About Matchbox Twenty
Over the course of the ‘90s, many local music scenes were hyped as the “next Seattle”—but Orlando, Florida, was not among them. Yet the city yielded one of the biggest phenomena of the alt-rock era in Matchbox Twenty, a group that epitomized the sound of grunge growing up and mellowing out. On their 1996 debut, Yourself or Someone Like You, the band positioned themselves as the missing link between Pearl Jam and Hootie & The Blowfish, by tempering the restless angst of frontman Rob Thomas in a warm folk-rock jangle on breakout singles “Push” and “3 am.” The crossover success of those songs on both modern-rock and Adult Top 40 formats helped drive sales of the record past the 10 million mark in the U.S., and transformed Thomas into a bona fide pop star—the sort who gets hand-picked by Clive Davis to bring some contemporary cachet to a new Santana album and winds up commandeering the biggest single of the guitar god’s career, 1999’s eternal summer jam “Smooth.” Thomas’ burgeoning career as a solo artist (and songwriter for stars spanning Mick Jagger to Marc Anthony) has meant Matchbox Twenty only released four albums in their first quarter-century as a band. But even when they take a decade between records, their singular balance of grit and grace remains intact.