Music News- Multi-platinum, four-time GRAMMY-nominated band Goo Goo Dolls have released The Audience is That Way (The Rest of The Show) Vol. 2 via Warner Bros. Records, a brand new 10 track live album recorded across the band’s recent tours. The record marks the second volume of a two-part compilation series and was preceded by the companion live album The Audience is This Way , which arrived on July 21, 2018. Each release contains 10 different never-before-heard recordings of some of their most iconic hits. The Audience is That Way (The Rest of The Show) Vol. 2 arrives just in time for Black Friday and is also available on all digital streaming platforms and via the band’s website HERE . The band is currently in the studio working on their 12th studio album.

The Audience is That Way (The Rest of The Show) Vol.2 was recorded by John Schimke, and was produced and mixed by lead singer John Rzeznik, Chris Szczech and Brad Fernquist. Boasting transcendent songs such as “Black Balloon”, “Name” and “Here Is Gone”, the album visits territory from the band’s full discography and captures their dynamic live presence that continues to stun sold-out audiences worldwide.

Earlier this month, the band announced that they will be embarking on a massive 2019 summer co-headlining tour with Grammy-winning, multi-platinum selling band Train. The tour will feature special guest Allen Stone and hit over 39 stops across North America, kicking off on June 7th, 2019 at White River Amphitheater in Auburn, WA. View their full tour itinerary below.

Goo Goo Dolls recently wrapped a successful tour in celebration of the 20 th Anniversary of their acclaimed album, Dizzy Up the Girl. At each show, the band performed the record in it’s entirety along with an additional set of surprises and other hits from their repertoire.

The Audience is That Way (The Rest of the Show) Vol. 2 Tracklisting-

Side One:

  1. Stay With You (Live)
  2. Here Is Gone (Live)
  3. Naked (Live)
  4. Name (Live)
  5. Black Balloon (Live)

Side Two:

  1. Over And Over (Live)
  2. Bringing On The Light (Live)
  3. Come To Me (Live)
  4. Let Love In (Live)
  5. Boxes (Live)


Goo Goo Dolls 2019 TOUR ITINERARY*

June 7th – Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheater
June 8th – Ridgefield, WA @ Sunlight Supply Amphitheater
June 9th – Airway Heights, WA @ Northern Quest Casino & Resort
June 11th – Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl
June 12th – Phoenix, AZ @ AK-CHIN Pavilion
June 14th – Chula Vista, CA @ North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
June 15th – Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
June 16th – Irvine, CA @ FivePoint Amphitheater
June 18th – West Valley City, UT @ USANA Amphitheatre
June 20th – Denver, CO @ Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
June 21st – Kansas City, MO @ Starlight Theatre
June 22nd – Maryland Heights, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
June 23rd – Southhaven, MS @ BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove
June 25th – Council Bluffs, IA @ Harrah’s Council Bluffs – Stir Cove
June 26th – Rogers, AR @ Walmart AMP
June 28th – Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
June 29th – Dallas, TX @ Dos Equis Pavilion
July 6th – West Palm Beach, FL @ Coral Sky Amphitheatre
July 7th – Tampa, FL @ MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
July 9th – Jacksonville, FL @ Daily’s Place
July 10th – Alpharetta, GA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater at Encore Park
July 12th – Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion
July 13th – Raleigh, NC @ Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek Amphitheater
July 14th – Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach
July 16th – Nashville, TN @ Ascend Amphitheater
July 18th – Walker, MN @ Moondance Jam
July 20th – Tinley Park, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater
July 21st – Noblesville, IN @ Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
July 23rd – Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
July 24th – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
July 26th – Saratoga Springs, NY @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center
July 27th – Bethel, NY @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
July 28th – Gilford, NH @ Meadowbrook Music Pavilion
July 30th – Bangor, ME @ Darling’s Waterfront Park Pavilion
August 1st – Scranton, PA @ Pavilion at Montage Mountain
August 2nd – Canandaigua, NY @ Constellation Brands Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
August 3rd – Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
August 6th – Bethlehem, PA @ Musikfest
August 7th – Burgettstown, PA @ KeyBank Pavilion
August 9th – Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion
August 10th – Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion
August 11th – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
August 14th – Cuyahoga Falls, OH @ Blossom Music Center
August 16th – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
August 17th – Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center

