Birthday Boy Thomas Guns for More Grammys

By Jon Bream

That Rob Thomas sure is smooth.

Today, of course, is Valentine's Day and his birthday. How does he reconcile that with his wife of nearly two years, model Marisol Maldonaldo?

"You forget about your birthday if you know what's good for you," Thomas, 29, says with a chuckle. "This year, my wife is in a runway show. So this year it's all about her; last year, she threw me a party, so it was all about me."

Last year, Thomas celebrated a triple Grammy win for Santana's "Smooth" a song Thomas co-wrote and sang which was named Record and Song of the Year, as well as Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals. This year, he's a finalist for two more Grammys, this time with his own band, Matchbox Twenty.

Does it mean more to him to be nominated with his own group?

"It's completely different," he tells Wall of Sound. "It meant so much to share it with Carlos. I guess it can mean more [this time]. This is my family. These guys, we travel in the van together, and we try to kill each other. It's kind of like retribution for that. It means a lot to us in that way. I can call my guys up and say, 'Congratulations,' instead of them calling me up."

Despite all the Grammy gloating, Thomas didn't vote this year, unlike last year, because Matchbox was on tour and he didn't have access to his ballot.

The singer will attend the Feb. 21 awards in Los Angeles, though Matchbox Twenty's categories Best Rock Song (nominated for "Bent") and Best Rock Album (nominated for Mad Season) will be presented before the national telecast on CBS.

While he sang "Smooth" on the awards last year, this time he was asked to present an award and now apparently the Grammy poo-bahs have reneged.

"There are so many big stars out there," Thomas says, humbly. "I think I'm on the A-minus list."