Rob Thomas is working hard these days. He's just not sure on what.
"I'm kind of thinking about everything at one time," says the matchbox twenty frontman and platinum solo artist. "I'm just writing all the time -- writing, writing, writing. But for me the writing process doesn't have anything to do with whatever my next project is. [Writing] is an ever-going thing, and then whatever my project is I'll see what I'm writing and see if it works or not."
Some are expecting that next project to be matchbox twenty's fourth album, the group's first studio set since 2002's "More Than You Think You Are" and since founding member Adam Gaynor left the band. Thomas acknowledges that "we've been talking about doing some matchbox stuff" and that "the guys in the band are writing," but he claims the quartet has not locked into any specific plans yet.
"We've been really fortunate," explains Thomas, who's also in the process of starting his own record label. "We've been around over 10 years and we've been gone now for a couple of years, so we don't have any reason to do it until we've really got something we stand behind and we love. So who the hell knows what that's going to be."
One place you can hear some new Thomas music is on "American Idol" champ Taylor Hicks self-titled debut album, which was produced by longtime matchbox and Thomas collaborator Matt Serletic and features the Thomas-penned "Dream Myself Awake." Hicks was not the intended recipient for the song, however; Thomas says he wrote it for Aerosmith, but it became available while the group was plotting out its next album and Donnie Ienner parted ways with Columbia Records.
"I'm good friends with (Sony BMG chief and 'Idol' steward) Clive Davis over the years," Thomas says, "and Clive had heard the song and literally started this campaign on me -- 'No, this is my song now. You gotta give me this song!,' and I had no other use for it. So I wound up giving it and Taylor wound up doing it. I haven't heard the finished version yet. I hear he did a good job. But I think if you listen to it you can almost hear it in that kind of 'Angel'/Aerosmith-y way."