* Co-headline with Train

Goo Goo Dolls get sentimental on ‘Dizzy Up the Girl’ show at Palladium

Some albums can take you back to a very specific time and place in your life. For me, one of those albums is 1998’s Dizzy Up the Girl from the Goo Goo Dolls. That album turned 20 years old this year. Naturally, when they announced a tour to celebrate it, I had to be there.

I remember going to the mall with my grandma and buying that CD when it came out. I had two older brothers, and my grandma’s house had only two TVs. So I basically never got to choose what to watch. Usually, in cases I didn’t wanna watch what my brothers picked, I would go to my room and listen to music. I must have listened to Dizzy Up the Girl at least 1,000 times in that bedroom.

It’s an album I hadn’t really revisited much in recent years. I haven’t really followed the Goo Goo Dolls much the last decade or so. The last album of theirs I really connected with was 2002’s Gutterflower. Find me a song that brings a smile to your face the way “Big Machine” does for me.

Showing up at the Hollywood Palladium, it was awesome to see it packed. It was definitely an older crowd, probably a mid-thirties average age. It was great to see the excitement on people’s faces. One guy in particular was wigging out over hearing “All Eyes On Me”. He said he had never seen the band play it in the half-dozen times or so he’d seen them.

When they took the stage to the guitar riff for the album-opening song “Dizzy”, the eight-year-old version of myself squealed with joy. A few of the people in music I was at the show with waited around for the hits “Black Balloon” and “Iris” — obviously, they overlooked how strong an album it is. “Slide” was a mega hit when it dropped as one of the singles. Its guitar melody is reminiscent of sentimental ’90s rock like Gin Blossoms, Better Than Ezra and the like — the kind of music that doesn’t get its just due on alt-rock radio these days. John Rzeznik and Co. sure know how to write a fucking hook.

Considering I hadn’t really listened to the album in years, I still knew all the words. The song “Broadway” was always a favorite. These guys might be 20 years older, but the band sounds as tight as they did in 1998. Rzeznik’s voice has held up wonderfully.

“Black Balloon” was a clear crowd favorite. It’s crazy to think this song about heroin was such a pop radio favorite but I realize this was around the time Third Eye Blind had songs about crystal meth in commercials for The Tigger Movie.

One thing to note about this 20th anniversary — only Rzeznik and bassist and fellow songwriter Robby Takac remain from the lineup that put out the record. The rest of this band at this point are just touring members. They were able to play the songs up to the expectations of the crowd. Takac sang lead vocals on four songs on Dizzy Up The Girl. I mostly skipped those songs when I listened to them as a kid, but they grew on me.

“All Eyes On Me” was a deep cut that didn’t get its due respect when the album dropped because it had so many successful singles. Rzeznik’s voice as he slides into the chorus is powerful.

As expected, “Iris” was a massive sing-along, with couples slow-dancing to the tune that shook Rzeznik out of a bad case of writer’s block. I remember it being on the City of Angels soundtrack (one of the greatest ’90s soundtracks ever), paving the way to Dizzy Up the Girl selling more than four million copies.

My favorite deep cut was always the album-closing “Hate This Place”. It has a brilliant chorus, with Rzeznik shouting “Hold on, dream away / You’re my sweet charade”. I used to play that song over and over again listening to it.

It was a whirlwind of emotions listening to that album play front-to-back. It helped me time travel to a simpler time, for sure. The band left the stage, and Rzeznik returned for a gimmicky set of three songs where he had a video screen of himself. The video screen version played “Better Days” on guitar with the real-life version singing vocals. Then the video version sang on “Can’t Let It Go”.

