By Mark Brown
Yeah, it all had a happy ending — Matchbox Twenty guitarist Adam Gaynor got his beloved Taylor acoustic guitar back. But singer Rob Thomas still has a few words for the kid who swiped the guitar from a Gainesville, Fla., concert hall last month, then anonymously returned it.
"We finally convinced him we weren't going to bust him, so he dropped it back off," Thomas says. "We finally got it back and you know what? It sounds like a piece of s--t. Now we're thinking, 'Man, if we can get hold of him, we'll give it back to him.'"
The incident has made Gaynor the butt of merciless jokes from his bandmates while touring the country in support of Mad Season by Matchbox Twenty. Still, there are distractions that help along the way. Old friend and former Dog's Eye View frontman Peter Stuart has been tapped to open a few shows along the tour (as well as singing backing vocals on Mad Season). Stuart is between record companies and shopping around his album, which features other friends, such as Counting Crows' Adam Duritz.
"Peter's one of my dearest friends. His new album is great; it's f--king amazing. I can't believe no one has picked it up yet," Thomas says. In fact, according to Thomas, one of the best perks of success isn't just being able to help your friends, but to amuse yourself on the road as well. The band specifically picked opening acts that they'd want to see, rather than a commercial pairing of who the record company thinks would bring in the most bucks.
"This is totally the 'Make Ourselves Happy Tour' — three weeks of the Jayhawks [opening], three weeks of Shelby Lynne, just so we can have something to do before the show," Thomas says. "When we took out the Jayhawks, it was funny. They were thanking us, and we did it for us. We can't really take any credit for it. Our favorite band is the Jayhawks. Same with Shelby Lynne; I've never seen her live, but I love the record."
The tour continues through Oct. 22, when it wraps up in San Diego. An appearance on the Tonight Show With Jay Leno will be mixed in, and an Australian tour follows, but Thomas is still aiming for his two greatest goals. "I'm dying to fit Saturday Night Live into our schedule. To me, that's an institution," he reveals. "Twice we were supposed to do it, but our schedule never caught up. And I'd love to do a VH1 Storytellers. There are all these things you can do, but you look at them and you realize the only purpose they have is to be an advertisement for you. Then something like Storytellers comes along, which is such a good, honest way to show your music."