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O'REGAN: They exploded onto the music scene six years ago with a multi-platinum debut album. You couldn't turn on a radio without hearing a Matchbox Twenty
chart-buster like "Push", "Three AM". The boys are back. "More Than You Think You Are" is the new album. And lead singer Rob Thomas
and guitarist Adam Gaynor join us here in the Canada AM studios.
THOMAS: Good morning.
GAYNOR: Seamus, good morning.
O'REGAN: I listened to the album.
THOMAS: Yeah? How did you dig it?
O'REGAN: I loved it. And I'm thinking, okay, "Disease", there's the single. And, lo and behold, you made it so.
THOMAS: We did it. We didn't have a lot of choice there. It's funny, we had like a date that we put on ourselves -- like this is when the record is going to come out -- because we know that if we don't we'll stay in the studio for a year. So this was the first time we had to figure out what the single was going to be and put it out before the record was done. So we didn't really have anything behind that, it was just the one that was the most done. So we were like, okay, we're going to put this out. And it was weird because we were actually in the studio finishing the record and hearing the song on the radio [overtalk] --
Because you work really hard on figuring what songs you're going to put on the record. And then once you figure out, okay, these songs are going to be on the record then you stand behind all those songs. So, as far as what's going to be the single that's up to everybody else, you know.
O'REGAN: Yeah. Did you guys feel a lot of pressure, by the way? Because you've been relatively successful with your previous efforts.
GAYNOR: I don't know, there's different levels of the word "pressure". And I don't think that this band really feels an enormous amount of pressure. I think you have so many people in the band that are kinda writers and you have Rob, obviously, that's the focal point of the writing and then you have all these people that support. I think the pressure is really to make the best album that we're going to live with for the rest of our lives and be like, "That was a good album, we're glad we did that." And it's over.
THOMAS: Yeah, it's a great place to be. We feel like now we're making music for our fans. Like we know who are fans are. They're people that really like songs. They want to listen to a record and just listen to good songs. It's not about an image and it's not about trying to associate yourself with any member of the
disenfranchised, you know what I mean? We're just there for really good songs. And so we feel like now we've found our niche and our fans will come to us, you know? And they have. So that's really
O'REGAN: That's true. I mean you guys don't worry a whole lot about image, do you?
O'REGAN: I mean you dress well. And you bathe. [laughter]
GAYNOR: I do.
O'REGAN: But you're not too overly worried about that. There's
nothing contrived about you guys.
THOMAS: Thank you. We've never been like a hip band, you know what I mean? I think we're hip people, but we've never been a hip band, and I think that's been our saving grace. Because we've managed to come through almost the better part of a decade now, trend after trend after trend, and just stay under the radar and just try and make good records. And try and follow people like Tom Petty or Fleetwood Mac or these people who that was just their job, was to make good records and then go on tour.
GAYNOR: We're trying to get more into the substance more than the flavour. You know, you don't want to be the flavour of the week. You try to sustain it by having a little more substance. And I think that's what this band kinda works on.
O'REGAN: What worked for you guys to make you Matchbox Twenty? Because I know you guys starting off knew so many other bands that I'm sure you looked up to but never made it.
THOMAS: There's so many bands out there that don't sell the records. And we idolize bands like Wilco and the Jayhawks, just great songwriting bands, you know. And we took them on the road with us and that was kind of a weird thing for a while. It was
great for us because we had one of our favourite bands out with us
every night. But the Jayhawks were opening up for us --
O'REGAN: Yeah, you guys would be in your dressing room going, "The Jayhawks are out there!"
THOMAS: Yeah. And Soul Asylum played with us as well. And it is kinda that "Wow, this is so great." But at the same time it puts perspective on how great things really are and how much we really need to enjoy it and how we need to keep our focus where it is, which is just on the music.
O'REGAN: Well, you're a very accessible band. I mean your music is really accessible to people. Now, some people would say
"accessible", and then other people turn around and say "they're
THOMAS: That's not a bad thing.
O'REGAN: That's what I wanted to ask you.
THOMAS: Yeah, I mean I grew up on mainstream music, you know? Like we want to just make good mainstream music. But that just means music for the masses. And our music is for the people. That was the whole idea. Like, we want people to incorporate us into the soundtrack of their lives and put the CD in as they drive to the beach or when they go to work or when they get home from work, you know? That's like you're creating this energy across the world with people you've never met before. That's the amazing part of it.
O'REGAN: Yeah, when it reaches the point now in a record store where "alternative" is the biggest section in the record store then I'm looking forward to the day when you go in and there's like a little back room and it's "mainstream". [laughter]
O'REGAN: Now, you guys are writing songs now with Mick Jagger. I think things are huge.
