Matchbox 20 all fired up

By Dino Scatena, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia)

Avoid the streets of Sydney around sunset next week there is a showdown set to be played out.

Seems an old-timer guitar-slinger by the name of Eddie Van Halen has been mouthing off about newly-crowned kings of the rock radio, Matchbox 20.

Next Monday, both bands hit town and the Young Turks feel there is a score to settle.

"We're going to call our next record We Hate Eddie Van Halen," spat Matchbox 20's drummer Paul Doucette.

"He ripped on us in an interview. It was just him being all pissed off because he's old and not selling any records.

"He was saying: 'Oh, I'm tired of these generic bands like Matchbox 20 coming out. I'm going back to playing in clubs so kids can see what a real guitar god looks like up close.'

"Like, wow -right on."

To make matters worse, Matchbox 20 had to suffer the indignation of knowing they could not play at the Sydney Entertainment Centre because it was booked by a certain Mr Van Halen and his band.

So Matchbox 20 have had to accept a five-night stand at the Enmore Theatre.

Their current tour is an indication of how the band's popularity has exploded since their previous visit to Sydney last year as virtual unknowns at the PCMC convention.

"The funny thing is, the more you go along, especially as things get bigger and bigger, [the rock documentary spoof] Spinal Tap becomes more than just a movie," Doucette said.

"I mean, it's very true. Do you remember the moment where they're trying to find the stage and they get lost? That happens to us all the time."

It's an understatement to point out that Matchbox 20 has gone ballistic here and at home in America in recent months.

Locally, the band has sold more than 200,000 copies of its debut album Yourself Or Someone Like You. Add to that two million more copies in the US.

"When you're dreaming it, you think it will be nothing but disco-balls in the bus and sex, drugs and fire trucks everywhere," Doucette said of his new-found rock star status.

"It's nothing like that. It's never sleeping and never staying in one place for more than five minutes. It's a lot of waiting around -a hell of a lot of waiting around -but it's wonderful. It's so worth it.

"We're comfortable with it but there's this element of shock that goes with it, because things have definitely gone way beyond expectations.

"I'm sure that in about six months, after we're all done and we're taking some time off, then I'm going to become freaked out about everything.

Throw a TV outside a hotel window or something."

* Matchbox 20 play the Enmore Theatre next Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday nights.