2017-08-10 / Arts & Entertainment News

Matchbox Twenty takes its show on the road

BY ALAN SCULLEY
Florida Weekly Correspondent


Three of the four members of Matchbox Twenty plan to work on solo projects before they tour again. Three of the four members of Matchbox Twenty plan to work on solo projects before they tour again. Matchbox Twenty is doing its first U.S. tour in four years this summer, but fans shouldn’t expect this outing to immediately be followed by a new studio album or another extended round of shows next year.

Instead, three of the four band members — singer/guitarist Rob Thomas, guitarist Kyle Cook and guitarist Paul Doucette — will return to solo projects following the tour, and it figures to be up to another two years before there is any new activity for the group, which also includes bassist Brian Yale.

“Everybody is just too busy (with outside projects) to do anything right now,” Mr. Thomas reported in a mid- July phone interview, adding that he definitely expects the band to make more albums. “But as soon as that (solo) cycle is over, I think we all want to clear up our schedules like we did for this tour, to go in and make a (Matchbox) record that feels like who the four of us are now.”

In fact, Mr. Thomas had planned to stay off the road this summer — until the idea of the Matchbox Twenty tour with the Counting Crows, which comes to Coral Sky Amphitheatre on Aug. 16, was proposed.

“Like I legitimately wasn’t going to go out this summer at all because I toured for the last three summers solo,” Mr. Thomas said. “But when this came up and the (other) guys from Matchbox really wanted to go out and the Crows wanted to go out, it just all made so much sense I was like ‘Ah hell, I’m in again.’” Thomas toured behind his third solo album, “The Great Unknown,” last summer with the Counting Crows, the long-established group fronted by singer Adam Duritz. That 2016 tour was so much fun that the option of another tour this summer was too good to resist for Mr. Thomas. Plus, it was a good opportunity for Matchbox to renew acquaintances with their fans during what is looking like a long gap between albums for the band, whose most recent studio effort, “North,” came out in 2012.

The show Matchbox Twenty is playing is something of a celebration for longtime fans. Mr. Thomas said the group plans to showcase some early songs that haven’t been played live for a decade or more.

“There are songs from that first record we haven’t played since that first tour, and the second record,” Mr. Thomas said. “So we wanted to bring back some old friends that we knew a lot of fans wanted to hear.

Those early years gave Matchbox Twenty exceptional success. Formed in Orlando in 1995, the group exploded onto the rock scene with its 1996 debut album, “You or Someone Like You.” Containing the hits “3 A.M.,” “Push,” “Real World” and “Back 2 Good,” the debut album piled up more than 12 million copies sold in the United States alone. A second album, “Mad Season,” followed in 2000, and topped 4 million copies sold on the strength of the hit songs “Bent” and “If You’re Gone.”

By that time, Mr. Thomas had already made an impact outside of Matchbox Twenty by co-writing and singing the Grammy-winning hit “Smooth,” on Carlos Santana’s blockbuster 1999 album, “Supernatural.”

And Matchbox Twenty has been far less busy since then, releasing a third album, “More Than You Think You Are,” in 2002, a greatest hits album supplemented by six new songs, “Exile on Mainstream,” in 2007 and “North” in 2012, with band members otherwise pursuing outside projects.

Thomas is the band member who has made the biggest impact solo. His 2005 album “Something to Be…,” showcased a more soulful sound and became a platinum-certified hit behind the singles “Lonely No More,” “This Is How a Heart Breaks,” “Ever The Same” and “Streetcorner Symphony.”

A second Thomas solo album, “Cradlesong,” followed in 2009, with “The Great Unknown” arriving in 2015.

Mr. Doucette, after forming a side band, the Break and Repair Method, has delved into writing music for films, and according to Mr. Thomas, has two films to score next year.

Mr. Cook, meanwhile, has a new duo with singer/songwriter Sheila Marshall, Rivers and Rust, which recently released a debut EP and will have a full-length album out next year. The duo is opening for Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows this summer.

Mr. Thomas has started writing for his next solo album, which he plans to release next year. More writing is on his agenda after the summer tour.

“The way it works is I’ve probably written about three or four records by now,” Mr. Thomas said. “I start and I write 12 songs and I think ‘OK, I’ve got a record.’ Then my wife and I listen to them a lot and I get over the initial kind of love of them and I realize I’ve got (maybe) three songs that I really love. Then I start all over again. You make a whole other record and you add on to those three songs. After that process, you’ve got one or two more songs. So every time, in truth I’ve probably got six or seven songs that I love, and then I’ve got about three records worth of stuff that I think is OK.” ¦

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