Matchbox Guitarist on Frontman

Rob can have the limelight

By Eri Akbar

GRUNGE looks, a husky voice and a Grammy award for Smooth - a collaboration with Santana.

It's no wonder everybody wants a piece of Rob Thomas - vocalist of popular American band Matchbox Twenty.

And his bandmates - Paul Doucette on drums, Adam Gaynor, Brian Yale and Kyle Cook on guitars - are happy to let him bask in the limelight.

Except that sometimes they also pity him.

Guitarist Cook said: 'He's always under the radar. Fans will converge to him at the airport.

'It's exciting but it can also be gruelling. He has to bear the brunt.'

One year after Matchbox was formed in 1996, the group has sold over 10 million copies of its debut album, Yourself or Someone Else Like You, which produced the hits Push and 3am.

Armed with a new album, More Than You Think You Are, the band was in town to perform at the MTV Asia Awards last night.

Cook admitted it wasn't hard to feel overshadowed by the band's charismatic frontman.

'He's got a Grammy and I don't. But in the same token, he's a friend and a fantastic songwriter. I'm proud of him.'

But it's not as if there aren't any quarrels.

Drummer Doucette had even threatened to quit at one point.

Cook recalled: 'He threw his drum sticks and stormed off. But he came back 20 minutes later.'

Cook, who co-wrote Feel and Soul on the band's latest album, feels he hasn't had enough opportunities to write his own songs. So he wants to take two years off from Matchbox and dedicate time to New Left, a band he formed with a few college-mates.