Matchbox Twenty guitarist/drummer heads ‘North’Written by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
During summer 2011, Matchbox Twenty had some work expenses: rent for a house that included a studio in Nashville, Tenn., and wine. Lots of wine.
“We would get up and we would all hang out for a little bit, do our thing, and then start working a little bit, and then we’d break for dinner, and then we’d start drinking some wine,” Paul Doucette said.
“And then we’d come back and the wine would start at night, and we’d work throughout the night, and then we’d wake up in the morning and listen to what we did. It was bad; it was pretty much junk. And then we’d do the same thing all over again.”
The Matchbox Twenty rhythm guitarist and drummer added, “We were drinking a lot of Francis Ford Coppola’s Director’s Cut.”
Seems fitting the multiplatinum rockers were downing the drink named for the innovative, influential filmmaker.
“North,” the group’s first full-length disc since 2002, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart in September. “She’s So Mean” became Matchbox Twenty’s 13th Top 10 hit.
“‘She’s So Mean’ was — we had a chord progression and we were like, ‘We have to write this entire song within this chord progression; we can’t move it; it’s just these three chords,’” Doucette recalled. “It’s literally like Rob [Thomas, singer and pianist] sang the first verse, I sang the second part, Kyle [Cook, guitarist] sang the third part off the top of our heads, and that’s kind of what stayed.”
That catchy, comical single was followed by the beautiful “Overjoyed.”
“We wrote that at Rob’s house,” Doucette said. “The word overjoyed came with the melody. Sometimes that will happen, like you’re singing total gibberish, trying to find a melody, but sometimes a word will pop out. Overjoyed popped out. And we stayed with that.
“We debated whether or not to change it or stay with it and write an unapologetic love song, and we decided to do that.”
Since the 1996 release of “Yourself Or Someone Like You,” Matchbox Twenty has been making hits: “Push,” “3 AM,” “Real World,” “If You’re Gone,” “Unwell,” “Bright Lights,” “Bent,” “Disease,” “How Far We’ve Come.”
“We have a level of what we think a good song is. And if anything, I think that we think that’s gotten more, I don’t want to say better, but like more precise of what we think a good song is,” Doucette said during a call from his Los Angeles home.
“So we’ve been trying to get to that point, and I don’t think that we ever worried that we weren’t going to be able to get there. We were definitely worried about how long it would take and if we’d still be alive by the time we got there,” he joked.
En route, Doucette, Thomas, Cook and bassist Brian Yale have taken breaks to pursue side projects. Most notably, Thomas co-wrote and sang on Santana’s 1999 Grammy-winning “Smooth” and released a couple of solo discs that included “Lonely No More,” “This Is How a Heart Breaks” and “Her Diamonds.”
“[The breaks] might be the reason why we’re still together, too, because we take a lot of time off and we go and Rob does his solo thing, Kyle and I do a lot of writing, we all have our own things that we’re doing. We also all have families, and we all have our own lives,” Doucette said.
“So when we get back together, it’s just always fun,” he said. “The great thing about it, too, is every single time we get back together, because we’re all not sitting around not doing anything, we’re all working, when we come back together, we all kind of learned new tricks that we didn’t have the last time we worked together. So we can always kind of surprise each other, which is nice.”
Matchbox Twenty will play a sold-out show at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at Stranahan Theater. Phillip Phillips will open.