pieces you do?

LEVINE: I can balance things on my nose pretty well.

MORGAN: Really?


MORGAN: How big a thing can you balance on your nose?

LEVINE: I can balance a lot of stuff on my nose. I can balance -- probably nothing in here.

MORGAN: I'm going to get something at the break.

LEVINE: I'll start looking for them and if I see something -- on my chin, too. I can do guitars. It's quite amazing, actually.

MORGAN: I like this theory. I think what we'll do is go to a break and find something you can balance on your nose.

LEVINE: I did that when you I was about seven years old. I appeared in a --

MORGAN: You can't start backtracking now.

LEVINE: I'll do it.


LEVINE: I will do it right now.

MORGAN: Great. Let's have a break. And then we come back to Adam Levine, the great nose balancer.





MORGAN: Adam, that was in your day job, obviously, singing "This Love." But enough of that for a moment because the challenge has been laid down. You have claimed to be an accomplished nose and I believe chin balancer, depending on the object.


MORGAN: So let's see a bit of this. Come on. Let's see you with a baseball cap first. We're go up in ascending glory of instruments.

LEVINE: There are members of my family that have seen me do this since I was a child. I could probably do this one sitting down, but I don't want to --


LEVINE: All right, kids. Be somebody.

MORGAN: That is brilliant. Brilliant.

LEVINE: That's what we do here in Hollywood, folks.

MORGAN: OK. That's good. Let's move up to the small broom.

LEVINE: This is going to have to go on my chin. Because it has an awkward chin. Could I go down here?


LEVINE: This is so dumb. I don't know why I can do it.

MORGAN: That is incredible.

LEVINE: That's it. I can do it forever. It's really therapeutic.

MORGAN: OK. Here we go. This is the biggie. Now, this is heavy.

LEVINE: Yeah, this kind of sucks.

MORGAN: This is actually a heavy old duty broom.

LEVINE: If I do, do I get like 15 bucks or something?

MORGAN: Well, you can definitely come back.

LEVINE: Cool, not even 15 bucks. Wow. All right. (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Ooh, sorry.

MORGAN: No, you can say that. This is a high pressure environment.

LEVINE: Adam Levine breaks chin at Piers Morgan. Here we go. Pressure.

MORGAN: Pressure's mounting here.

That is incredible. That is brilliant. I take my -- if I had my hat on, I'd take it of to you.

LEVINE: That's right, America. Bet you didn't know that (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

MORGAN: Have you ever performed this stunt live on television?

LEVINE: No. And you know what? I probably never will again.

MORGAN: Well, your talent is now exposed. The reason I like you, apart from the fact I actually genuinely like your music -- the reason I like you is when you Tweet things like this: "when people complain about paparazzi, I want to slap them in the face. You signed up for this, dip (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Buck up."


LEVINE: That's a little harsh.

MORGAN: But thank God we've got somebody in the music business who recognizes it's a two-way street, isn't it?

LEVINE: It is a two-way street. And also it's a two-way street as far as the way you look at it, because people do want to be famous for whatever reason. For me, it was I wanted to just be a successful singer. I think it had less to do with fame than anything else. But, you know, if you're going to sign up for this job and you're going to be on television or you're going to be doing music or you're going to be an actor, there's going to be a certain amount of this that comes with it. A lot of people that start hating it and when it starts to consume them and own them, they bring out -- they brought it on themselves.

Sometimes that's not the case. But to complain about it so passionately I think is irresponsible, because there are a lot of people with real problems.

MORGAN: Half the world's starving.

LEVINE: Exactly.

MORGAN: And 9.2 percent of the American population is out of work. And hearing very wealthy celebrities -- I always feel this.


MORGAN: Hearing very wealthy celebrities bleating about the perils and price of fame is just very boring.

LEVINE: It's nothing more than a pain in the ass. And sometimes it's a giant pain in the ass for people, in ways I don't understand. I respect that, but --

MORGAN: But there are very few stars I think who are at the level where it becomes intolerable. If you're Britney Spears going through the meltdown that she had, I get it. It was too much and too frenzied. Princess Diana and so on.

But there are very few in that top league of that kind of attention.

LEVINE: Absolutely. And most of the people that are in that position don't complain as much.

MORGAN: Do the paparazzi give you a hard time?

LEVINE: No. They don't bother me. And every time they do -- like I said, you know, they don't stalk me at my house or anything like that. But just hey, how are you doing? What's up? Hey, can you get out of my way? Whatever. If they're a pain in the (EXPLETIVE DELETED), they're a pain in the (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

But I just don't like how people go on and on about it. I appreciate that you appreciated that Tweet.

MORGAN: I totally did. You also Tweeted "being royalty must be painfully boring. I bet they never do anything cool like play naked Twister."

