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Matchbox 20


Robert Kelly Thomas was born on February 14, 1972 on a military base in Germany, where his father was stationed.

Rob's parents divorced when he was two years old. He lived with his grandmother who peddled marijuana and bootlegged liquor in Lake City, South Carolina. When Rob was about four years old, he would eat dog biscuits (how gross!) as a snack. He also cried when the other kids would set his toy trucks on fire.

When Rob was ten, he moved to Orlando, Florida, with his mother. His mother got cancer when he was twelve, and Rob became homeless for three years. He slept on park benches and at friends' houses, and a friend, Kay Al-Atrachktchi, taught him how to play the piano. He started a band and made due by doing gigs at parties. Rob said that he used to make up "cheesy" songs in attempt to attract girls.

Rob attended Lake Mary High School in Florida. After threatening to hitchhike to South Carolina to visit his father, a counselor gave him sixty-nine dollars for a bus ticket. Rob dropped out at seventeen. He said that he needed to take care of problems at home, but many say it was because he was constantly picked on by his peers. He was even called "the homeless guy" because he lived in a trailer park, which they didn't consider a real home.

He eventually went out and got his GED so that he could play a gig.

Rob is five feet nine inches with blue eyes and brown, curly hair (he once dyed his hair electric blue and canary yellow, however).

He became a father on July 10, 1998, the day his son, Maison Avery William Thomas, was born. The mother's name is Kerry.

Rob is engaged to be married to Marisol in October.

David Kyle Cook was born on August 29, 1975. He is originally from Frankfort, Indiana.

Kyle played the violin for five years and received his first guitar (a Yamaha Classical) on his thirteenth birthday. Kyle also attended the Atlanta Institute of Music.

Paul John Doucette was born on August 22, 1972. He is originally from North Huntindon, Pennsylvania, which lies just outside Pittsburgh.

Paul knew that he wanted to be a musician at about ten years old. His greatest influence is REM, and he also admires drummers Charlie Watts and Jim Keltner. Paul's greatest idol is Kenny Arnoff.

Paul is currently doing some writing for Matchbox 20's next album. He says, "I have a tendency to write songs about people or myself who hide things, and they're afraid to put things out there. They're afraid to tell people what they really think."

Paul hates the internet because he says it "frightens me… I do not understand its ways" (which is rather ironic seeing that there are tons of MB20 sites out there).

Paul watches Space Ghost, The Tick, and South Park too!

Brian Joseph Yale was born on November 14, 1969. He is originally from Connecticut.

Brian played the trumpet in high school and went on to receive a degree in musicology at the University of Miami.

Brian is five feet seven inches with blue eyes. He also enjoys playing golf.

Adam (no middle name) Gaynor was born on November 26, 1963.

When Adam was ten years old, he stole his sister's guitar and taught himself how to play after she kept receiving a lot of attention.

Adam is Jewish and does not smoke or drink.

He was once hit by a drunk driver while attending school in Texas (which may or may not be why he does not drink).

Adam has said that he would like to perform with Jimi Hendrix (if he wasn't dead, anyway). He also said that he would like to perform with Michael Jackson.

He is six feet two inches with brown (sometimes hazel) eyes. Adam likes to stay around 155 pounds and wears silver nail polish on his thumb and pinky fingers.

Adam loves apple juice and spaghetti. He is allergic to dogs but likes reptiles.

Eventually, Rob was introduced to Paul Doucette and Brian Yale. They formed the band Tabitha's Secret. Two other men, John Goff and Jay Stanley, were also in the band.

After a few years, Adam Gaynor was recruited from Criteria Recording Studios in Miami, and Kyle Cook got in by playing demo tapes from the band (he was attending the Atlanta Institute of Music at that time). John and Jay were not a part of this group. All they needed was a name…

One day, Paul was working as a waiter is a diner. He observed a man wearing a jersey with the number 20. On the jersey was also a patch that said "Matchbox," and "Matchbox 20" just popped into his head. Rob was not fond of the name at first, but it grew on him.

The five men quickly met up with producer Matt Serletic (the co-producer of the Collective Soul albums. Matchbox 20 soon had a deal with Lava/Atlantic.

While recording, they changed their album's name. It was originally supposed to be titled Woodshed Diaries. However, while Rob and Paul were drunk in Café Largo, a bar in LA, a girl was playing a song for "yourself or someone like you." Rob and Paul liked is so much, they called up Lava/Atlantic and changed the title.

Matchbox 20's bus driver's name is Rick. They also have a zebra on their tour bus named Willie.

The camel's name in the "Real World" video is Mary Lou.

The members of Matchbox 20 ask their fans to bring jackets, sleeping bags, socks, and shoes to concerts as a donation to the Children of the Night Foundation for homeless children. Rob says, "when I see a homeless person, I think, that could have been me but that will never be me. The homelessness I went through was so much less desperate. I had friends who looked after me."

