By Stacy Wolford
Thursday, January 2, 2003
He grew up in the rural area of North Huntingdon Township with dreams of making it big someday in the music business.
Today, Paul Doucette is the drummer of one of the country's biggest rock bands - Matchbox Twenty.
Since its 1997 debut with "Yourself or Someone Like You," Matchbox Twenty has sold more than 21 million albums worldwide.
And with the recent release of its third album, "More Than You Think You Are," the band is gearing up to expand its musical reach and commercial success.
During a recent telephone interview from his home in Los Angeles, Doucette talked about why he feels this is the band's best work to date.
"Every time you go into the recording studio there are fears and expectations," Doucette said. "I didn't want to do a duplicate of our last record, 'Mad Season.'"
Doucette said after the success of "Mad Season" and frontman Rob Thomas' solo success for his Grammy winning collaboration on "Smooth" with Carlos Santana," working on their third effort was a challenge musically and personally.
"We're five different people, and sometimes you're not going to agree on everything," he said. "I went into this project wondering if there was anything life left for Matchbox Twenty."
As they began recording songs, Doucette he realized the creativity and sound that bolstered them to the top of the charts is still very much alive.
Proof of that are the intensely driven tracks off of "More Than You Think You Are."
Alongside a slate of new songs penned by Thomas, the set also features writing contributions from Doucette and guitarist Kyle Cook.
The first single from the new CD, "Disease," was written by Thomas, with a little help from Rolling Stones legendary singer Mick Jagger.
As with their two previous albums, the "More Than You Think You Are" sessions were helmed by the band's unofficial sixth member, producer Matt Serletic.
The Grammy Award winning Serletic took more of a hands-off approach to the recording this time around, allowing the band to find its voice and helping them to filter their ideas into a cohesive vision.
"It's been a lot more collaborative," Doucette said. "We had a lot more to bring to the table on this record. Matt was very encouraging, like, 'Go ahead, here's the reins. Take over.'"
In addition to the group efforts, the album includes "Could I Be You," written solely by Doucette.
He said the song was initially part of his solo project, but Thomas had other ideas.
"He said that it was a Matchbox Twenty song," Doucette said.
Doucette says he's proud of their work, but admits he's the most critical when it's time to critique.
"I'll be the first one to say when I don't like something," Doucette said. "Its earned me a level of respect."`
Doucette credits his desire to strive for only the best to his days growing up in North Huntingdon Township, West-moreland County.
He graduated from Norwin High School in 1990.
He's been living in Los Angeles for five years now, and loves it.
"I don't miss those cold southwestern Pennsylvania winters," he said, noting how he got snowed in at his family's home during the treacherous blizzard of 1993.
Before he ventured across the country to make it in a rock 'n roll band held jobs just like the rest of us. He worked for awhile at No. 1 Cochran in Pittsburgh as a lot attendant.
"I really liked growing up where I did," Doucette said. "It's good to be raised in a blue collar work ethic."
Stacy Wolford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (724) 684-2640.