The rest of the band returned to the stage with “Name” being a highlight. That was the song that broke them big off 1995’s A Boy Named Goo (also what first made me aware of them). They closed with an encore of “Big Machine” — only fitting that they ended things with another massive singalong.

If you ever get a chance to see a band perform an album in its entirety that played a big part in your youth, do it. As was the case with the Goo Goo Dolls, most bands only take these kinds of victory laps if they’re going to put the effort into doing it right. I ended up walking out with a vinyl copy of the record — one of few albums I’ve bought at a show this year.

Words by Mark Ortega
Photos by Betsy Martinez


Goo Goo Dolls get sentimental on ‘Dizzy Up the Girl’ show at Palladium

Goo Goo Dolls Are Coming to Dallas to Celebrate 20 Years of Dizzy Up the Girl

It’s been 20 years since the Goo Goo Dolls released Dizzy Up the Girl, an album that cemented them in the mainstream. Founders Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takac remain active with touring and recording, but this fall, they’ve decided to play the songs from that album across the country.

Rzeznik says it’s hard to remember when and where the band played during the original tour for the album. Considering how much upheaval had happened in the band prior to their commercial breakthrough in the mid-’90s (including their original drummer leaving the band), they weren’t sure where they were going.

“It’s a bit of a blur,” Rzeznik says via phone. “We were sort of enjoying what we considered was going to be a very temporary situation.”

The band had been known in the underground with a sound frequently associated with Hüsker Dü and the Replacements. Their fourth album, Superstar Car Wash, received attention from college radio stations and Sunday night specialty shows. The follow-up, A Boy Named Goo, had a big hit with the somber acoustic-driven tune “Name.”

Going into recording the next album was daunting, as Rzeznik battled writer’s block. He wrote all the time, but he thought what he had was crap. The block went away when he finished a song called “Iris,” which became an enormous crossover hit on radio and MTV and was in a then-hit movie called City of Angels.

But making the album wasn’t easy. With new drummer Mike Malinin, along with studio musicians like keyboardist Benmont Tench (an original member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), percussionist Luis Conte and Tommy Keene (a huge influence on Rzeznik’s songwriting) contributing to the recording, the album sessions were a much bigger deal for Rzeznik and Takac.

“It took a village to make that record,” Rzeznik says with a laugh.

Before the album came out, Rzeznik himself said the songs contained some of the darkest material they had ever done. With lines about parental abandonment and a young man waiting in a bar for his time to die, the tunes attached to them were catchy as hell. And the songs “Slide,” “Broadway” and “Black Balloon” were all hits.

The appeal of the band was so widespread during this time that they reworked “Slide” as “Pride” and performed it with Elmo on Sesame Street.

“I can’t wait to show that to my daughter,” Rzeznik says. “My daughter’s going to be 3 years old in December. I’ll wait until she’s just old enough to go, ‘That’s you?’”

Rzeznik’s present and future are much clearer compared with 20 years ago. He still writes from the perspective of what he wants to say, not what a producer or a record mogul thinks he should say.

“When I start thinking about what the single’s going to be, then, I don’t know, I get weird feelings about it,” he says. “I kinda go, ‘Put that away for now.’ You really have to be selfish when you’re writing.”

The story of the band is about how, when things seemed like they were about to fall apart, something kept the band going. That was true in November 2014, when Rzeznik considered walking away from the band for good. They had parted ways with Malinin earlier in the year, and Rzeznik went to rehab for three months.

“I was terrified of my shadow and everything else in the in world because I needed acceptance and validation from the outside,” he says. “How was I going to keep these people happy? What was I going to do to keep making these people happy? I wasn’t being honest with myself. So that’s where the theory of being kind of selfish when you’re writing songs came from.”

He’s come to accept what he was when he was younger, and what he had to do.

“We were encouraged to behave badly,” Rzeznik says. “You gotta grow up and stuff.”

The band looks forward to their next album, but are happy to do this anniversary tour.

“I’m a busy boy, and I like it that way,” Rzeznik says. “I’m already writing the music for another album that will be out next year.”

