Match­box Twenty had an em­bar­rass­ment of cre­ative riches for their first all- new al­bum in a decade, writes James Wigney

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

Band that writes to­gether, stays to­gether.

WHEN Match­box Twenty came to­gether to make their first al­bum of all- new ma­te­rial in a decade, they soon found out you can have too much of a good thing.

With lead singer Rob Thomas re­turn­ing from a solo ca­reer that yielded two al­bums ( both Top 10 hits in Aus­tralia), gui­tarist Kyle Cook start­ing his own band and turn­ing his hand to pro­duc­ing, and drum­mer- turned- gui­tarist Paul Doucette also cre­at­ing and fronting his own out­fit and writ­ing film mu­sic, the ideas were com­ing thick and fast.

So much so that they and fourth mem­ber, bassist Brian Yale, strug­gled to sift through the avalanche of in­spi­ra­tion and find a fo­cus.

In the early years, Match­box Twenty had ef­fec­tively been a ve­hi­cle for Thomas’ song­writ­ing. Their 1996 de­but al­bum Your­self or Some­thing Like You sold more than 15 mil­lion copies world­wide thanks to hits such as Long

Day, Push and 3AM. But as the band’s ca­reer pro­gressed with the 2000 re­lease Mad Sea­son and 2002’ s More Than You Think You Are, Doucette and Cook be­gan to con­trib­ute more and more. By the time they re­leased a great­est hits col­lec­tion in 2007, the seven new songs that ac­com­pa­nied it were cred­ited to all the band mem­bers ( pic­tured).

But hav­ing so many skilled song­writ­ers proved a bless­ing and a curse when it came to writ­ing what would be­come

North, the band’s fourth al­bum, which is re­leased to­mor­row.

Rather than hav­ing Thomas bring ideas to the rest of the band to flesh out, Doucette and Cook kicked off the cre­ative process with­out their front­man, who was still tour­ing his sec­ond solo al­bum, Cradlesong.

‘‘ Kyle and I were out work­ing with other peo­ple con­stantly and bring­ing all that back into the band and de­vel­op­ing other ways of work­ing,’’ says Doucette, shar­ing a couch and lunch with Thomas at their record la­bel’s tow­er­ing New York of­fice.

‘‘[ Back then] Kyle and I weren’t as strong as writ­ers – it was never pos­si­ble. In or­der for us to get to that point, we were work­ing on our craft while Rob was off do­ing his thing.’’

The singer, a three- time Grammy- win­ner for his solo work, con­cedes at first it was weird to em­brace the col­lab­o­ra­tive re­la­tion­ship, but af­ter he learned to leave his ego at the door, he found there was an up­side to shar­ing the load.

Aus­tralia has al­ways been a happy hunt­ing ground for Match­box Twenty and Thomas and Doucette are look­ing for­ward to re­turn­ing in Oc­to­ber for a na­tional tour.

Their last dates here were among the first Doucette felt com­fort­able play­ing gui­tar, hav­ing re­cently re­lin­quished his drumming du­ties.

‘‘ We played a win­ery in the Hunter Val­ley,’’ he re­calls. ‘‘ It started rain­ing and my favourite rock mo­ment I ever had was when I went to stand on the speak­ers and I looked at my gui­tar with rain pour­ing down off it and I was think­ing, ‘ This could never hap­pen as a drum­mer’.’’

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