Billboard Bits: Rob Thomas

After contributing songs to recent releases by Mick Jagger and Willie Nelson, matchbox twenty frontman Rob Thomas is getting to work on his primary band's next Lava/Atlantic album. Thomas tells Billboard that the set could be out as early as this summer and will be produced by frequent collaborator Matt Serletic, the newly named head of Virgin Records in the U.S.

"That had to be part of his contract," Thomas says of Serletic's freedom to work with matchbox twenty. "What he's allowed to do outside of Virgin are me and me-related things." Along those lines, Thomas says he is considering recording a solo album backed by "people I've met through my travels." In the meantime, both matchbox twenty drummer Paul Doucette and guitarist Kyle Cook are working on solo albums of their own.

Matchbox twenty's "If You're Gone" is No. 6 in its 67th week on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart this week.

-- Melinda Newman, L.A.