THOMAS: Huge. We're huge now.
O'REGAN: As Mick might say: "Massive."
THOMAS: No, I was working with Mick for his solo record he just did, "The Goddess in the Doorway" album. And there's a song on there that him and I wrote together. This song I wrote -- "Disease", the new single -- I wrote the night before I was going to see Mick. I kinda felt like I was getting sent up to the majors, you know. Like that feeling of, "Oh God, I'm going to go write with Mick Jagger!" And I wrote like 98 percent of the song just based on "I want to write a song that I think Mick Jagger would sound really cool singing."
O'REGAN: Yeah, what did Mick say to you? "What you did for Santana, do for me. Just do that thing."
THOMAS: Yeah, he was really great. And it was one of those things where like, I didn't want to give him the song, you know? I was like [overtalk] --
And we did a show in London and he came to the show and just backstage said, "Listen, I think we've got a record pretty tied up and 'Disease' was mostly your song so you guys should do it on your new record." And we were just excited because we liked the song. I would play it for the guys when we were on tour, the last tour. And I'd play it for them and they'd just be like, "So you're giving that to Mick?" I was like, "Well, I'm not really giving it to him, I wrote it for him."
O'REGAN: Yeah, that's got to be tough.
GAYNOR: He gave it back, it was nice.
THOMAS: Yeah, it was really nice.
O'REGAN: This is all very touching.
THOMAS: Isn't it? We love you, Mick.
GAYNOR: Don't make me emotional, I'm going to start crying.
O'REGAN: That's why these guys are going to be back again a little later on. We'll be right back here on Canada AM. O'REGAN: Well, it's been a wild ride for members of Matchbox Twenty. Three albums, six years, along with lead singer Rob Thomas's little detour into a triple Grammy-winning collaboration with the great Carlos Santana. The latest album is called "More Than You Think You Are". And two of the five members join me now: lead singer Rob Thomas along with guitarist Adam Gaynor.
THOMAS: Hey, Adam.
GAYNOR: Hey, Rob.
O'REGAN: Have you guys met? I love bringing people together on Canada AM.
THOMAS: Hey, good morning, Canada.
GAYNOR: Hey, Canada, what's going on?
O'REGAN: First of all, the whole lower-case thing, okay? Listen, it's very difficult. I mean you're confusing me. It was Matchbox 20 with a capital M and two zero, numbers. Now you're going all lower case and you're spelling out "twenty". Did I say that right?
THOMAS: Yeah, that was nice.
GAYNOR: It should have been "match boxt wenty". That's the deal. And what happened is there was a typo --
THOMAS: And we just left it, yeah.
O'REGAN: You guys strike me as deep thinkers, though. So 'fess up, what's the story?
THOMAS: What do you want to know?
O'REGAN: Why did you change it?
THOMAS: We changed our name from Matchbox 20 to matchbox twenty.
O'REGAN: Well, you changed it from Matchbox 20 to matchbox twenty.
THOMAS: But it's funny, like we still on our t-shirts and our tour and stuff we still have the number and like the other way. This is just the way that we like it on the records. It looks nice and dignified.
O'REGAN: No, I guess I was looking for a deeper answer.
THOMAS: No, you're not going to get it from us.
GAYNOR: The truth is, we kept the name Matchbox 20 and all we did was change it to matchbox twenty.
O'REGAN: I think there is an entire nation out there switching channels right now.
THOMAS: I don't blame you.
GAYNOR: Thank you so much, Canada.
THOMAS: It was funny, like right when we did it on the last record there was this whole thing that came out that we said -- and we did, as a joke -- that we were tired of being compared to bands like Blink 182 or Sum 41. Like these bands that we would never be compared to, to begin with. But then somebody came out and in Entertainment Weekly I was the Loser of the Week for this quote, because I had said this --
O'REGAN: But you got People Magazine, like Most Beautiful Guy or something, didn't you?
THOMAS: Well, that's because I'm hot.
GAYNOR: He is pretty good-looking. [laughter] I don't believe you just said that. And I know him pretty well, you know what I'm saying?
GAYNOR: By the way, of the top 50 I was 52 and two people were missing that day.
THOMAS: He was.
O'REGAN: A striking resemblance to Ben Affleck.
THOMAS: Damn you, George Clooney! Damn you, Matt Damon!
GAYNOR: Matt Damon?
O'REGAN: He's never been named.
GAYNOR: It's the whole JLo thing, it's exposure.
THOMAS: Yeah, he's a good-looking guy, but sexiest man?
O'REGAN: You don't think Ben Affleck deserved it?
THOMAS: The sexiest man?
GAYNOR: The sexiest man?
THOMAS: I think Brad Pitt still beats him out.
