Pretty ugly time for Rob

MATCHBOX Twenty lead singer Rob Thomas and drummer Paul Doucette both recall, with wide smiles, the drunken blur of 1997 to 1999, when a bloated Thomas landed on the front page of a British newspaper as Fat Rob.

"It was a lot of fun," Doucette says. "I'm a small guy and I could outdrink anybody on the road."

Thomas: "Paul could outdrink Pantera. All of them. But you have to do it. You have to get the obligatory, go ape-shit, do everything.

"If I could be trashed all the time, not get heavy, not be hung over, and still put on a great show, I'd be trashed all the time."

Thomas, lean and lightly muscular, exercises each morning, and has made US People magazine's sexiest people honour roll three years in a row.

"I'm still a pothead, I smoke, and I drink some, and I still manage to make those stupid lists," he says.

But consider Doucette's dilemma. People rang him recently fishing for quotes about Thomas's good looks.

"It takes the cake for being the dumbest f---ing thing I've ever done," Doucette says.

"I just said: 'Yeah, yeah, Rob's very pretty'. The worst thing is, they didn't use anything I said."

Thomas to Doucette, laughing: "That's because you didn't make me sound pretty enough, you ungrateful bastard."