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June 22, 2013

Headed 'North'

Matchbox Twenty to play the Verizon Center with Goo Goo Dolls

The first three Matchbox Twenty albums could have been titled “The Rob Thomas Show” as far as the songwriting was concerned.

Then the band took a break and Thomas went on to establish himself as a solo artist and released his 2005 solo debut, “…Something To Be.” The album reached the top of the Billboard charts and produced two hit singles, “Lonely No More” and “This Is How A Heart Breaks”; and then there was “Smooth,” the blockbuster single he co-wrote for Carlos Santana and sang on Santana’s “Supernatural” CD.

Thomas, however, wasn’t the only one honing his craft during that time period. Matchbox Twenty Paul Doucette and Kyle Cook, drummer and lead guitarist respectively, were busy with their own independent projects: Doucette working with his side band, the Break And Repair Method, and Cook with his, the New Left. The two liked having a heavier hand in the songwriting, they found.

So when Matchbox Twenty regrouped to make the 2008 album “Exile On Mainstream,” a greatest hits collection supplemented by six new songs, they insisted on being part of the writing process. After some growing pains, the arrangement worked and was carried forth onto the band’s forth album, “North.”

The band comes to the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester on Tuesday in support of the record, along with the Goo Goo Dolls and Kate Earl.

In a recent phone interview, Thomas said he was happy to open up the writing process to his band-mates, though some people questioned his ability to collaborate.

The concerns were understandable: As primary songwriter on the first three Matchbox Twenty albums, Thomas had proven himself to be one of rock’s most reliable hit makers.

Matchbox Twenty released a debut CD in 1996, “Yourself Or Someone Like You.” It produced five hit singles, including “Push,” “3 a.m.” and “Long Day.” “Mad Season,” 2000, and “More Than You Think You Are,” 2002, added another half dozen hits to the list, including “Bent,” “If You’re Gone” and “Bright Lights.”

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