Matchbox Twenty GlobalZona Article
"Mad season by matchbox twenty," the long-awaited second Melisma/Lava/Atlantic
release from matchbox twenty, stands as a great leap forward
for one of today's most compelling rock n' roll groups.Following
the stunning success of their explosive 1996 Lava/Atlantic debut,
"YOURSELF OR SOMEONE LIKE YOU," this soul-infused collection
of modern classics amply demonstrates the band's remarkably
expressive range and power.From the potent and powerful pop
of "Black & White People" to the turbulent "Angry" and "You
Won't Be Mine," each of the new album's thirteen tracks is a
showcase for the dynamic, melodic matchbox twenty sound, as
well as the singular mark of triple Grammy-winner Rob Thomas's
intimate yet universal songwriting.
Having spent over 600 nights on the road since the release of
their explosive 1996 Melisma/Lava/Atlantic debut, "YOURSELF
OR SOMEONE LIKE YOU," matchbox twenty has grown into a creative
musical machine firing on all cylinders.Thomas's rich vocals
have ripened in both strength and maturity, as have Kyle Cook
and Adam Gaynor's heartfelt harmonies and chiming twin guitar
arrangements.Binding these elements together is the inventive,
propulsive rhythm section of bassist Brian Yale and drummer
"When we made our first record, we hadn't really been a band
for very long," Thomas says."We hadn't had any really good fights,
we hadn't had any really good laughs, we hadn't done much of
anything together.But now, so much has happened to us that we've
formed a character within ourselves.So this is really the first
time we're saying, 'This is matchbox twenty making a record,'
because now matchbox twenty is its own entity.This is the first
one where we can really say, this is our sound."
Recorded in Atlanta and Nashville during the second half of
1999, "mad season by matchbox twenty" was produced by dual Grammy
Award-winner Matt Serletic ("Record of the Year"/"Album of the
Year"), the man behind the board for "YOURSELF OR SOMEONE LIKE
YOU."Late last year, that album - a Billboard Top Five smash
- earned the RIAA's prestigious Diamond Award, marking certified
U.S. sales in excess of 10 million units and adding matchbox
twenty's name to a very elite roster of artists who have reached
this major career milestone.
"It was freakish," says Thomas of the group's incredible achievement."You
can't compete with it and you can't recreate it, so we were
in a good position.All we had to worry about was making a great
"mad season by matchbox twenty" highlights the continuing development
of Thomas'sgifts as a writer, with songs that focus on the binding
elements of our increasingly unconnected world.Where many sophomore
records reflect an artist's newly isolated existence - with
songs either telling of bus windows and endless highways, of
the terrible traumas of fame and fortune - here Thomas spins
poignant stories of love and loss, of life and how to live it.
"Your career is just one aspect of who you are," Thomas notes."Most
of the things I write about are still basic emotions. If you
sell a billion records, and the only thing you can come up with
to write about is selling a billion records, then you're probably
a pretty shallow person.There has to be something else in your
life that you can draw on other than 'I'm rich and famous.'"
Thomas was recently honored with three Grammy Awards for "Smooth,"
his 1999 chart-topping collaboration with Carlos Santana.The
track earned him "Song of the Year" honors; the "Record of the
Year" trophy (along with Santana, producer Matt Serletic, and
engineer/mixer David Thoener); and the "Best Pop Collaboration
with Vocals" award, which he shared with Santana.Thomas's hat
trick was the second-highest tally of the 42nd Annual Grammy
Awards, following Santana himself with eight.
"I just fell bass-ackwards into luck again," says Rob."Everything
about 'Smooth' has been so special and so beautiful.We were
taking our time making 'mad season,' so 'Smooth' became this
really good bridge.We needed a break, and it kept us from the
'Where Are They Now?' file."
Thomas - who won in every category in which he was nominated
- had previously earned a Grammy nomination for matchbox twenty's
hit single, "Push," which received a 1998 nod in the "Best Rock
Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal" category.Among his
other honors, Thomas received the 1999 "Pop Songwriter of the
Year" award from the performing rights organization BMI.He was
recognized for penning three songs on the year's most-performed
songs list, and shared the "Pop Songwriter of the Year" title
with Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, and Sarah McLachlan.In addition,
BMI presented three tracks from "YOURSELF OR SOMEONE LIKE YOU"
- "3am," "Real World," and "Push" (previously awarded for being
among 1998's most-performed songs) - with their 1999 "Pop Award."
"Every great spirit lined up the right way so that we could
be afforded this success," Thomas says."And I think we've taken
that success and done the right things with it.We don't take
ourselves too seriously, and we haven't forgotten what it's
all about, which is the music."
* * * * *
Born on a military base in Germany, Rob Thomas spent much of
his youth shuttling between his grandmother in South Carolina
and his mom in Florida.After dropping out of both high school
and his difficult home life, the 17-year-old Rob drifted around
the Southeast, hitchhiking and crashing where he could.The only
constant of the young man's life was music, an inspiring soundtrack
which included artists ranging from Al Green and Van Morrison
to Elvis Costello and R.E.M.He released the pressures of his
life in his songwriting, just as he developed his gutsy vocal
style fronting a number of local rock bands.Settling in the
Orlando area, he found common musical ground with drummer Paul
Doucette and bassist Brian Yale, and the three formed a partnership.They
recruited guitarist Adam Gaynor from his job at Miami's Criteria
Recording Studios and guitarist Kyle Cook from his studies at
the Atlanta Institute of Music.matchbox twenty was born.
