Matchbox 20 Will Give the Radio a Rest

Sophomore album to hit stores some time next year

Right now, yourself or someone like you is getting ready to purchase Matchbox 20's Yourself or Someone Like You. Two and a half years after its release, the damn album is still selling more than 20,000 copies a week, and it has already eclipsed platinum status six times, on the strength of singles like "Push" and "Real World." "When you put out a record and it does whatever it does, you can't stop the momentum of [it]," says M20 frontman Rob Thomas. "But you can stop what you do to pile on top of that. It sounds kind of hokey, but it's up to you to give people a break."

Nell Carter couldn't have said it better. M20 will not make the same mistake label mates Hootie & the Blowfish did, when that troupe released Fairweather Johnson while their debut Cracked Rear View was still selling in droves. That business decision arguably has stunted Hootie's career.

Thomas says M20 won't release their sophomore effort until early next year, even though the group's compiled a career's worth of material within the last few years. "We're gonna do the eight-CD release," jokes Thomas.

In June, members of M20 will climb aboard a houseboat near Atlanta and begin fleshing out material that will eventually become their next album. Thomas alone has a "sheet-long list" of new songs for consideration among other band members' songs. "A lot of the writing process is kind of an independent thing for a lot of people, just 'cause we have huge egos," he remarks. The band will begin recording the next record in July up until October, when Thomas will be getting married.

Recently, Thomas collaborated with Carlos Santana on a new song called "Smooth," which will appear on Santana's forthcoming album, due in May. Other artists who guest on the album include Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Dave Matthews, Everlast and Eric Clapton. "On the first few takes [of 'Smooth'] there are these twenty-minute versions with just screaming back and forth between Santana and the vocal," Thomas says. "It was mad fun."

On May 1, what Thomas considers the final chapter on Yourself or Someone Like You will unfold when a pre-recorded M20 live show from Australia airs on pay-per-view. The set includes covers of the Rolling Stones' "Don't Let Me Down," Prince's "Nothing Compares to U" and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," along with a never-recorded acoustic original "Rest Stop." "By early admission, it's not anything like Peter Gabriel's Secret World Live," Thomas says, "but I think it is, for anyone that was a fan of the record, a big period or exclamation point at the end of what we did the last three years."

(April 23, 1999)