Kyle Cook admits he sometimes has self-confience issues.
The Matchbox Twenty guitarist took 43 years to release his debut solo album, “Wolves.”He was a bit fearful of releasing his own material, but this time, the circumstances were ripe.
“Unfortunately, my relationship with my wife unraveled,” Cook says. “We’re divorced now, and all these songs started emerging. They were piling up. They had some personal meaning to them. After two decades, I finally put out a solo album.”
“Wolves” explores heartbreak and healing, all to the tune of Cook’s signature guitar sound. His influences shine through—Queen (“Better This
Way”) and the late Tom Petty (“Wishing Well”).
“Wolves” allowed Cook to explore music and create songs that fit his voice.
The title track is 2 minutes, while the closer, “Silver Lining (Opus),” meshes three songs and an additional chorus to clock in at 13 minutes.
“The three songs are very personal. I’m a huge Beatles fan. I loved the back half of ‘Abbey Road,’” referring to the medley that closes the record.
“In this singles-based era, people want to put playlists together and stream
things. They’re not committed to this many minutes of music. Those songs are 15 minutes. The strings and the guitar parts connect via the keys and harmonic bits. Th at took me a while. I wanted to be ambitious toward the end of the album.”
Music has always been an important part of Cook’s life. He grew up in the tiny Frankfort, Indiana, 50 minutes northwest of Indianapolis. Concerts and
the radio shaped his future desires.
His first instrument was violin, which he started in junior high. His choice quickly switched to guitar when he heard Slash’s licks on “Appetite for Destruction.”
Through an ad in Guitar World magazine, Cook discovered the Atlanta Institute of Music. The school’s president, Nite Driscoll, took notice of Cook and referred him to producer Matt Serletic. From there, Matchbox Twenty
was born. Matchbox Twenty’s debut, “Or Someone Like You,” has sold more than 12 million copies.
Cook, who has also performed with John Waite and Mick Jagger, found his long-term marriage’s problems needed to be written about. But “Wolves” isn’t a downer. “Never Goodbye” acknowledges his ex-wife.
“Even though we’re not married anymore and we will probably see each
other very rarely, we have these two children who make us tied and bonded infinitely,” he says. “And therefore, we will never actually say goodbye to each other.”
Cook will play cuts from Matchbox Twenty and “Wolves” when he performs an afternoon show at on Saturday, April 13, at The Rhythm Room in Phoenix. He’ll put his own spin on Matchbox Twenty songs, even though they’ll still have that Cook signature sound.
“I’ve felt being technically good at an instrument or virtuosic is cool, but having people be able to hear and identify something you’re playing is more important as an artist,” Cook adds.
Kyle Cook w/Paul McDonald
The Rhythm Room, 1019 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, ticketfly.com, 4 p.m. Saturday, April 13,