James Burgon Valentine (born October 5, 1978) is an American musician. He is best known as the lead guitarist of the pop rock band Maroon 5. He was also a guitarist for the indie pop band JJAMZ.
Valentine was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) and has three sisters and one brother. His mother is a former beauty queen, who was a school teacher before becoming a stay-at-home mom to raise her five children. James is an Eagle Scout. He was the president of his high school Lincoln Southeast High School's student council in Lincoln, Nebraska.
In addition to guitar, James is also a percussionist, playing in orchestra and jazz band in his youth.
Valentine played in Lincoln bands: Montag, Kid Quarkstar, Mondello and Happy Dog. In 2000, Happy Dog changed its name to Square and he moved to Los Angeles from Anaheim, California where he taught private guitar lessons out of his home. Valentine had also played with Reel Big Fish, firstly when guitarist Aaron Barrett broke his hand and later in 2001, when Barrett fell down some stairs. Valentine displayed a picture from one Reel Big Fish show he played during Maroon 5's appearance on MTV Cribs. Eventually the members of Square and Kara's Flowers became friends and when Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael, Mickey Madden, and Ryan Dusick began looking for another guitarist, Valentine was approached. Personal tensions in Square helped the decision to join the band and shortly afterward, Kara's Flowers became Maroon 5.
Valentine is a friend of John Mayer, whom he met in 1996 at Berklee in Boston, Massachusetts. Valentine once tried to get Mayer to move to Lincoln to play guitar for the Lincoln blues rock band Baby Jason and the Spankers. An opening slot on Mayer's 2003 summer tour helped bring widespread exposure to Maroon 5. Valentine contributed guitar work to Mayer's September 2006 release Continuum on the songs "Stop This Train" and "In Repair."
Valentine also played guitar on Jenny Lewis' 2006 solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat, and has appeared in her music video for the first single, "Rise Up with Fists!!".
His family now lives in Utah. His mother works for Brigham Young University, which is owned and operated by the LDS Church. His father works for Utah Valley University and previously was an adjunct professor of Latin American literature at BYU. His sister, Amanda, was a contestant on the 11th season of Project Runway, and is again a contestant on the 13th season of Project Runway.
JJAMZ is a band composed of James Valentine (Maroon 5), Jason Boesel (Rilo Kiley/Conor Oberst), Alex Greenwald (Phantom Planet), Michael Runion (solo), and Z Berg (The Like). The group was started at karaoke night at Guys in Hollywood. The band name is an acronym using the first letter of each member's name. The group was means of escape from each member's respective bands. "JJAMZ started at an interesting time in all of our lives. We all needed some kind of escape from relationships or our other bands. It was a tumultuous time, and the lyrics just came out. It was like word vomit. I can't remember." said Z Berg, lead vocalist for the Like. The band played their first concert at the Echo Plex on January 27, 2009. They released their debut album Suicide Pact on July 10, 2012.