Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Apr 9th 2010 10:30AM by David Chiu
At the TimesCenter in New York City in front of a large audience, Thomas talked frankly about his life as well as his musical career with Times culture reporter Melena Ryzik. Among the topics were his early start in music and his songwriting, specifically on Carlos Santana's smash hit 'Smooth.'
"Up until that time [Matchbox Twenty] sold 10 or 12 million records," Thomas said. "What that did for me in my career had no bearing at all compared to what that one song did. That one song put everything into high gear. A lot of it had to do with the fact that I was finally perceived as a songwriter and not just a guy who was in a band. I've never been a part of anything like that with all the hits that we had. This was a big deal. It has afforded me a friendship with someone like Carlos."
During the event, Thomas said that his songwriting comes to him from difficult times in his life, including from arguments with his spouse. "I'm lucky to have a wife that knows that [if] we have a really good fight, it's gonna be on a song," he said. "These songs are our diaries as much as they are my diary. We can listen to a song, 'You Won't Be Mine,' and [we 'll] remember that night when we had that fight in SoHo. By the time I finished the song, I forgot what we were fighting about. We're fond of those moments -- they're cathartic for both of us in many ways."
He also revealed the stories behind some of his songs and performed excerpts of them on his guitar. For example, the track 'Rest Stop,' from the Matchbox Twenty album 'Mad Season,' was inspired from an experience he had as a teenager.
"At the time I was 17 years old and I was hitchhiking around in Daytona for spring break," he recalled, "and I wound up living in a hotel room with three girls. I thought I was going to date [one of those girls] and we had a really big romance for a weekend. Somewhere along the way, while I was sleeping in the car, she pulled over, woke me up and said, 'This isn't working.' The thing that struck me was that she dropped me off right by a sign that said 'Rest Stop, three miles.' She could have taken me to the [rest stop]!"
There was a point in his career when he smoked marijuana to help him in his songwriting, Thomas revealed. "It became a real crutch," he said. "It became like I needed to smoke pot to write songs. Now I find myself in a place where I want to be as clear as I possibly can. I'm writing a lot better and I'm writing often. I'm being more productive than I ever have been."
Thomas also announced that he is currently working on some new songs for an upcoming Matchbox Twenty album and hopes to get into the studio to record them later in the fall.