Reinvigorated Matchbox Twenty back with 'Exile'
When Matchbox Twenty went in the studio to record "a couple" new songs for its greatest hits collection, "Exile on Mainstream," there were thoughts among the band that this may be the act's last project. After all, singer Rob Thomas had his solo career, as did guitarist Kyle Cook and rhythm guitarist Paul Doucette.
"We didn't know what it was going to be, to tell you the truth," said Doucette, Matchbox Twenty's onetime drummer who now plays the rhythm guitar. "We didn't know what we were walking into. We had decided, going back into it, that we would change the dynamic. We would all try writing together. We'd work with a new producer. Adam [Gaynor, guitarist] is no longer in the band. There were a lot of things that were totally up in the air walking into the writing session. I don't know if we thought it was going to be our last record, but we thought there was a distinct possibility it could be. We thought, 'All right. Let's just put out a greatest hits and add a couple songs on there and go our separate ways.' It ended up not being that. It ended up being the exact opposite."
The fruits of their labor is "Exile on Mainstream," an 11-song greatest hits collection coupled with a six-track EP of new songs. For the album, Matchbox Twenty decided to forego its longtime producer, Matt Serletic, to go with England's Steve Lillywhite (Peter Gabriel, Morrissey).
"It was more fun than it's ever been," Doucette told SoundSpike. "We talked out whatever issues we had between us as friends and as business partners. We got together and we just really liked what we were coming up with and it was coming very quickly and it was fun. It's been the best thing that's ever happened to us. It's been a huge breath of fresh air for us. We all have a newfound love for the band that we were not loving being in at the end of the last tour. We couldn't have asked for a better situation."
Now Matchbox Twenty is planning its "Exile in America" tour, which runs from Jan. 25 to March 18. The itinerary for the jaunt, which features Alanis Morissette and Mute Math as support, is listed below. Doucette said he and his bandmates--who also include bassist Brian Yale--are still discussing if solo material will be a part of the set list.
"We're at the putting-the-show-together phase, which is always fun," Doucette said. "We dream up what we're going to do and then we realize we can't afford it and then we have to scale it down. It's been a long time since we've been out on the road. We're all kind of chomping at the bit, I guess."
Doucette said there definitely will be another Matchbox Twenty album, although the band hasn't set a time frame for it. In the meantime, it's pushing "Exile on Mainstream," a title that defines Matchbox Twenty's career.
"For a long time, we would walk around with our heads down low a little bit," Doucette said. "We would get slammed for being a mainstream band. One day we just realized, 'Wow. Why are we getting down about this? We write music that people like. Why should we be offended by that? Why should anyone be offended by that?' That was pretty funny. It was our way of saying we're happy where we are. ... We really like good melodies. That's what we strive for."