yourself in this situation: It is 1996 and you have just gotten together
with a handful of other guys to play music and write songs. You seem
to be hitting it off pretty well and you are liking what you are coming
up with. The songs start to fall into place unusually well and you
have a good feeling about them. The ultimate happens and you and
the guys get a record deal and the record label
puts out your first CD. You think it’s a good one, and even though
you haven’t been together with these guys in the band for very long, you
seem to have a chemistry and you think people will like the music.
So now the CD hits the stores and something
really freaky starts happening. People are buying your CD like crazy
– they love it! Before you know it, you’ve sold a million copies.
You go out and start touring to promote the CD even more. You are
putting out singles and as each one comes out, it gets absorbed into the
pop culture as more and more people embrace the music you are making.
You are in Heavy Rotation on
MTV and VH1. Time flies by and before you know it, four years have
past and you have four hit singles, you’ve won "Best New Band" honors in
Rolling Stone’s 1997 Reader’s Poll, Billboard’s "Best New Duo/Group" for
1997 and the "Favorite Group: New Artist" prize at 1997’s Blockbuster
Entertainment Awards. As if that weren’t enough of a head trip, People
Magazine names you as one of the 50 most beautiful people for 1998.
too good to be true? A dream? matchbox twenty’s Rob
Thomas has experienced all of this and more with their smash hit "Yourself
Or Someone Like You." This first effort by the band earned the
RIAA’s prestigious Diamond Award, marking certified US sales in excess
of 10 million units and adding Matchbox Twenty’s name to a very elite and
short roster of artists who have reached this major career milestone.
So how, you might ask, do you top that? How indeed! This was
not a task for the meek or mild mannered musician. This follow up
has been long anticipated by the minions of matchbox twenty fans,
and at last, they present "Mad Season."
we made our first record, we hadn’t really been a band for very long."
Thomas says. "We hadn’t had any really good fights, we hadn’t had
any really good laughs, we hadn’t done much of anything together.
But now, so much has happened to us that we’ve formed a character within
ourselves. So this is really the first time we’re saying, ‘This is
twenty making a record," because now matchbox twenty is its
own entity. This is the first one where we can really say, this is
After what you might call a successful
and slightly publicized collaboration with Carlos Santana on the sweeping
hit "Smooth," which garnered Thomas three Grammys,
it was time to join up with the band and get a foot hold on this monumental
task. The rest of the band (which Thomas refers to as the "Paul Doucette
Quartet"), consisting of Kyle Cook and Adam Gaynor on guitar, Brian Yale
on bass and Paul Doucette on drums, spent 1999 vacationing, woodshedding
and readying to record the second record. "We’ve matured as people,
which I think is reflected in the music," guitarist Kyle Cook points out.
"I think we took some chances, but not at the cost of the songs.
The first record was more a straight-forward rock band record, and I think
we’ve taken the next step."
result is a 13 song collection that lacks the desperation and bite of the
first CD, but replaces it with a knowing, bluesy feeling that is accentuated
with horns and bending blues riffs. Listening to the CD for
the first time I felt like someone who goes to a party and meets up unexpectedly
with an old friend that they love. You are used to this person, you
have a history and you love to be around them. But they bring a new
friend with them to the party and they want you to get to know them too.
They seem nice enough but they aren’t the same as your old friend.
As the night wares on, you get to know the
new person and you are able to enjoy both of them, with and because of
their differences. So too with the new tunes of "Mad Season."
I have been known, on occasion, to drive down the street singing "Push"
or "Back To Good" from the first CD, with the same righteous indignation
as Thomas. Perhaps one of the things that endeared that CD
to so many was the opportunity to share in the indignation and the emotion
of the songs. "Mad Season" projects less of that raw emotion
and instead travels down the road of understanding life’s turns a little
better. Thomas also wrote the songs for this CD on piano instead
of guitar, which he felt would avoid any repetitiveness of the songs on
What about the live performance?
Currently winding up a theatre tour that stretches across the United States,
did the band repeat their uncanny knack for selling out venues in a flash?
If Los Angeles is any gauge of the country, the answer is yes! According
to a local tour promoter, the tickets sold out within four minutes.
You heard right, four minutes. So if you are planning on checking
out a matchbox twenty show when new tour dates are announced, try
not to get trampled in the stampede. The set list contains a mixture
of 20+ songs from both CDs,
an interesting rendition of Willie Nelson’s "Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies
Grow Up To Be Cowboys," and the same emotional delivery that Rob Thomas
has become known for. He is, at times, an old time crooner, singing
with soul and dripping his voice over the sounds of the horns. You
can expect to find him exuding his trademark charisma and furiously flapping
oversized sleeves, covering arms that never seem to be able to stress his
urgency enough. The band is still tight and still has the groovy moves.
The audience noticeably came alive and sang along when songs like "Push"
and "3 a.m." were played. It goes back to my analogy of greeting
an old friend at a party. The new friends were introduced with the
same emotion and artistry and quickly fit into the mix. The most
surprising occurrence of the evening – the absence of "Smooth" from
the set list.
Visit the Official matchbox twenty website
Get Upcoming Tour Information
Hear samples from Mad Season and Purchase matchbox twenty music