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Rob Thomas says touring with Jewel is a "love fest"

Of the Oakland Press

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Most rock stars' wives might have some reservations letting their husbands spend a few weeks touring with singer-songwriter and occasional fashion model Jewel.

But Rob Thomas says his wife Marisol is thrilled with the arrangement.

"My wife and Jewel are, like, super-best friends," says Thomas, 34, the matchbox twenty frontman who for the past 14 months has been riding the platinum success of his first solo album, "Something to Be."

"With Jewel, everybody thinks she's so divalicious, but all she does is hang out on the ranch with Ty (Murray, her boyfriend) and all these guy cowboy friends. So she's just happy to have a girlfriend that she can talk about makeup and go shopping with."

Thomas says he's also "been having a really nice tie hanging out and (talking) after the shows. And during the shows we hang side-stage watching each other." He and Jewel also perform at least one song together each night.

"It's a little love fest over here," he reports. "It's been a lot of fun."

The tour is also providing a nice victory lap for "Something to Be," which in addition to its sales has spawned the hits "Lonely No More," "This is How a Heart Breaks" and "Ever the Same." The ride has firmly established Thomas as a solo star, which he says is surprising despite his already high profile with matchbox twenty and from singing and co-writing the Grammy-winning Santana hit "Smooth."

"When you come from a band and put out a solo album, you don't know what's going to happen," says Thomas, who plans on filming a concert DVD next month in Colorado. "It was a weird time; it could've been really well received or it could've been career suicide. I wasn't sure.

"But I've been so fortunate. I feel like all the hard work that you do pays off. It makes you excited to know you're at a place where people out there are gonna care about what you do next."

Thomas, who was born in Germany and raised in South Carolina and Florida, is planning "a nice long break" after he finishes touring in July, but he also has a plate full of future projects. He's starting his own record label and already has one artist he's going to produce, though he's being circumspect about both until the deals are "solidified." Meanwhile, he and producer Matt Serletic are writing and recording a new song, "Little Wonders," for the upcoming Disney feature "Meet the Robinsons."

It's likely that Thomas' primary focus will be matchbox twenty's fourth studio album, however. It's been four years since the group released "More Than You Think You Are," and in the interim it lost a member, guitarist Adam Gaynor. Because of that, Thomas notes, "we don't readily know where we're all at."

But he's anxious to find out.

"I think it's just gonna be about getting in the studio and drinking a bunch of beers and jamming for awhile and being a band again," he says. "I don't want to write anything for (the band) until I get together with the guys and see where our heads are at.

"I'm kind of excited to see what the dynamic is going to hold."

Rob Thomas, Jewel and Toby Lightman perform at 7 p.m. Thursday at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $49.50 pavilion, $27.50 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit

Web Site: www.palacenet.com.

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