Rob Thomas

Good-bye, acid; hello, fitness!

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Illustration: Rob Kelly

Matchbox Twenty named its most recent album Exile on Mainstream, but frontman Rob Thomas—who's also a successful solo artist—says he's done chafing at his uncool status. "Music is subjective; somewhere out there is somebody willing to fight for Matchbox Twenty because they love it so much, and there's someone who's like, 'That is my least favorite band ever,' and they're both right. Once you figure that out, I don't know how you could care."

Spoken like someone who just took a big bong rip. The affable singer, who lives with his wife and dogs in Westchester, phoned us from a tour stop in Florida to talk about drugs, rumors and V-Day, which is also his b-day (he turns 36).

You're a pretty big loadie, aren't you?
Yeah, I'm a pretty big pothead.

Do you smoke every day?
Pretty much. I'm not a save-the-world kind of guy. I didn't start smoking pot till I was 18. But I used to do so many drugs that the fact that I smoke pot seems so tame now. I'm not doing coke, I'm not doing acid, I'm not out there flirting. I kind of narrowed it down to getting drunk every now and then and smoking pot.

Are you high right now?
No, I'm not high right now. I don't get high until after I work out. I like to wake up and do all my stuff and have my breakfast. When I get to rehearsal, then I'll smoke.

There used to be 50 more pounds of you, but I can't find any pictures. Did you have them destroyed?
No, they're out there. They haunt me. If you can find it, watch MTV Live from the 10 Spot. We did one performance at the Hammerstein Ballroom and it's the worst. I look so bloated. It looks like all the weight is just trying to push its way out of my face—like if you poked a pin in my cheek, Jack Daniel's would come out.

Like you needed to lance your cheeks?
Exactly. It was bad news. I was just unhealthy more than I was fat. Like, if you're going to be heavy, heavy's okay. If I'm heavy because I'm enjoying life and eating, good on me, but I was a miserable drunk. I think our guitarist Paul [Doucette] is the same way: We don't remember the first couple years of our career. We started to do really well, and we started drinking. We could run into girls now and we don't remember them. They could have lived on our bus for a week and I'm like, "I'm sorry, I don't remember you."

So you could have more children out there?
No. I've had my wits about me for long enough now. I keep reading that I have a daughter, though. I've read that so many times.

You don't?
No, I have a son who lives with his mom in Boston. The thing is that my wife and I really want a daughter. Like, we've been fucking, but now we're actually trying to do something with it.

I've definitely read that you have a daughter.
I know, it's like the rumor that I had sex with Tom Cruise.

But you did that, right?
Of course. I mean, come on, it's Tom Cruise! He's top gun. It could have been me and Screech or me and some guy from The Hills, but it was me and a top movie star. That means I'm big.

Would you rather have sex with Screech or Spencer from The Hills?
I don't actually know who that is. I watch American Idol. That's my reality show. [His wife says something in the background.] Oh, and we watch America's Next Top Model.

So you're playing Madison Square Garden on Valentine's Day.
It's also my birthday. Some years it's about Valentine's Day, me taking my wife out, and some years it's about my birthday. It switches back and forth. This year it's mine.

Don't you think you should just celebrate them on different days?
Then you could have both.No, that would be too much work.

Matchbox Twenty plays Madison Square Garden Feb 14.

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