Matchbox Twenty ready to kick off tour

By Andrea Berninger,
The Forum - 07/31/2001

After five days of rehearsals, Matchbox Twenty is ready to start its summer tour in the Fargodome tonight.

The band arrived in Fargo last week and has been practicing between six and 10 hours every day, guitarist Adam Gaynor said. Now the stage is built, lights are strung up and the instruments are in tune.

"Our first show is here, so it’s easier to move all the equipment here and rehearse. It’s been a good amount of work and not much play," Gaynor said in a phone interview from the Fargodome Monday.

The group found a little time for fun over the weekend.

Several members of the five-man band, including singer Rob Thomas and drummer Paul Doucette, were spotted at Radisson Hotel’s Perspectives Lounge & Casino Friday night. Later, Gaynor said, they played pool at Billiards on Broadway.

On another break, Matchbox Twenty went to the movies. "One of theaters opened up a little 'Planet Of The Apes' private screening for us," Gaynor said. "The Fargonians have been unbelievably welcoming."

Welcoming, but not too intrusive. "There’ve been a couple people waiting outside our rehearsal hall and sitting in their cars for a little glimpse," Gaynor said. "When we left the hotel yesterday a couple people were like ‘Hey,’ and we’re like ‘Hey!’ It’s cute."

Based on his take on the town, Gaynor finds Fargo pretty cute, too. "When you come from a place like we do, North Miami, and go through a rural community with beautiful houses and backgrounds, the quaintness feels nice. I would expect to be able to walk around the streets at night," Gaynor said. "It seems so pleasant, and we’ve seen things we don’t really see when we travel through big cities."

Except for the past month, Matchbox Twenty has traveled nearly constantly since releasing its latest CD, "Mad Season" last year. Gaynor said he’s not road-weary yet.

"It’s one of best jobs you can imagine and absolutely a fun job. As far as the hours and leaving loved ones, those are sacrifices you make. But I’ll never complain about it; it’s a great job."

Good thing Gaynor enjoys touring, because his band does a lot of it. For its 1996 debut album, the 10 million-selling "Yourself Or Someone Like You," the group played more than 600 concerts.

Sales for "Mad Season" are strong too: currently at about 3.5 million units, Gaynor said.

Some bands are notorious for demanding lengthy lists of dressing-room amenities, but Matchbox Twenty’s main backstage requests are downright minimalist.

"Green tea and Kleenex, all good things you need in life," Gaynor said.

With tea and tissue, Gaynor and his group are looking forward to the next two months on the road.

"I hope that I survive, that I remain healthy and all the guys remain healthy," he said. "I hope we have a lot of fun, that the catering’s decent, that I don’t run out of cereal, and that everyone enjoys themselves."

Tickets for tonight’s 7 p.m. show are $36 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster outlets or by calling (701) 235-7171.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Berninger at (701) 241-5533