Did you play naked Twister, Adam?

LEVINE: I've never played naked Twister. MORGAN: You'd like to, wouldn't you?

LEVINE: I just thought it was a funny Tweet. I was just banking on the fact that they probably hadn't, royalty.

MORGAN: When we saw Prince William and -- or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as they are now, in Hollywood recently, what did you make of all the fuss that came with them?

LEVINE: It's exciting, you know, especially for us. We don't have royalty anymore.

MORGAN: Why do the Americans like the royals so much?

LEVINE: I like they like the romantic kind of idea behind it. It's a very cool thing when you don't have that anymore. It's just nostalgia, I think.

MORGAN: I went to the big BAFTA party, watching all these huge stars like Barbra Streisand and Tom Hanks and J. Lo and so on, all bustling to get near William and Kate. It was quite a fascinating thing to observe.

LEVINE: That's so funny. That's exactly what happened when I was at the Obama inauguration, was that you saw these extremely famous people just falling all over each other to get to see the president, to meet the president.

So you had this list of people. And it was just so -- it was incredible to see them become groupies. It was like -- it's pretty incredible.

MORGAN: Who do you get star struck by? Who have you been star struck by?

LEVINE: Star struck. Who was I star struck by? It's a weird term because I would say I was kind of -- I don't really get star struck unless I've got a tremendous amount of respect for the person.

MORGAN: Who have you been most excited -- I mean, you're a massive Beatles fan, right?

LEVINE: Oh, yeah.

MORGAN: Have you met Paul McCartney?

LEVINE: Yeah. No, I haven't. And if I had, I would definitely be a bit star struck. But star struck's a strange way to look at it because I would just be kind of enamored because he was so important to me growing up that I would just kind of be blown away. But star struck, you know -- .

MORGAN: Your whole family are Beatles fans, right? You were indoctrinated.

LEVINE: Yeah, I was raised on the Beatles. I was quizzed about who was singing what in every song. My mom was a massive Beatles fan. So she started me out on the path.

MORGAN: If Paul McCartney's watching, you're available, yes?

LEVINE: Paul McCartney, I'd really like to meet you. I promise I won't be star struck. And I'd like to visit Liverpool with you.

MORGAN: As if you couldn't get any more sickening, being good- looking, super rich, incredibly successful, now a smashing TV star --

LEVINE: It's good for my confidence.

MORGAN: You also date one of the world's most beautiful Russian super models. And I would like to come back after the break and vomit in your general direction.

LEVINE: No problem.






MORGAN: Yeah, so there you are, singing "Misery" to a tall, leggy, blond, beautiful super model from Russia who is your girlfriend. I mean, how miserable can that particular vignette be, Adam?

LEVINE: Not miserable at all. I'm not complaining about any of that.

MORGAN: Now, look, you're in the enviable position of being able to basically pick and choose your female partners. And let's be fair. You've been through a pretty heavy selection list in the past. This one appears -- we're now 18 months in?

LEVINE: That's an alleged list?

MORGAN: How many is true? Come on.

LEVINE: That's an alleged list?

MORGAN: Percentage-wise.

LEVINE: None of them are true. Anyway, my relationship's going very well. Let's talk about that.

MORGAN: Where did you meet Anna?

LEVINE: I met her -- I'm not telling that story.

MORGAN: Why? How bad is it? LEVINE: It's not bad. It's just not particularly inspiring. I don't want to tell it. It's for me. I don't know.

The relationship stuff I keep to myself. But she's wonderful and everything is fantastic.

MORGAN: How does she deal with the cliche' of millions of women freaking out when they see you?

LEVINE: Millions of men are always trying to sleep with her, so it works itself out.

MORGAN: Who gets more jealous?

LEVINE: It's pretty even. So we're good. We laugh about it. It's funny.

MORGAN: You're in a business full of temptation, one where it's littered with people who fall off the rails, you know, pretty frequently. How have you managed to avoid that kind of pitfall?

LEVINE: Heavy drug regimen.

That's a joke. That was a joke. Once again, that was a joke.

No, you know, I think having family and friends around you, having people who support you, having people that are willing to tell you when you're being a jerk, which most people in our positions don't have, you know.

MORGAN: Who do you have that would do that to you?

LEVINE: Oh, so many people. The line -- the list is so long. Because I was born and raised in Los Angeles, which is a very rare thing. And you know, hey, you're being (EXPLETIVE DELETED). That's OK. People can say that. I don't have any -- I surround myself with people who I love and who love me.

MORGAN: You seem very grounded to me. I've never met you before, but you seem very grounded.

LEVINE: Enough.

MORGAN: A lot of musicians aren't in my experience. They're sort of paranoid, slightly schizophrenic. It's a weird environment.