Goo Goo Dolls launch ‘DUTG’ anniversary tour with sold-out show in Phoenix

The Goo Goo Dolls kicked off a tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of their biggest-selling album, “Dizzy Up the Girl,” at the Van Buren Sunday with a sold-out show that started with them playing that entire album with the cover art projected on the screen behind them.

They came back for a second set of 13 songs that started with John Rzeznik interacting with a video projection of himself and playing three songs accompanied by that projection.

The Dolls were clearly into the nostalgic possibilities of celebrating the songs that made it possible for them to still play sold-out shows two decades down the road from that quadruple-platinum triumph.

And it showed in the enthusiasm Rzeznik and the other Goo Goo Doll who’s been on board from the beginning, bassist Robby Takac, brought to the proceedings.

He and Takac launched the Goo Goo Dolls in 1986, 12 years before the album they were there to celebrate.

“It is amazing that our relationship has lasted longer than most marriages,” Rzeznik said after leading the crowd in a spirited singalong on “Slide,” the second second song on “Dizzy Up the Girl.”

And he didn’t just mean him and Takac. He meant him and Takac and the fans who made a meaningful enough connection with those early records to keep coming back for more.

You could hear that in the singalongs.

By now, the Dolls have played the four hit singles from the album – “Iris,” “Slide,” “Black Balloon” and “Broadway” – more than 1,000 times each.

But there were other songs they hadn’t played live since the early 2000s (“Bullet Proof,” Amigone,” “Full Forever” and the album-closing “Hate This Place”).

They even had to relearn one song that they hadn’t touched since the recording session — “Extra Pale,” which sounded great.

After “Black Balloon,” Rzeznik told the crowd, “This is our first night on this tour, so if we (expletive) something up, just please understand. If you come see us in a week, we’ll be way better.”

The Dolls are touring as a five-piece with second guitarist Brad Fernquist, keyboardist Jim McGorman and drummer Craig MacIntyre rounding out the lineup.

Together, they managed the delicate balance of bringing the music to life in a way that was true to the sound of record while still tearing it up like a live rock-and-roll band.
The Goo Goo Dolls perform in Phoenix at The Van Buren for their Dizzy Up the Girl tour launch, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018.

Rzeznik’s solos, in particular, were electrifying, especially on “All Eyes On Me” “Hate This Place.”

He did most of the talking. He even cleared up who the woman on the album cover is.

“Everybody asks us about her,” Rzeznik said, going on to explain that she was the photographer’s assistant. “She was just lying on the bed because she was tired,” he said, “and they took a picture.”

He also recalled the making of the record.
The Goo Goo Dolls perform in Phoenix at The Van Buren for their Dizzy Up the Girl tour launch, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018.

“It was sort of the first time that we could make a real record,” he said, “with real producers and cocaine if we wanted. It was very exciting. But when I found out how much the cocaine cost, I was like ‘(Expletive) that. no way. Let’s just get a bottle of vodka.'”

It’s a very special album for Rzeznik, one that marked an important transition “from being a naive kid to being a naive adult and just trying to not get completely cynical along the way.”

He had to learn how to survive, Rzeznik said, in a world where all of the sudden, everybody treats you differently because you’ve had a big hit record.

“And you haven’t really changed,” he said, “but the people around you do.”

So he circled the wagons, he said, and the Goo Goo Dolls became more insular.

“I think that’s part of the reason we managed to stick it out for the last 20 years,” he said.

Then as Takac walked over, he added, to rousing applause, “I came into this with him. I guess I’ll go out of it with him. Because at this point, it’s like 80-year-old people getting divorced. Why?”

The second set off to a surreal, ridiculously entertaining start with “Better Days,” “Can’t Let It Go” and “Two Days in February,” performed by Rzeznik and that video projection of himself.

Then the other Goo Goo Dolls returned to rock their way through “Fallin’ Down,” “Lucky Star” and “Stop the World” from 1993’s on-the-verge-of-making-it “Superstar Car Wash” album. (It’s not too late to come back with a 25th anniversary tour on that one, guys).