Matchbox 20's songs are deep and meaningful. Kody was written for one of Rob's ex-girlfriend's nephews who committed suicide. The baby boy pictured on the CD liner is Kody at two years old (long before he committed suicide).

On the meaning of "Damn" Rob said, "A lot of people think this song has some big philosophical meaning, but it's really just about trying to get laid." OK, so that may not be deep and meaningful, but it's still pretty cool though.

Many people misunderstand the meaning behind Push. Rob describes it "as a song about how I was manipulated and how I handled it; how I grew to like it and got comfortable with it. I felt that was the only way that you could have a relationship was if you were being controlled or if you were being manipulated." Rob adds that the song was actually written from three points of view, including the one of the woman who it's about: "Some people get the wrong idea and think that it's about physical violence, when it's really about emotional violence."

My favorite song of Matchbox 20 is "Back 2 Good." I guess that is because it is the song relates to my feelings and me greatly. Rob has said, "This song is about fucking up so many times you start to get good at it." I guess you could say that's true for me. Matchbox 20 also got a little help on this one: Matt Serletic composed and arranged the song, Elizabeth Burkhardt played bassoon, Amy Porter played flute, Yvonne Powers played oboe, Ted Gurch played clarinet, and Douglas Smith played bass clarinet. CLICK HERE for the lyrics.

Every musician has a favorite song to perform and listen to (even non-musicians have favorite songs). Rob's favorite songs are "Kody" and "Back 2 Good," Kyle's favorite song is "Girl Like That," Paul's favorite song is "Push," and Adam's favorite songs are "Push" and "Kody."

"I would rather have someone know all the words to my songs than to see me in the grocery store, and know who I am."

"You can spit shine me all you want, but I'm still the same old piece of tin."

"The whole concept of Yourself or Someone Like You is that people are supposed to deal with their friends and their family, and their relationships in a similar way. There are similarities in everyone's emotions."

"The album is not depressing. It was meant to be a celebration of getting through, surviving, and being on the upswing of things. For me, these are happy songs."

"I'm not one of those people who suffers for his art, it's more like I'd be suffering without it. Writing songs is almost medicinal for me, it's the best therapy I can think of."

"Kyle, I would reach my hand in your pocket anytime, because I think you're a sexy man with a big guitar." (Taken from MTV's Live@10 Spot)

"I would hope it's the 'universalness' to the songs that resonate for people. It fits anybody. They're just about emotions, certain core, basic emotions that everybody shares. I don't think I'm speaking for a generation. I'm not saying anything all that complicated. I'm just rehashing my emotions."

"I would like to think everything is going so well because they like our songs, and because there's something in it that attaches themselves to them and their lives and the things that they're going through. I mean, you never know, some people like us 'cause they think we're cute. Some people like us 'cause we remind them of somebody else. You never know why, and you can't question it, you just kind of go with it, and say, 'Thanks, I'm glad it's happening.'"

On "Back 2 Good": "This song is about fucking up so many times you start to get good at it."

"I write about people who left me for good reason or no reason. It would be cathartic if I was learning from it, but I keep making the same mistakes."

On "Damn": "A lot of people think this song has some big philosophical meaning, but it's really just about trying to get laid."

"I used to do a lot of hitchhiking. I had my little keyboard with me in my backpack, I'd pull it out and sit there and work on some tunes. I'd spend a lot of time at three o'clock in the morning, sitting for hours."

"If I have to have controversy, I want to hear that it's that I fucked Courtney Love in a bathroom in a Texaco in Alabama or something like that. Something that sounds like fun. The rest of it is no good."

"Critics don't like us because there's nothing for them to latch onto and write about. No one in the band is dying from a heroin addiction. We're just out there playing."

"Don't just hear it...feel it."

"What does it take to be a superhero? I don't know, I'm just out there playing my music and enjoying the songs."

"I'd let you, but these pants have no pockets." (Taken from MTV's Live@10 Spot in response to Rob)

Unfortunately, I currently have no Brian quotes. If you have any good ones that you would like to share, send them to me at

Thank you!

"We've just believed in out music enough that we hope it embraces everyone. If we like what we're doing enough, and we're proud of what we're doing, we hope that everyone will respond in the same way. That's the key ingredient in this band."

What Adam never leaves home without: "My cosmetic bag, that would be my answer, because I have so much shit going on between oxys and hairsprays, and fuck it, I'm the biggest bitch you know."

"Do you know how we're gonna combat this faceless band theory? By making every single person in the United States love us."

On nail polish: "We just like it, like guys ten years ago were worried about wearing earrings. We think nail polish will be no big deal in the next five years, lots more men will wear it. It's fun!"

"I have a tendency to write songs about people or myself who hide things, and they're afraid to put things out there. They're afraid to tell people what they really think."

"This is the first time I've worn a skirt, it's pretty comfortable. But as a drummer, I couldn't play in it because I can't separate my legs."

"I love dressing up in drag 'cause it's kinda like my everyday."

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©Copyright King Arthur 1999


© 1999 King Arthur