matchbox twenty Breaks From 'Exile' With New Tunes

After a long hiatus to allow frontman Rob Thomas to release his first solo album, "Something To Be," the members of matchbox twenty have completed a month's worth of sessions in Los Angeles to record

After a long hiatus to allow frontman Rob Thomas to release his first solo album, "Something To Be," the members of matchbox twenty have completed a month's worth of sessions in Los Angeles to record new songs for an upcoming retrospective.

Thomas tells Billboard.com that "Exile on Mainstream," due Oct. 2 via Atlantic, could include as many as six new cuts produced by Steve Lillywhite, plus 11 prior hits. Among the new tunes are the upbeat first single "How Far We've Come," "I'll Believe You When..." ("It's like our Pretenders song," he says of the latter), the '50s-leaning "Can't Let You Go" and "These Hard Times."

"This is different than any record we've made, and different than my solo record," says Thomas, who had never collaborated on the songwriting with his bandmates. "We got together for a week at my house and we all had song ideas, but they didn't sound like what we wanted to play together. Between that vibe and working with Steve, it's a much more raw, energetic, live-sounding record than we've done in the past."

In another twist, Paul Doucette, who had previously been the band's drummer, is now playing rhythm guitar as a replacement for Adam Gaynor, who left matchbox in 2005. "Over the last two or three years, he started playing more guitar and keyboard," Thomas says. "One day, he just said, listen, I'd rather not play drums anymore. He's actually a better guitar player than our old guitar player was."

Thomas, who just launched a new record label with Epic and released a documentary about the experience of recording solo, says matchbox twenty will return to the road beginning in January. "We'll do some one-offs before then, like TV shows," he reports. "We're also playing an Andre Agassi charity event in Las Vegas."

Next summer, Thomas will begin work on his second solo disc, and says he hopes matchbox will be back in the studio in 2009 to record a new album.