“Name,” their breakthrough single from “A Boy Named Goo,” touched off a massive singalong, of course.
The Goo Goo Dolls perform in Phoenix at The Van Buren for their Dizzy Up the Girl tour launch, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018.

Then, after dusting off two relatively recent songs, “Think About Me” and “Notbroken,” they went back to the old-school, bringing the set to a raucous conclusion with “Another Second Time Around” and “There You Are” (from 1990’s “Hold Me Up”).

The encore started with a funky “Big Machine” and they signed off with a great choice, an anthemic “Flat Top” from “A Boy Named Goo” that climaxed with Rzeznik tearing it up on lead guitar over a classic garage-rock rave-up ending.

Set 1 setlist




“January Friend”

“Black Balloon”

“Bullet Proof”


“All Eyes On Me”

“Full Forever”

“Acoustic #3”


“Extra Pale”

“Hate This Place”
Set 2

“Better Days”

“Can’t Let It Go”

“Two Days in February”

“Fallin’ Down”

“Lucky Star”

“Stop the World”


“Think About Me”


“Another Second Time Around”

“There You Are”

“Big Machine”

“Flat Top”

**Hit Link for some awesome photos**

Goo Goo Dolls’ Johnny Rzeznik Reflects on Unexpected ‘Iris’ Success and ‘Drunken Brawl’ Tour with Sugar Ray

As Rzeznik prepares to hit the road for a Goo Goo Dolls anniversary tour, he looks back at the record that changed everything for the band.

This week, the Goo Goo Dolls will do something they’ve never done before: play their hit 1998 album “Dizzy Up the Girl” in full on stage.

Yep, to mark “Dizzy’s” 20th anniversary, the band is hitting the road for a a tour where they’ll play all 13 tracks from the album, some of them for the first time ever. And what an album it was. Not only did “Dizzy” include the supernova of a hit “Iris,” but also incredibly popular singles “Slide,” “Broadway” and “Black Balloon.”

Speaking with TooFab about the tour, frontman Johnny Rzeznik said he was inspired by Cheap Trick, who played one of their first four albums in their entirety at four different shows in Chicago in 1998. After presenting the idea to Live Nation as just a handful of shows, the promoter suggested an all out tour, which kicks off Sunday night in Phoenix, Arizona.

“I think 20 years later I’m a little more proficient on my instruments,” Rzeznik told TooFab. “So, it may lack some of the naiveté of the original, but I’ll do my best.”

While they’ve played the bigger hits from the album in recent years, the now-52-year-old rocker admits that “there’s songs on that album that we’ve never performed … and there’s definitely a reason why we didn’t perform them, I think.”

He said the tour is for the band’s “hardcore fan base,” and will also include “obscure old material, from when we were a quote-unquote ‘punk rock’ band,” going as far back as their fourth record, “Hold Me Up.”

Though the guys had their first hit with “Name” off of “A Boy Named Goo,” it wasn’t until “Dizzy” — their sixth album — that the band really broke through.

“When that album came out it was, you know, we weren’t kids anymore,” Rzeznik said of their evolving sound. “The first two records were all balls and no-brains. I developed more than one feeling. It was nice to get to express that. It was scary too, people were used to seeing a much more quote-unquote — I love using smart quotes — ‘punk show.'”

“I started writing songs that I felt like reflected who I was and where I was at, at that time,” he continued.

Their career totally changed when Rzeznik wrote a song for a little Meg Ryan/Nicolas Cage film called “City of Angels,” their insanely successful “Iris.” While the song was written for the movie and on the film’s soundtrack, Rzeznik put it on “Dizzy” as well, because he really didn’t think anyone would hear it otherwise.

“They accepted it for the soundtrack, and I was like, ‘Ok, good, I’m putting it on my record too,'” he explained. “I didn’t expect that song to be a hit, because of where we were in the lineup on that album. Peter Gabriel, Alanis Morissette, U2 were on it. And it’s like, who was going to listen to us when you have all of those people on there? We were the dark horse in that race and that’s arguably the biggest song of our career.”

