TEEN PEOPLE: Why did your band change its name from Matchbox 20 to Matchbox Twenty?
ROB THOMAS: We hate this question. [Sorry! - ed.] We got tired of looking at Matchbox 20 and liked the way it looked written out. I made a bad joke that we were tired o being compared to bands [with numbers in their names like Blink-182 and Eiffel 65. But since sarcasm doesn't print well, no one got it.
TP: Although your second CD [Mad Season by Matchbox Twenty] has sold more than 4 million copies, are you disappointed that it hasn't topped your 11-million-selling debut?
RT: When you sell 10 million records, I don't think you can ever expect to repeat that. To sell as many records as we have means that we're going to be able to keep making albums, which is really my goal. We don't have to be at the top of the heap. We just have to be in the pile somewhere.
TP: You've been on the road since September 2000. Does one particular gig stand out from the others?
RT: Playing New York City's Madison Square Garden was a milestone. I never thought we'd get to that point. [When we did] I thought, "We're never going to fill it." But it sold out in 10 minutes - I was really blown away. I always said if I ever make it to the Garden, I'll kiss the stage. So, during that show, I stopped singing and kissed it. It was a really special moment.
TP: Give us your prediction: Is sugary pop about to die a violent death? That's what all the rockers seem to think.
RT: I'm not a pop basher, but I'm not going to lie. Right now I think all the world needs is a Soundgarden record, a Smashing Pumpkins record and another Stone Temple Pilots record. Then we'll be back on keel.
TP: Last year you won a Grammy for cowriting Carlos Santana's hit "Smooth." Any other big collaborations on the horizon?
RT: Willie Nelson invited me to Los Angeles to write three songs on his new record. That first day in the studio, I didn't know what to say or when to talk. I grew up in South Carolina, where old country is really big, and he's been my idol since I was 10. He's unbelievable.
TP: Is there a new Matchbox Twenty album in the works?
RT: After the tour, we're going to make another record. I've started writing songs, and it will have a little bit more o a raw sound. But [first] we're going to take a break. I want to have enough time to have a lie to write about.
TP: You've been married for only two years and you're away from your New York City home so often on tour. How do you and your wife, Marisol, manage to spend time together?
RT: We make an effort to be a normal, close couple, no matter where we are. We hang out with friends, watch television, go to the movies. Every now and then we go to a movie premiere, but we don't spend a lot of time [at celebrity events]. Any date where we spend time together is ideal.
TP: One last question. If you were cast on Survivor, what luxury item would you bring?
RT: My keyboard. I can't imagine a better place to have some peace to write....Hey, can I bring my wife?
- Reported by Dana Meltzer