Matchbox Twenty Talks "She's So Mean", "North", and More
Mon, 30 Jul 2012 08:15:37
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On their new single "She's So Mean", Matchbox Twenty still have that uncanny knack for a hook that made them pop rock legends.
The first cut from this year's forthcoming North shimmies along with a snazzy and snappy riff and handclaps just before breaking into a big radio-conquering chorus. Plus, the track also boasts a sharp and sly sense of humor about a girl who's just not "the one" by any means. It's a fun prelude to North due out September 4, 2012.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Matchbox Twenty guitarist Paul Doucette talks "She's So Mean", North, movies, and so much more.
What's the story behind "She's So Mean"?
Kyle, Rob, and I wrote this. We wrote like 60-something songs for this record. In order to keep it flowing, we'd put up little challenges for ourselves like, "Today, let's write a song in every key". When I say "song", it was about getting a melodic structure we liked and then moving on to the next one. We'd pick the songs we liked and refine them. This one came out of a simple chord progression. We had to write an entire song over this chord progression. Everyone would come up with a section. The basic melodic structure was written in a few minutes. We were fairly drunk at the time [Laughs]. We were recording everything we were doing. We traded off singing different melodies over it. It's pretty funny to listen to, I have to say.
What's the song about lyrically?
The lyrics came with the melody. It's really about wanting something that's not good for you. We put it in the package of a guy wanting a girl who's not nice to him. The song is actually about wanting things that are bad for you, not knowing they're bad for you, and saying, "I still want it".
What's your take on North as a whole?
As a whole, it really works well together. There's not necessarily a concept. We didn't have anything like that. It has a little bit of everything we feel are our strengths. We're really devoted to songcraft, and we've always centered around that. We really like crafting songs. Some are going to be more guitar-heavy. Some are going to have weird synth parts. We let ourselves go. We have a singer with a fairly identifiable voice and that ties everything together for us. This record goes to a lot of different places, but it sounds cohesive in a great way. We're proud of it.
Each song becomes a journey in its own right.
That's what we're shooting for. We're not celebrity-driven. We like our songs, and we want them to last. What we do is write songs. We've never been the kind of band to do the same thing over and over again. "She's So Mean" is more lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek than we usually do because we haven't done that yet. Not all songs have to be serious. They can be fun. It was inherent in the melody. We couldn't write a painful lyric over that melody. It would be robbing what's cool about it.
Not enough bands have fun anymore!
I'm with you man! I want people to lighten up. We're not always happy either. The record covers the gamut of all these different feelings.
Do you cull inspiration from reading or watching movies too?
We're all readers. Rob is probably the biggest reader of all of us. We take inspiration from our lives. We're older. We're all pushing 40 at this point. Things that were interesting to us when we were 26, 27, or 28 aren't as interesting to us anymore. A lot more has happened. We have kids. People are married. You're drawing inspiration from that. You're drawing inspiration from watching your friends go through stuff and books, movies, and anything else that makes you feel inspired.
If you were to compare North to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's a good question! We're not an indie rock band. We're not chasing what's cool. Our dedication is to crafting records and songs. I'd say Forrest Gump. It's a movie for a lot of people but it has a lot of detail to it. What are you listening to right now?
I like the Father John Misty record a lot. I'm a huge Tallest Man in the World fan too.
What's your favorite song on this record?
I have a bunch of favorites for different reasons. There are songs I like because I wrote them. There's a song called "Asleep at the Wheel" which is one of Rob's. I love it. It has a great lyric.
Are you excited for North?