Rzeznik said the song’s success “definitely changed the course” of the band’s trajectory and it’s a song he’ll never tire being asked about.

“I’m grateful every time somebody comes to see me to play that song, or every time I hear it in the supermarket or in an elevator, or on the radio, or on XM; I’m really grateful for it,” he said. “I change the channel, but I always pause for a second and go, ‘You could be working in a supermarket right now.’ Never, ever get sick of that. As long as somebody wants to hear me sing it, I will, because it gave me a life.”

When asked whether a particular fan encounter about the song stuck out, Rzeznik had one ready to go, too. “The one guy I remember is a guy working at Home Depot and I came in there and I was looking for something and he recognized me. He said ‘That’s mine and my girl’s song,’ and then he said to me, ‘Do you know how much you got me laid?’ and I was like, ‘Well I hope it was enough!'”

“I’m just grateful and if I’m not grateful, then I’m a jerk,” he added.

In the 20 years since “Dizzy” was released, the music industry has become a totally different place than it was in 1998. Nobody buys physical albums, sales have dropped dramatically and touring is where all the money comes from these days. Rzeznik sees the streaming age as both a blessing and a curse.

“One thing I love about it is, on a level, with the internet, cyberspace and all that it has democratized what people get to hear,” he said. “On the other level, on the other side of that coin, it’s more difficult to get paid, which I think is being worked out but it’s not as though I’m going to get a retroactive check.”

“I think the interesting thing that’s going on now, a lot of people are just doing it for the love of it,” he added. “Not for the money, because it’s incredibly hard to make money now.”

Another thing that’s changed over the years: their after-concert routine. When the band hit the road with this album two decades ago, they did it alongside Fastball and Sugar Ray, who really knew how to party.

“I’m going to put this on the record and I’m gonna say this as best as possible, because it’s meant in the best possible sense of the word, ok?” Rzeznik explained. “Never in my life have I met bigger rockstars than Sugar Ray. They lived it, they lived it to the hilt. They were also the nicest guys, just really unaffected, but they were like, ‘F–k it, we’re doing everything.'”

“I was allowed to go along for the ride a couple of times and that was plenty for me, but man, that was the most fun I’d ever had,” he said. “When we talk about it, we call it the drunken brawl, which it kind of was. It was a drunken brawl that went around the world. It was so much fun.”

“20 years later, I think after-show is going to be a little bit quieter, we’re all gonna call home, you know, get sleep,” he added. “But it’s going to be fun. I’m really looking forward to it.”

The Dizzy Up The Girl 20th Anniversary Tour kicks off September 30 in Phoenix, Arizona — for info on tickets visit!

Goo Goo Dolls Add a Third Night in Buffalo to the #dizzy20 Tour!

Due to overwhelming demand, Goo Goo Dolls have added a third hometown performance in Buffalo for their Dizzy Up the Girl 20th Anniversary Tour! Shows at Shea’s are sold out for 10/19 & 10/20, but tickets for 10/21 go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. As per “We’ve just added a third night in Buffalo on our Tour on Sun Oct 21! Fan Club pre-sale begins Tue 9/25 @ 10am ET – Thurs 9/27 @ 10pm ET. Public on-sale is this Fri 9/28 @ 10am ET at .”

Stereogum; Goo Goo Dolls/John Rzeznik Dizzy Up The Girl Interview

You don’t have to have been alive in 1998 to instantly recognize that jangly mandolin, swelling strings, and those crisp acoustic chords. The Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris,” a single written for the late-’90s Nic Cage-Meg Ryan cryfest City Of Angels, continues its ubiquity, even 20 years after it first dominated the airwaves. Turn on any soft-rock station, hit the grocery store, or visit a dentist’s office — you might just hear lead singer John Rzeznik’s gravelly croon.

