Matchbox Twenty (originally spelled officially as Matchbox 20 aka MB20) is a rock band formed in Orlando, Florida. Matchbox Twenty has sold over 45 million albums worldwide from the releases of Yourself or Someone Like You, Mad Season, and More Than You Think You Are. They released their latest album, Exile on Mainstream, on October 2, 2007. The current members of the band are Rob Thomas, Paul Doucette, Brian Yale, and Kyle Cook. Rhythm guitarist Adam Gaynor left the band in 2005, after performing on their first three studio albums. Rob Thomas is the principal songwriter and lead singer. Rob Thomas has created a well-established solo career for himself after releasing the album, ?Something to Be and its follow-up album, Cradlesong.
The Phonographic Performance Company of Australia announced that ?How Far We've Come? was the most played recording in Australia in 2008. The PPCA also announced that Matchbox Twenty was the third most played artist in 2008.
Rob Thomas, Brian Yale, Jenny Taylia and Paul Doucette performed in the band Tabitha's Secret which originated in Orlando, Florida, with fellow members John Stanley and John Goff, before splitting to start a new band (what was to become Matchbox Twenty). After recruiting the talents of Adam Gaynor from Criteria Recording Studios in Miami and Kyle Cook from the Atlanta Institute of Music, the lineup was complete and ready to begin. The Southern states were a virtual hotbed of rock talent in the mid nineties with bands like Better Than Ezra, Deadeye Dick,The Willem McCormick Band, and Cowboy Mouth. Being in this geographical location helped Matchbox 20 score a recording contract with Atlantic Records.
Yourself or Someone Like You (1997-2000)
Main article: Yourself or Someone Like You
Matchbox Twenty released their debut album, Yourself or Someone Like You, in 1996. While their first single, "Long Day", was a rock radio-only smash, the album soon spun off several Top 40 hit singles throughout 1997 and 1998, including "Push", "3 A.M.", "Real World", and "Back 2 Good". "Push" and "3 A.M." did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 due to the rule in effect prior to 1998 that required a song to be released as a single in order to appear on the Hot 100. The songs were released as album only tracks and most likely would have been Hot 100 chart toppers had the rule not been in effect. "Real World" and "Back 2 Good" proved to be the band's first entries into the Billboard Hot 100 after the rule was terminated. The album eventually went on to sell over 12 million copies in the U.S. alone, earning diamond status. That same year, Matchbox Twenty recorded a live version of their Top-40 hit "3 A.M." for release on the charity album Live in the X Lounge, benefiting autism research.
Before recording their second album, Rob Thomas collaborated with Itaal Shur on a song called "Smooth" for Carlos Santana's comeback album, Supernatural. The song had a pop-tinged Latin beat and became an outlet for Thomas' lyrical talents. Thomas was supposed to act as a mere songwriter on "Smooth", but Carlos Santana had him sing on it after hearing the song's demo. "Smooth" was the album's lead single and became a hit in 1999; Thomas earned four Grammys for writing and performing on "Smooth", Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Vocal Performance, Male, and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
Mad Season (2000-2002)
Main article: Mad Season (album)
In 2000, Matchbox 20 renamed themselves Matchbox Twenty and released their second album, Mad Season. The album featured lush instrumental arrangements, and spun off several hit singles, including "Bent" (which went to #1 on the Hot 100) and "If You're Gone". The video for "Bent" poked fun of singer Thomas' heightened profile from "Smooth" by showing the other band members assaulting him mercilessly. The evocatively arranged ballad "If You're Gone" became a big hit, especially on adult contemporary formats. The band's next two singles, "Mad Season" and "Last Beautiful Girl" were not as successful.
More Than You Think You Are and band hiatus (2002-2007)
Main article: More Than You Think You Are
For their third album, More Than You Think You Are, the band returned to a harder rock sound. Thomas shared the songwriting efforts with the other band members on several songs. The album contained hit singles "Disease written with Mick Jagger - Rolling Stones]", "Unwell", and "Bright Lights". Although it was not as commercially successful as the band's two earlier efforts and received mixed reveiws, it had an enormous radio presence for well over a year.
In 2003 the band released a small album including only six songs, EP. The album had never before released live and acoustic versions of former songs like "Push" and "If You're Gone", and also a new track, "Suffer Me". The albums were mostly intended as a special little treat for the fans and to get popular versions of songs available.
In May 2004, the band released a live concert DVD, Show: A Night in the Life of Matchbox Twenty, filmed in Atlanta and featuring 20 songs, including all of their hit singles.
In February 2005, rhythm guitarist Gaynor officially left the group, which had been on hiatus to allow other members to pursue side projects. Rob Thomas went on to release a solo album, ?Something to Be, which became the U.S. Billboard 200 #1 album the first week of its release. The album featured four hit singles: "Lonely No More", "This Is How a Heart Breaks", "Ever the Same", and "Streetcorner Symphony".
In January 2007, Rob Thomas released a single, "Little Wonders", which he wrote for the Disney movie Meet the Robinsons.
Exile on Mainstream and the future (2007-present)
Main article: Exile on Mainstream
The group returned to the music scene in 2007, with the release of their 'retrospective' album Exile on Mainstream on October 2, 2007. "How Far We've Come" was the first single off the new album, which was followed by the second single, "These Hard Times". "Exile on Mainstream" includes four other new songs and a complete collection of all eleven of their previously released singles. The album was also released in the new MVI (Music Video Interactive) format, which includes two video interviews discussing the six new songs and eleven greatest hits, plus extras including a retrospective photo gallery, U-MYX (to remix "How Far We've Come"), buddy icons, wallpapers, and more. "How Far We've Come" was released on the band's MySpace page in July, with the video released on September 6, 2007.
Matchbox Twenty toured in early 2008 with special guest Alanis Morissette and opener Mute Math. The band began their US tour on January 25, 2008, in Hollywood, FL, and concluded in Las Vegas, NV, on March 18, 2008 before heading to Australia and New Zealand, where Australian band Thirsty Merc was the supporting act, for the month of April. Following Australia, Matchbox Twenty visited the UK for the first time in five years to play six concerts in Cardiff, Wembley, Birmingham, Glasgow, and Manchester (which gets the benefit of two shows). Support was provided by Nottingham band, Headway. Matchbox Twenty performed at the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup award ceremony.
When the band finished touring later in 2008, Rob Thomas began work and his second solo album, titled Cradlesong. He commented to Billboard that he expected that the other members of the band might begin work on Matchbox Twenty's next album without him.
Rob Thomas - lead vocals, piano, guitar (1995-present)
Kyle Cook - lead guitar, vocals, banjo(1995-present)
Paul Doucette - rhythm guitar, vocals (2007-present); drums, percussion, vocals (1995-2007)
Brian Yale - bass guitar (1995-present)
Ryan MacMillan - drums, percussion (2007-present)
Matt Beck - rhythm guitar, keyboards, mandolin (live performances; 1999-present)
Adam Gaynor - rhythm guitar, vocals (1995-2005)