Matchbox Twenty Rise Again

For a band as popular as Matchbox Twenty, with millions of album sales to their credit, they sure do take their sweet ass time to make new records. Not that this is a bad thing.

In today’s world of some musicians releasing everything that they possibly can in efforts to keep their profile up, Matchbox Twenty instead prefer to work at their own pace and let things unfold rather naturally.

With the exception of a half-dozen new songs featured on 2007’s Exile On Mainstream retrospective, North features the first new music from these multi-platinum superstars in ten years. Ten!

A couple of weeks back, I had the opportunity to snag some phone time with Matchbox Twenty guitarist Kyle Cook. The chatty, friendly Cook happily told The MusicNerd Chronicles why the hell it took the band so long to make a new record.

Some bands these days are releasing a new record every 12 to 18 months. You guys have taken that to the extreme making North the first full-length new record from the band in ten years. What gives?!

Cook: It’s hard to believe when we look back on it. In some ways, we are the most reclusive band in pop-rock history but not intentionally so. Of course, we have kept busy, just not in the context of Matchbox Twenty. Both Paul and I pursued side projects, Rob made a couple of solo records. On top of all that though, we really take our time to put our albums together.  

I can only imagine how many songs that must have piled up in the course of the last ten years. How many did the band enter the studio with?

Cook: We had fragments of probably 60 songs. Not totally completed songs but bits and pieces here and there. Each of us had to take the time to listen to all these little fragments and see what each of us had enough substance to look at flushing out those ideas further.

Was there any concern among the band members that the significant time between studio records would somehow work against you? It’s not as though people’s attention spans are getting any longer these days.

Cook: We are very fortunate that our fans have stuck with us. There are so many other bands that were huge at the same time Matchbox Twenty became popular that haven’t survived. We have often asked ourselves why we are still here and able to make music for a living.

Do you feel it is safe to say that Matchbox Twenty value quality as opposed to quantity when it comes to releasing new music?

Cook: We’ve been together for 15 years and yet we only have four studio albums to our credit. Plenty of bands subscribe to the mentality that because you wrote it, it has to be released. I think bands have to find a way to be objective with their own material and take the time to look back on it and be proud of what they have done at the end of the day.

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