Pictures of Matchbox men

Florida group pushed up the charts

By LISA WILTON -- Calgary Sun

Look up Matchbox 20 on any Internet search engine and at least a half-dozen websites dedicated to the Florida band will come up.

And although the band runs its own official site, there is one in particular that rhythm guitarist Adam Gaynor likes to keep his eye on.

"I think I was the first 'matchbox kid' with his own little website," says Gaynor of his unofficial fan page, which is maintained by 16-year-old named Linz T.

"So it was kind of fun to rub it in with the other guys."

Among the fascinating tidbits you can learn about Gaynor: Not only does he like apple juice, but he likes a wide variety of juices; he is only 6-ft.-2 instead of a "giant" 6-ft.-3, and he's allergic to dogs.

"She asked me to look at the page to make sure everything was correct, so I went on and surfed around and had a really good time, because I was reading about me. It was all about me on that page. It was really interesting to see what I like and what I was doing," he says with a laugh.

"I had to make a few corrections like about my fruit juice selections and my height.... I think it's really cute and really flattering."

But just as the three-year-old band -- which plays Max Bell Centre tomorrow -- basks in the glow of worshipping fan pages and success with its first album, Yourself or Someone Like You, Matchbox 20 also has to deal with its adversaries.

"Someone printed out a bunch of pages (from the anti-MB20 page) for us and it was very, very entertaining," he says.

"I think it's flattering that someone took enough time out to create it."

"You're going to have people who hate you no matter what you do," he adds.

"You can be Joe Public and someone's going to hate you for something. I think when you're at (our) level, there's going to be a lot more people who are going to hate you for a lot of reasons."

"Even bad critiques and bad reviews are entertaining. It's something you have to assume will happen. If you get upset by it, you should get a new job then."

Only a few months ago, the band -- best known for its hits 3 a.m. and Push -- found out people have even pretended to be them.

A man left the Hard Rock Cafe in Eau Claire Market with a $1,200 tab and a limo rental after claiming he was the band's drummer, Paul Doucette.

"We just laughed so hard when we heard about that," Gaynor recalls.

"It was unbelievable. We were actually rooting the guy on.... Rob (Thomas, the group's singer) is the most recognizable guy in the band and the rest of us rarely have that type of a problem."

"When we try that, it rarely works and this guy did and had a great time."

It may seem Matchbox 20's ascent into the higher echelons of dramatic and passionate guitar-based rock has been almost meteoric.

But to Gaynor, a former session musician at the Criteria Recording Studios in Miami, it's been a comfortable pace.

"I think our success has come relatively quickly, but as far as climbing that little ladder to whatever level we've achieved so far, it doesn't seem as fast as it may seem to outsiders."