LEVINE: You haven't hung out with me for very long.

MORGAN: Where do you get that from? Is it from your parents, your family?

LEVINE: I think I've found balance, you know, through family and through friends and through really wonderful people in my life.

MORGAN: What's the secret for other musicians coming into this business? It seems to me what the modern revolution's doing, it is weeding out the plastic pop brigade. Because actually it's much harder to cheat a live show.

LEVINE: It is. The other thing about our band that I'd love to say, too, is that we've always made our records for the radio. And there was a -- I've always had a slight chip on my shoulder, to be honest with you, because we are musicians. We play. We're great. And we're a band.

There's nothing synthetic about what we do. However, we have made records that have been very tight and very meticulous, very put together for the radio. And our live show is very different, much looser. So there has been some discrepancies over what we do, how we do it, what we are, identity problems as a band.

But I think that more and more with the voice and with the band being more in the spotlight now, we have an opportunity to kind of put all those things to rest.

MORGAN: It's fascinating to watch how Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and you and others have been able to use television in a massively helpful promotional way for your music.

LEVINE: Absolutely. No doubt about it. It's reinvigorated our career. It's kind of reintroducing us to a lot of people, which is fantastic. Because I don't want to stop right now.

MORGAN: What's the personal and professional ambition? Where would you like to be in ten years time? You're 32. You've got it all, as many people would say. When you're 42 years old.

LEVINE: Oh, man. I would love to be working less, because taking this whole thing on all at once was crazy. And it still is. But I'd love to be maybe considering the idea of having a family. And at that age, I'd love to have maybe a two-year-old.

MORGAN: Really?

LEVINE: I want to start having kids, yeah. Not for seven or eight years.

MORGAN: Do you believe you should be married to do that?

LEVINE: Not necessarily. I don't think that you necessarily have to be married to have children.

MORGAN: Would you like to be? Is marriage something that you'd like to --

LEVINE: Marriage is a controversial thing, clearly. I find that in a lot of ways, it doesn't work. Then in some ways, it does. I'm inspired by certain marriages. I'm uninspired by others.

MORGAN: Whose marriage has inspired you?

LEVINE: My friend Sean Taya (ph) actually. He's one of my best friends and his marriage is one of the best I've ever seen. It's actually the gentleman who that hat belongs to. MORGAN: Really? Why do you think it works so well?

LEVINE: Just being very close with him and to the whole thing and actually his daughter's my god daughter and I've seen just the right type of marriage in the two of them. And it really is inspiring. But it also sets the bar very high.

So -- and you know, listen, there's no doubt in my mind at some point I'm going to think about it. But things are going well. And I'm a happy man at this point.

In my relationship, by the way, I don't think that ever reflects -- marriage to me never reflect your real happiness with the person you're with, necessarily. It's a celebration of that happiness, you know.

MORGAN: Where would you like to be professionally?

LEVINE: Professionally --

MORGAN: Other than working less?

LEVINE: Producing records.

MORGAN: Think Maroon 5 will still be going? Do you have an aspiration to have real longevity as a band? Or could you go solo for example?

LEVINE: To make a plan would be really foolish. I don't think I know what's going to happen.

MORGAN: Don't bands always split up? Isn't there always the point where you all just get sick of each other?

LEVINE: Well, I'd love to beat the odds. I'd love to not be a solo artist.

MORGAN: How's the scale of irritation with band members right now?

LEVINE: We drive each other crazy. We drive each other out of -- we love each other so much, but we do make each other crazy at points. But I'm a happy man. I can't complain. Life has been pretty kind.

MORGAN: You could complain, but I don't want to hear it.

LEVINE: I could technically complain, but I'm not going to do it.

MORGAN: Apart from anything else, you've also revealed yourself to be a champion nose and chin balancer, which is an even bigger reason to hate you.

LEVINE: Who knew that?

MORGAN: Adam Levine, you're disgusting.

LEVINE: So are you. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off, Piers Morgan.

MORGAN: And the new Maroon 5 album is "Hands All Over." You can see Maroon 5 on tour this summer with Train. There's more information on the band's website at

Adam Levine, repulsive individual, thank you very much.

LEVINE: That was awesome.


MORGAN: Tomorrow, my interview with Denise Richards, her life, her loves and what she this of her ex-husband, Charlie Sheen.


MORGAN: If Charlie was to sort his life out, could you ever imagine a scenario where you might one day get back together or not?


MORGAN: That door's closed?

RICHARDS: That door's closed. I think he and I are better as friends and having our daughters. I'm way too old for him now.


MORGAN: A candid Denise Richards. That's tomorrow. That's all for us tonight. Here's Anderson Cooper with "AC 360"