To understand Matchbox 20 one needs to understand the Rule of One. It is the cornerstone of the pop music philosophy that has seen Matchbox 20 sell 15.6 million albums and 7.9 million singles in its 17 years, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Almost as resolutely unfashionable as it is successful -- not for nothing did the band name its 2007 greatest-hits set "Exile on Mainstream" -- Matchbox 20 has weathered the changes during that time thanks to the Rule of One.
Here is the Rule of One as explained by Matt Serletic, the former chairman of Virgin Records and the band's longtime producer, including on its new album, "North" (out Sept. 4): "There's one of anything on the radio that rears its head and says, 'Pay attention to me, check me out,' from a musical standpoint. I think Matchbox wants to be that one at the right time. Who would've figured Gotye would be the monster that it was? Great songs do have that power to transcend, and hopefully we put a few of those on this album."
Indeed, Matchbox 20 has had its fair share of Rule of One moments in a 15-year history on the charts, from 2000's Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper "Bent" to 2003's "Unwell," a song that snuck banjo onto pop radio at a time when hip-hop and R&B ruled the airwaves.
"When we first came out we were an alt-rock radio and a top 40 band because at that time top 40 was alt-rock," frontman