O'REGAN: I think Brad Pitt does, too. He's a better actor.
GAYNOR: Is Tom Selleck still around?
THOMAS: He looks better now than he did in "Magnum".
O'REGAN: He was only like in his early-thirties in "Magnun PI". Can you believe that?
GAYNOR: Can you believe he's 73 this week?
O'REGAN: Time flies. Feeling a little older.
THOMAS: Him and Willie Nelson.
GAYNOR: Willie Nelson, 89.
THOMAS: Willie Nelson, by the way, just turned 70.
O'REGAN: Willie Nelson, seriously, just turned 70?
THOMAS: Yeah, he just turned 70.
O'REGAN: So he's younger than Tom Selleck?
THOMAS: Yeah, that's amazing, isn't it? That's why people tune into this channel, because they can learn things.
GAYNOR: Celebrity Watch, with Adam and Rob. Welcome.
O'REGAN: Taking on the weighty issues: Does Ben deserve Sexiest Man?
GAYNOR: Did you know: Christina Aguilera, 42? Nobody knew that. It's true, 42.
O'REGAN: That's amazing surgery.
GAYNOR: No, that's how many people she was -- no.
O'REGAN: Let's talk about videos and compare yourselves to other artists [overtalk] --
Did you see that saucy video that Christina Aguilera did?
THOMAS: I didn't see that. I heard it was pretty skanky.
O'REGAN: Pretty skanky, yeah.
GAYNOR: I heard she is not a polite woman, you know what I'm saying?
O'REGAN: I heard she's a little skanky.
GAYNOR: Yeah, a little "open". [laughter, overtalk]
O'REGAN: I really don't know where to go from here. Have you guys ever met Jennifer Lopez?
O'REGAN: You knew her when she was JLo or Jennifer Lopez?
GAYNOR: She's not Jennifer Lopez, just JLo.
O'REGAN: JLo, yeah.
THOMAS: She was making that record two doors down from us while we were making our record. So, literally, I'm friends with the producer. And so I would run downstairs and just check on the record, like listen to what they were doing. And at one point we needed backup singers for a song in the middle of recording. So I ran downstairs to Corey Rooney, the producer, and "I need two of your girls" and he got me these -- Pepsi O'Reilly who's a great backup singer. And they came in and sang backup on our record.
O'REGAN: Pepsi O'Reilly? What a great name.
THOMAS: Isn't it?
GAYNOR: Old man O'Reilly's kid.
O'REGAN: Once again I'm just dumbstruck with these answers. They're just so frank and revealing. [laughter, overtalk]
You have to wonder if you have to write a song to say, "I'm keeping it real, peeps".
THOMAS: But I'm going to say this. I've met her and she's really sweet. And a lot of people, like when she gets to the point that she has in the industry she has to keep ahold of her business. And so a lot of times the people that she's dealing with don't like her attitude, they don't like the way that she works, because she just wants things done the right way. And so that's nothing bad. But when I met her just on a personal level she was unbelievably sweet and nice. Not skanky.
GAYNOR: She's a good kid. Not like that girl, the other one.
O'REGAN: The other one, exactly.
How do you guys keep it real, though? Because there is a lot of
pressure on you guys. And you don't strike me as being egomaniacs. So how do you manage? You've got to manage yourselves as businessmen, you know. You've got a certain amount of pressure on you with this album and stuff, you've got "people", I've noticed.
THOMAS: Yeah, just everywhere.
GAYNOR: I wasn't really thinking of all that, and now I'm kinda frightened. It is a lot of pressure. Things were great until we just sat down and started talking. [laughter]
THOMAS: At the end of the day, like we're in a band. Do you know what I mean? It's pretty self-serving most of the time. We love it, we get to do what we love. We're not working as firefighters or teachers or policemen, you know what I mean? We're not curing cancer or brain surgery. We're just in a band. So at the end of the day, even if you're in a really successful band, you're still just in a band. So I think you just take it as it comes and you go, "Wow, I'm really fortunate. I hope it lasts as long as it can and, you know, just keep playing music." And every time we get to make another record we're like, "Oh yeah! We made it to the next record."
O'REGAN: The floor director behind me -- I'm sorry, I was slightly by your answer, Rob -- but Vern has a sign that says -- show it to 'em, Vern. "Play something, dammit."
THOMAS: Can you say "Play something" on Canadian TV?
O'REGAN: Can you play a little something?
THOMAS: I can. I brought this [guitar]. [Rob performs "Disease"]
O'REGAN: Yes! What an absolute pleasure to meet you guys.
THOMAS: Thanks, Seamus. Thanks for having us.
GAYNOR: Thanks for having us, very much.
O'REGAN: We're going to be right back here on Canada AM.