Q&A: Paul Doucette of Matchbox Twenty
The first Matchbox Twenty album was released in 1996, but it was only with the band's latest release, "North," that it finally reached the coveted No. 1 spot.
The Orlando, FL-bred group -- which features lead singer Rob Thomas, drummer Paul Doucette, guitarist Kyle Cook and bassist Brian Yale -- will celebrate the feat with an October/November tour of Australia with heroes/friends INXS. A U.S. tour is expected to be announced any day. In addition to touring, lead singer Rob Thomas serves as a mentor on NBC's singing competition "The Voice," as part of Cee Lo Green's team.
"North" includes the raucous first single, "She's So Mean," a lyrical departure for the band, says drummer Paul Doucette. The track is a Top 10 favorite at Hot AC, while also ascending the Top 40 at CHR/Top 40.
"I think the reality is the last full record that we made was in 2002," Doucette said of "More Than You Think You Are." "If it didn't sound different, there would be something wrong.
"There was something nice about coming back. 'She's So Mean' has a different lyrical take in what we normally do. We kind of wanted to show that. It was sort of nice to come back. This is going to be a little different."
Doucette spoke to SoundSpike about his inner 13-year-old boy, writing an album as a band and finding Matchbox Twenty's "North."
Are you excited about your Australian tour?
Paul Doucette: Yes, very. I love going to Australia. It's become a second home for us. We've been there a lot over our career. Always great to go back. We have a lot of good friends there. We're going to be touring with INXS, who are good friends and we're excited about that.
That's amazing. I'm so jealous. It's a bummer that the tour isn't coming here.
I know, my 13-year-old self is freaking out.
When are you going to announce a U.S. tour?
Pretty soon. Pretty soon. We were just meeting last night with our booking agent about all that. Getting it all ready to go.
What was the songwriting process like for "North"?
It kind of took a bunch of different ways. We had some really big collaborative things on this with Kyle and Rob and myself writing together, which is a new experience for us writing that way. Rob and I wrote some together. Kyle and I wrote some together, then we all wrote separately. Rob wrote a bunch of songs on his own. Kyle on his own. It was a conglomerate of all the different ways that we write and make music, kind of put together into one record.
It must have been fun to mix it up.
It was. It was fun. It was irritating as well. We had to figure out what that process was. We hadn't really written a record together before. So, it took a little bit of time to figure out how we were going to do that. Then, we had to feel it was as good as what we had done in the past -- or better. I think we've made a better record than we did in the past. It's very cohesive. From a songwriting perspective, we couldn't write songs that we didn't feel were as good of songs that we had in the past. I think we did it.
Why was now the time for a new Matchbox Twenty album?
Rob did his first solo record. We did the greatest hits. We did a tour on that. Rob did his second solo record and he toured with that. It just worked out that way. We were always going to make another record. It was always in the works. This is just what happened.
How did you come up with the title "North?"
It was about the process of figuring out direction. We wrote a lot of songs for this record. The record could have gone many different directions and our process could have gone in many different directions. We had to figure out what that was. There was a definite point when we became overwhelmed by choices. We had so much material and so many different things we could do, we kind of had to pick one. There's a saying, "If you're lost find out where North is, and you can figure out where you're going." We had to figure out where our "North" was. The record is pretty much the representation of where our "North" was.
You've worked with producer Matt Serletic in the past. What is the attraction to working with the same producer on multiple albums?
We all came up together. We're all the same age. Our lives have gone in many different directions, but we've all been connected at the same time. At that point where we were trying to figure it out, we knew that Matt could come in and give us a little bit of help with. We actually brought Matt down to listen through everything, "What do we have here?" In the process of doing that, we were just like, "Why don't we make this record together?"
In listening to the record, "She's So Mean," seems to be the perfect first single. Why did you choose that one?
We listened to a lot of advice. We don't pretend to be huge authorities on what people like. All we can do is make the best record that we can make. We have the songs that we think, "Well, we think that's a single." Then we listen to what a lot of people have to say. "She's So Mean" is sort of the one that everyone was leaning toward. We like them all.
20 - Melbourne, Australia - Rod Laver Arena
25 - Canberra, Australia - AIS Arena
27 - Boondall, Australia - Brisbane Entertainment Centre
30 - Darling Harbour, Australia - Sydney Entertainment Centre
3 - Pokolbin, Australia - Hope Estate Winery
6 - Wollongong, Australia - Win Entertainment Centre
8 - Hindmarsh, Australia - Adelaide Entertainment Centre
11 - Perth, Australia - Perth Arena