Ten Minutes With Rob Thomas
Rob Thomas is lead singer of Matchbox Twenty, whose powered songs include “3 a.m.," “Real World,” and “How Far We’ve Come.” Thomas is married to model Marisol Maldonado, who runs Sidewalk Angels Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing funds and support to grassroots groups. We caught up with Thomas right before he left Bedford for the start of an international tour to promote North, Matchbox Twenty’s latest album, released last fall.
What brought you and Marisol to Bedford?
We lived in the city for a while and we just got to this place where we didn’t want to be too far from the city, but we wanted to have a driveway and some trees. We moved to Pleasantville first. When we visited Bedford we found the house, and the area really spoke to us.
Any favorite spots in town?
I think probably our favorite restaurant in the world is Bedford Post Inn. My wife took me there last night so I could go there one last time before I hit the road.
Do you get recognized here often?
One of the things about Bedford that’s kind of great is that you can sling a rock and everybody in my area is either richer or more famous than I am. So nobody gets super excited about me walking down the street.
Are you involved in the local music scene?
I have some friends like Marc Von Em who plays locally a lot, and Matt Beck, who plays with Matchbox and my solo band. He’s from Bedford and he knows a lot of local spots. The funny thing is that when you come home for a couple of months, after being on the road for like a year, the last thing you really want to do is go see music.
North was a more collaborative album than past Matchbox albums. Why?
In the past I would write everything and the guys would be responsible for turning it into a Matchbox Twenty song. But with the ability I have now to be able to do solo records, I kind of scratch that itch pretty well. Also, over the last 17 years, Paul Doucette and Kyle Cook have become really, really good songwriters, so we took the opportunity to see what the three of us can do together. It’s a good feeling to be 17 years in and find a new way to do things. It also felt good to have the album be our first number-one record after 17 years.
The first single “She’s So Mean” is about a pretty toxic relationship. What inspired that song?
Everybody has been in that situation. For some reason really intelligent people can still continue to do things that they know are bad for them, especially when it comes to men and women. Titans of industry have been brought down by a cute waitress.
“Smooth” ruled the radio when it was released. What was that like for you?
Matchbox Twenty had just came off of our first record and we had sold like 13 million records, but it still never touched the power of being a part of that moment and that record and that song. That was Carlos’ year. He swept the Grammys and I managed to grab three with him. It was a big turning point in my life. I started to become known as Rob Thomas and not just “the guy from Matchbox Twenty.”