Speaking with ... Rob Thomas

May 2, 2003


Rob Thomas is more than you think he is. Touring to promote Matchbox Twenty's latest album, "More Than You Think You Are" (Atlantic), the band's singer took a break to talk about Santana, Enrique Iglesias and his never-ending quest to meet Kurt Vonnegut.


On the cover of Rolling Stone: I opened up Rolling Stone magazine and there was a picture of me and a caption said something like, "He's grown, and apparently the road to success leads to the deli tray." It was funny but also got to the point.

Opposites attract: I was 50 pounds heavier when I met my wife. She looked so much better than me!

Love is the drug: I had ballooned up from all the drinking and partying and I also have a slow metabolism. I work out now and that starts to be a drug in itself. Our shows are better 'cause I can last longer.

Lifestyle change: When we first toured, we'd run into each other at the tour bus at 9 a.m. with drinks still in our hands. Now we run into each other at the gym. Bands like Metallica take their babies on the road with them. That's rock 'n' roll to us.

"Smooth": It was a beautiful thing. It was one of the finer moments in my career. I wasn't supposed to sing on it. I wanted George Michael to do it, but Carlos [Santana] heard me sing it on the demo and asked, "Does he sing?" He didn't know who I was.

Doing the solo thing: The band was cool with it. They just wanted to make sure it wasn't on a Ricky Martin album. Once they heard it was with Santana, they said go ahead!

Carlos Santana: He's always been an idol of mine. In Europe, Matchbox Twenty isn't that well known. There, I'm known as "that guy from Santana."

Michelle Branch----copycat or friend: She did a great job on "Game of Love" with Santana. They wanted me to sing it first but I didn't want to.

Growing up: I spent a lot of time as a teen hitching around the Southeast. I spent a year or two sleeping on park benches and hanging out at beaches. There's a fine line between being a loser and a musician. I was riding that line.

College: Now I wish I had gone to college. I would appreciate taking a philosophy class now.

Reading, 'riting or 'rithmetic: Reading. When I was a kid, I had to read The Great Gatsby and had no idea what was going on. I read it a month ago and I'm like, "How good is that?"

Last good movie you saw?: "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." I saw the play first and it was so good I bought the CD and DVD.

Book you're recommending: I just read Stupid White Men ... and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation by Michael Moore (Regan Books, $24.95). I'm also reading Kurt Vonnegut's Jailbird (Delta, $12.95). I've read almost all his books.

Singer or songwriter: I like the idea of being an anonymous writer.

Songwriting: I wrote a song with Enrique Iglesias two days ago for his new album.

Writing a song for Enrique's girlfriend, Anna Kournikova: I don't think I could do that.

Favorite groups: This amazing Cuban group Yerba Buena, Coldplay, Tom Petty, David Gray.

Favorite group when you were 16: I listened to a lot of Indigo Girls. Ohmigod! That was so good.

Hey, Jealousy: When I sit there and listen to a gray song by someone like David Gray, I'm like, "Why the f--- didn't I write that?"