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Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas defends open letter to radio jocks

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Rob_l

Rob_l It’s not often that you see a successful band actually acknowledge the backroom dealings that go on between radio stations and record companies. You know, the whole “your band better show us the love or see your spins go bye-bye” tactic that many mainstream formats employ. Well, Matchbox Twenty claim they’re being played like that, and they are mad as hell and they’re not gonna take it anymore!

After having to cancel an in-studio appearance on Charlotte, NC, radio station WLNK due to illness (singer Rob Thomas suffered a violent bout of food poisoning) and then hearing the afternoon jocks rant about how the band dissed them by not showing, Thomas went on the offensive, penning an open letter to The Matt and Ramona Show, calling them out for “blackmail,” disrespecting their audience, and wrongly assuming that a liner notes thank you to Matt Serletic, the band’s longtime producer, and his wife Ramona was intended for them. (Snap!)

In an open letter of their own, Matt and Ramona claim that they were well aware that the thank you was intended for Serletic and say that Thomas misinterpreted their “rant,” which was meant in jest. “No ill will here, even though we’ve been accused of blackmail (we still find his use of that word a bit humorous),” Matt and Ramona told Hollywood Insider via email. Not surprisingly, the station has decided to make the most of the “controversy” by touting a “Matchbox 20 vs. Matt & Ramona” page on its website and posting the audio clips.

So now that it’s all out in the open, how does Thomas feel about it? “Better than ever,” he said backstage at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre on Friday night. “I think they’ve offered for us to go back and apologize — off the air and maybe they’ll tape it — but Paul [Doucette, Matchbox guitarist] and I had to tell [Atlantic Records], ‘You just don’t understand. We don’t want a relationship with them now.’ It’s not like we’re trying to figure out how to make it work. Our way to make it work is, ‘Don’t play our music anymore.'”

Thomas’ main gripe is that the station’s grievances were aired, well, on the air. “These kind of things are usually done under the board,” he said. “You don’t do something [you’re booked for], the radio station will call your record company and say, ‘Listen, we’re not gonna play your records if you’re not gonna help us out.’ And I was already reworking my schedule to take a 5:30 a.m. flight one day to fit them in, but it came out on the air and they were really mean. Why would we ever go to a station that talked about us that way?”

Matt and Romana told Hollywood Insider that Thomas’ letter has

resulted in threats from Matchbox Twenty fans and boycott letters to

the station’s affiliates and advertisers, but that “we’re always

willing to talk or hug it out.” They added, “At first we thought

[Thomas] had simply been misinformed about the nature of our fun,

wise-cracking show. We tried to make it clear that we didn’t insult his

fans and even put one of his defenders on the air.”

So now that it’s all out in the open, how does Thomas feel about it? “Better than ever,” he said backstage at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre on Friday night. “I think they’ve offered for us to go back and apologize — off the air and maybe they’ll tape it — but Paul [Doucette, Matchbox guitarist] and I had to tell [Atlantic Records], ‘You just don’t understand. We don’t want a relationship with them now.’ It’s not like we’re trying to figure out how to make it work. Our way to make it work is, ‘Don’t play our music anymore.'”

Thomas’ main gripe is that the station’s grievances were aired, well, on the air. “These kind of things are usually done under the board,” he said. “You don’t do something [you’re booked for], the radio station will call your record company and say, ‘Listen, we’re not gonna play your records if you’re not gonna help us out.’ And I was already reworking my schedule to take a 5:30 a.m. flight one day to fit them in, but it came out on the air and they were really mean. Why would we ever go to a station that talked about us that way?”

Matt and Romana told Hollywood Insider that Thomas’ letter hasresulted in threats from Matchbox Twenty fans and boycott letters tothe station’s affiliates and advertisers, but that “we’re alwayswilling to talk or hug it out.” They added, “At first we thought[Thomas] had simply been misinformed about the nature of our fun,wise-cracking show. We tried to make it clear that we didn’t insult hisfans and even put one of his defenders on the air.”

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