matchbox 20
Matchbox 20 was one of the legions of American post-grunge bands that appeared in the mid-'90s -- the only difference was, they were able to work their way toward hit status. Borrowing heavily from Pearl Jam and Live, two bands that distilled classic '70s rock through R.E.M., Matchbox 20 came across as the post-alternative version of arena rock -- powerful, blustering music that allegedly dealt with taboo issues and used abrupt dynamics, but hardly sounded alternative. After consistent touring, the group landed a hit in the summer of 1997 with "Push," a song that was often misinterpreted as condoning physical abuse in a romantic relationship. As "Push" became a Top Ten modern rock hit, Matchbox 20's debut album Yourself or Someone Like You achieved gold status, signalling how much the definition of "alternative rock" had changed in five years.

Matchbox 20 formed in the Southeastern United States in the early '90s. Rob Thomas, the group's lead singer and lyricist, was an Army brat born in Germany before his family settled in the Southeast. During high school, Thomas played in several bands and became a fixture in the local circuit. Eventually, he met bassist Brian Yale and drummer Paul Doucette, and the three spent several years drifting through local bands before deciding to form Matchbox 20. They recruited Adam Gaynor (rhythm guitar, vocals), who had previously worked at the Criteria Recording Studios in Miami, and Kyle Cook (lead guitar), a former employee of the Atlanta Institue of Music.

The band hooked up with Collective Soul producer Matt Serletic and recorded a batch of demos, which helped the band secure gigs throughout the U.S. Soon, the band signed to Lava, a subsidiary of Atlantic Records, and recorded their debut, Yourself or Someone Like You, with Serletic as producer. The album was released in October of 1996 to little attention, but Matchbox 20 continued to tour America, cultivating a fan base. They eventually landed their single "Long Day" on several influential radio stations, which paved the way for their breakthrough hit, "Push." In the spring of 1997, "Push" began climbing its way to the top of the modern rock charts, as it received heavy airplay from radio and MTV. By the summer, the single was in the modern rock Top Ten, and Yourself or Someone Like You had reached the album Top 40 and gone gold.



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