Seasonal Madness (Article with Adam)

matchbox twenty pushing it to the limit following album release

By MIKE BELL -- Calgary Sun

Getting a straight answer out of matchbox twenty's guitarist Adam Gaynor is like asking for simple directions from Robin Williams.

Before even a greeting can be uttered, Gaynor begins the interview with a tirade about people on quiz or talk shows who clap for themselves, which somehow manages to segue into his secrets for a healthy lifestyle, his genetic psychosis and then into another tirade about poorly written pay-per-view films.

"Grab a piece of paper and start writing (stuff) down because this phone call," Gaynor pauses to belch loudly, "is a great movie."

It's been 45 seconds.

But I guess Gaynor's manic conversational pace is fitting when you look at the life he and his four bandmates have been living the past five years since the release of their debut, Yourself Or Someone Like You.

Now, the Florida quintet has risen to the top of the modern rock crop, selling 14 million copies of that first album thanks to a handful of singles such as the mammoth hit Push, winning awards and touring the world constantly, pausing really only long enough in late 1999 to record a sophomore album, mad season by matchbox twenty.

To support that followup, which is again enjoying a great deal of success, having sold somewhere around four million copies since its mid-2000 release, they're again hitting the North American arena circuit, including a Calgary date this Sunday at the Saddledome.

For Gaynor, who, in his mid-30s is the oldest, though not necessarily the most mature member of matchbox twenty, he says the sacrifices he's making are more than worth it.

"It's something that probably doesn't suit everyone. I know there are people in my band that probably prefer to just make albums," he says. "I look at it this way, Uncle Mike, and I hope you don't mind me calling you Uncle Mike. I could be at home doing landscaping, although that's not an option because I don't enjoy the sun. I know what I don't want to do and I know what I did to tide myself over and I think we're all fortunate and we need to keep that in perspective.

"It's hard, though, because it's a crazy pace and it's a crazy lifestyle and it's a little wacky, but I know what we're doing is a great job."

Gaynor's description of his status in matchbox twenty as "a job" is one that brings up a good point about his place in the band.

There is a common belief that matchbox twenty is Rob Thomas, the band's frontman and credited songwriter for most of the material on both records, and that the rest of the members are merely hired guns.

Smooth, the Grammy-winning, chart-topping collaboration between Thomas and Carlos Santana, pushed Thomas, not matchbox twenty, more into the fore.

While it's true that Gaynor was working in a Miami recording studio and dabbling with his own songwriting when he was introduced to Thomas, he says that after hearing and connecting deeply with what Thomas was capable of doing musically, he threw himself fully into it. "The God's honest truth, I bet you no one in the band but me would say absolutely (musically) this is exactly what I was doing before I met Rob," he says seriously. "Our producer (Matt Serletic) brought me up to Orlando to meet Rob and I sat in the house with him and he played me two songs acoustically. And I just looked at him and went from a guy who wanted to do his own deal and didn't really give a crap about who I was about to meet, to listening to him sing and saying, 'Oh my God, this is really special.'

"He's actually taking the stuff that I do and upping the ante."

But, however far Thomas takes the music, Gaynor says that only himself and the other musicians in the band -- and maybe even producer Serletic -- can complete it and make it truly matchbox twenty.

"That's the difference between Rob Thomas and matchbox twenty. matchbox twenty made our two albums; Rob Thomas will always write songs and work with other people but I think Rob Thomas by himself isn't matchbox twenty," Gaynor says.

"That's the first time I've actually said that answer. Rob Thomas is Rob Thomas. He's always going to have decent, catchy, great hooks and lyrics, but matchbox twenty is what you hear on the album."