"Ever since I can remember, I've always wanted to tell stories," says matchbox 20 singer/songwriter Rob Thomas. "But I never had the patience to sit down at a typewriter and write short stories or anything like that. I started writing songs as a way of communicating ideas the best way I could." And through his songwriting, Thomas has captured the enduring qualities of genuine passion and a sense of directness that allows matchbox 20 to make a connection with the listener.
Matchbox 20's debut album Yourself or Someone Like You is a remarkably sophisticated album from so young a band. From the groove that buoys the disarmingly rustic "Back 2 Good," to the incendiary rush that surges through "Busted," matchbox 20 never fails to strike a universal chord. The band's distinctive vocals and incisive hooks give the songs an emotional undertow that is perfectly matched by the band's instrumental skills.
Thomas-who was born on a military base in Germany and reared in the southeast-honed his songwriting abilities while fronting in a variety of local bands in his high school years. While enjoying the local scene, Thomas was introduced to matchbox 20 drummer Paul Doucette and bassist Brian Yale. After playing together for a few years in bands and touring regionally, the threesome (Thomas, Doucette, and Yale) decided to start a new band-what was to become matchbox 20. After recruiting the talents of Adam Gaynor from Criteria Recording Studios in Miami and Kyle Cook from the Atlanta Institute of Music, the lineup was complete.
The band quickly joined forces with producer Matt Serletic, who co-produced the Collective Soul albums, and began tracking demos. It wasn't long before the project attracted attention from both coasts. And soon matchbox 20 found itself added to the Lava/Atlantic roster. The band wasted no time and headed back into the studio with Serletic to record Yourself Or Someone Like You.
"I'm not one of those people who suffers for his art-it's more like I'd be suffering without it," says Thomas. "Writing songs is almost medicinal for me; it's the best therapy I can think of."
That healing nature is evident throughout matchbox 20's debut, in the engaging ebb and flow that marks the gradually-building "Long Day" and the serene introspection that imbues "Hang." Thomas' knack for turning his lyrics into what could pass for conversation between two old friends is perfectly offset by the pliant backing of his bandmates. The instinctive union among the five-immediately evident during the band's electrifying live show-is a reminder of what can be achieved when musicians never lose sight of the fact that the song is the most important thing.