Right here, right now, the name Matchbox 20 might not mean a lot, but back in the States they're the biggest thing since Swan Vesta. Mark Walker strikes it lucky...

With well over six million sales of their debut album Yourself Or Someone Like You in their native land, not to mention the 100,000 units a week still shifting around the globe, it won't be long before the name Matchbox 20 trips off the tongue of every self-respecting rock'n'roll aficionado. For those who feel a need for a quick summation of where Matchbox 20 are at, try "Counting Crows with less angst and a lot more up tempo and immediate". Brian Yale, bassist with the band, has obviously heard the comparison numerous times, and when I mention 'the Crows', he laughs.

"Black Crowes, right?" he jokes, but is happy to discuss the habit that music fans have of comparing bands. "I do it as well, 'They sound like...' Personally, you ask us, I don't think we sound like them at all, they're a little more rootsy. We're big fans of that band, I can kind of see similarities in the vocal style and the way it's telling a story. It's more personal, more sombre, but they're friends of ours, I can't diss 'em!"

By the time the band next play the big arenas, they'll be headlining with a full set. It all seems to have happened pretty quickly for Matchbox 20.

"Yeah, a year ago we were playing small pubs in between the festivals. We used those festivals in the States to reach more people, but during the week we were playing club shows and then the theatres. Which ran into the next tour - redoing places, but this time at big outdoor amphitheatres with our own headline tour. It's grown incrementally as we've gone along."

So from unknowns to superstars in next to no time?

"I'm just the bass player, man, you know, whatever!" he cracks. "I was playing with Rob (Thomas, vocals) and Paul (Doucette, drums) in a band that broke up and evolved into this one, so we've been playing together about six years, it's not really a very short time, it's actually pretty long."

And was the band always confident of success?

"When we made this record we knew we'd made a really good record, we were proud of it. But you never know about the people's taste or the help you're going to get from the record companies to the press people - all the people you need help from to basically launch your career. Luckily we got a lot of that, and the fans' support has been great, amazing."

Brian started playing bass at eighth grade (12 years old), having previously tinkered with the trumpet. Early influences were British - he cites Zeppelin, Yes and King Crimson as inspirations.

"Man, right now I like your Britpop music that you've got. I'm a big Radiohead fan, big Blur, Verve and Oasis fan, these are the four bands I'm listening to right now, plus Ben Folds Five."

On stage Brian has a ball, shuffling around behind Rob Thomas like a slinky gyrating spinning top. He uses Eden amps and predominantly Ernie Ball Music Man StingRays, with the occasional intro played on his Fender Jazz, plus a few effects.

"Whatever goes along with the song, that's basically my main thing, and the main thing with our band is the vocal melody and the song. So I'm trying to be a supportive guy, that's the bass player's role."

In terms of success, the chaps in Matchbox 20 have definitely fulfilled the ambitions that most young bands aspire to. So is it as good as he'd thought it would be? Brian ponders this one awhile before answering.

"Um... yeah! There are things that are myths, like everyone thinks that you get a record deal and it stops, but actually you're basically starting from scratch. The hardest thing is that we've been on the road for two years straight, and I mean 'straight' straight. Plus it costs a lot of money to do - all this shit costs a hell of a lot. We've toured for two years, and haven't really made anything touring. That's pretty amazing, a lot of people might not get that, but you've got to really know that this is a business, when it comes down to it."

Not that Brian's complaining.

"No way, I love it. Best job! It's great, we wouldn't trade it for anything, that's for sure."