At the heart – and front – of Matchbox Twenty stands lead vocalist and primary songwriter Rob Thomas. The son of a military man, Thomas had a string of hometowns in his youth, eventually landing himself in Orlando, Florida. It was there in the Sunshine State that Thomas formed an allegiance with bassist Brian Yale and drummer Paul Doucette.
The trio tried on a number of different musical incarnations before settling into Matchbox Twenty alongside rhythm guitarist Adam Gaynor and lead guitarist Kyle Cook. Hunkering down, they banged out some demos and landed a deal with Lava Records.
In late 1996, Yourself or Someone Like You marked Matchbox Twenty's debut. Nobody really noticed. Still, the band paid their dues on the road, building a foundation one fan at a time. Before too long, a couple of singles – "Long Day" and "Push" – started to make in-roads at radio and MTV. Come Summer '97, Matchbox Twenty had themselves an honest-to-goodness hit gold record.
The juice just kept on flowing after that with “3am” which pushed the album over the platinum sales mark. Then, Rolling Stone's readers anointed them Best New Band in 1998. More singles ensued with "Real World" and "Back 2 Good," as did the tours which expanded to cover international bases such as Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
Matchbox Twenty took 1999 to focus on making a new record, though Thomas also co-wrote and guested on Santana's massive Supernatural hit, “Smooth.” The newly expanded Matchbox Twenty audience crossed over to buy Yourself or Someone Like You, as well, for sales of more than 10 million. For his trouble, Thomas was anointed BMI's Pop Songwriter of the Year in 1999 and won three Grammy Awards in 2000 for “Smooth,” including the prized Song of the Year and Record of the Year trophies.
Back in the studio, the bar was set incredibly high for a sophomore outing. Mad Season finally dropped in the spring of 2000, and sold more than four million copies thanks to the strength of singles like “Bent” and “If You're Gone.”
Matchbox Twenty follow that up two years later with the rock-oriented More Than You Think You Are featuring several successful cuts -- “Disease,” “Unwell,” and “Bright Lights.” The group toured consistently to support both collections.
After 2003's acoustic EP, the band filmed a show in Atlanta that would be released on DVD in 2004 as Show: A Night in the Life of Matchbox Twenty.
Finally, in 2005, the guys rested, except for Thomas who issued the number one solo set in Something to Be which yielded four hits in "Lonely No More," "This Is How a Heart Breaks," "Ever the Same," and "Streetcorner Symphony."
Matchbox Twenty found their way back to each other in 2007 for Exile on Mainstream, a greatest-hits collection that also included a handful of new tunes, including “How Far We've Come” and These Hard Times.” The reunited lineup saw Doucette move to rhythm guitar to replace a departed Gaynor and Ryan MacMillan join up to cover drums.