As quickly as they'd come together, the band found themselves
signed to Lava/Atlantic and were soon recording their debut
album with producer Matt Serletic (Collective Soul, Aerosmith).With
the release of "Push," the band scored a dramatic multi-format
breakthrough single and a video channel favorite, pushing matchbox
twenty and 1996's "YOURSELF OR SOMEONE LIKE YOU" into the spotlight.They
kicked off Summer 1997 with an early set at the massive Blockbuster
Rockfest at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, a performance
which was deemed the long day's highlight.That July, the group
made their network television debut, blowing the roof off Late
Show with David Letterman with a knockout rendition of "Push."They
returned to the Ed Sullivan Theater late that year to perform
"3am", after taking the stage in September for their debut on
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
All four singles released from "YOURSELF OR SOMEONE LIKE YOU"
- that is, "Push," "3am," "Real World," and "Back 2 Good" -became
radio favorites, topping the airplay charts at most formats.Proving
that the band's talents are visual as well as sonic, the arresting
companion video clips were Heavy Rotation hits at both MTV and
VH1.The accolades began piling up, as matchbox twenty won the
illustrious "Best New Band" award in Rolling Stone's 1997 Reader's
Poll, as well as Billboard's 1997 "Duo/Group," and the "Favorite
Group:New Artist" trophy at 1997's Blockbuster Entertainment
Awards.The album was also listed among the top 10 in Spin magazine's
1998 "Year In Music" issue, while Thomas's charismatic frontman
persona prompted People to include him in their 1998 "50 Most
Beautiful People In The World" issue.
All the while, matchbox twenty toured constantly, to ever-larger,
always-sold-out houses.In early 1998, the band taped a blistering
performance at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom for MTV's Live
At The Ten Spot in-concert program.With America plainly captivated
by the band's sweeping sound and songs, the next step was to
bring their music to the rest of the world.Following a series
of acclaimed dates and promo appearances in Europe, matchbox
twenty embarked on their first tour of Australia.The band, which
had clicked with fans Down Under on a level par with the U.S.
- with the album reaching #1 on the charts - arrived in Oz to
find all dates sold out, including a five-night stand in Sydney.The
tour was filmed for posterity, with performances from all points
gathered together to form "matchbox twenty LIVE FROM AUSTRALIA,"
the band's first full-length home video release.On the global
front, the band accumulated an impressive list of certifications
for "YOURSELF OR SOMEONE LIKE YOU": eight-times platinum in
Australia, quintuple platinum in New Zealand, quadruple platinum
in Canada, platinum in the Philippines, and gold in Ireland
"Rob's message is universal," says guitarist Adam Gaynor of
the band's global popularity."What he's saying appeals to so
* * * * *
1999 was spent vacationing, woodshedding,and readying to record
the second matchbox twenty outing.When the group convened at
Atlanta's Tree Studios in August, it soon became clear just
how much the band had grown since their debut.
"The difference was monumental," Gaynor says."We're all really
proud of the first album, but we're a much more mature band
now.It was a lot more fun this time.You're so nervous the first
time you make a record, but now it's just about making good
music and taking it up another notch."
"We've matured as people, which I think is reflected in the
music," guitarist Kyle Cook points out."I think we took some
chances, but not at the cost of the songs.The first record was
more a straight-forward rock band record, and I think we've
taken the next step."
"Everyone really stepped up," says bassist Brian Yale. "The
difference between matchbox twenty four years ago and now, performance-wise,
is just night and day."
Where "YOURSELF OR SOMEONE LIKE YOU" is marked by the passionate
energy of a young band hitting the studio for the first time,
"mad season by matchbox twenty"features a no-holds-barred sonic
approach which incorporates new textures - such as intricate
orchestrations and fierce horn sections.With the able assistance
of producer Matt Serletic, the band grew comfortable in the
recording studio and was able to take control of their music.
"Matt's the sixth member of the band," Thomas enthuses, "and
that makes working in the studio more interesting and fun.We
can trust him to say 'Try this road' or 'Do this,' because we
know in the end we're all going to decide on what's best."
Though Thomas is, of course, matchbox twenty's central songwriter,
the album features the first-ever composing contributions by
Doucette.The drummer shares writing credit with Thomas on "Stop"
- which Doucette describes as "the oddest and hardest song on
"mad season by matchbox twenty" captures this unique quintet
at the height of their powers, remarkably unburdened by any
pressure to follow the monumental success of their debut.If
matchbox twenty has learned anything over the last few years,
it is that making great music is ultimately what matters.
"It was amazing the way it all happened for us," Rob Thomas
says, "and because of that, you realize that you don't have
as much control over things as you thought going in.And that
gives you this freedom.You're not really holding onto the reins,
you're not really flying the plane, you're not really driving
the car - you're really just a passenger.The only thing you're
in control of is the record -you write the song, you go into
the studio, you put everything into making it - but once you
shrink-wrap it and put it out, it's not up to you anymore.All
you can do is hope that people like it."
*This information is provided to you by www.Matchbox20.com