And if it’s not “Iris,” it could be one of a string of other Clinton-era classics, many of which show up on the Buffalo group’s sixth, breakout record, Dizzy Up The Girl, which turns 20 years old tomorrow. Rzeznik, who has faithfully put out album after album since the band’s inception in 1986 (their 11th effort, Boxes, came out in 2016), has nothing but profound appreciation for the music that made him and his Dolls partner, bassist Robby Takac, famous. Not only is he more than happy to play songs like “Black Balloon,” “Slide,” and “Broadway” (among others) as many times as audiences want to hear them, but he’s still positive that every show he plays is going to be his last.

“A lot people don’t remember that Robby and I put out five records before that record came out,” Rzeznik tells me, referencing the band’s earlier, edgier material, like 1989’s Jed and 1993’s Superstar Car Wash. “[So] I’m convinced every time I walk out on stage [that] this is the last dollar I’m ever going to make. So I’d better do it right.”

“The good part about being a pessimist is, when something bad happens, you’re never really devastated by it,” he continues. “And when something good happens, it’s such a bonus.”

Contrary to his fatalistic outlook, Rzeznik will hit the road again, and soon, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Dizzy Up The Girl. The band will play the album in full at a series of North American concerts beginning 9/30. But first Rzeznik chatted with me to reminisce about Dizzy; feeling awkward around Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, and Bruce Springsteen; playing the MTV Beach House; and why he never expected to start a family or even live past 50.

STEREOGUM: Tell me about the live album, The Audience Is This Way, you released this summer.

JOHN RZEZNIK: We recorded 100 shows, then we had to go dig through all of them and find the best ones or eliminate the worst ones. Then we kind of put it together. It was over the course of a few years. So it’s interesting to hear some of the audiences are really big and some of them are small. That was something that the record company wanted us to do. We’re going to put it out just on vinyl. It goes back; all of our tours go back. We always play new music, but you know you have to play all the hits. I always think that’s really sort of an insult to the audience if you don’t play them the songs that they know.

STEREOGUM: It seems like you have an especially good relationship with your hits from the ’90s and early ’00s.

RZEZNIK: Yeah. My god, a lot of people actually liked a few songs I wrote. I mean that’s pretty amazing.

STEREOGUM: You and the band are preparing to go on tour for the 20th anniversary of Dizzy Up The Girl. But the Goo Goo Dolls were putting out records for a decade prior to that. What do you think about when you look back at 30 years of Goo Goo Dolls?

RZEZNIK: “Holy shit, I’m old” is the first thing I think of. It’s like, my god, I’ve never done anything else in my life. I’ve been in this band longer than I haven’t been in this band. It’s pretty crazy to think about that.

STEREOGUM: What keeps you invested in it?

RZEZNIK: You know what, it still feels good to do. It still feels right and people still want to come see us. It would be silly not to do it, you know? It beats working for a living.

STEREOGUM: That’s the dream, when your work never really feels like work.

RZEZNIK: Yeah, my job is really pretty awesome, actually. I mean it’s getting a little more difficult at times; it tries my patience a little bit more because I just want to be where my daughter is. She’s so much fun, man, and I don’t get to see her all the time. We FaceTime every day. It’s sweet but it’s kind of heartbreaking at the same time. This kid is so cool. It’s so strange to be talking about that. I mean, I never would have thought about that 20 years ago when this record came out.

STEREOGUM: At what point did you start thinking about kids?

RZEZNIK: I didn’t think about start having kids until like I was 48, 49 years old. I was just sort of like, “Why do I want this?” I mean, I spent 10, maybe like 12 or 13 years being completely soused all the time. I was a very selfish alcoholic/addict kind of guy just kind of doing my thing and I had no room in my life for anything or anybody except my music and my drinking. After I got cleaned up and stayed that way for a while, it just sort of naturally fell into place.

STEREOGUM: I was going back and reading some interviews you did around the time that Dizzy Up the Girl came out.

RZEZNIK: I can’t imagine what kind of bullshit came out of my mouth.

STEREOGUM: A lot of it was pretty introspective. In a 1999 interview for Teen People, you were talking about your upbringing and your dad and getting out of Buffalo. You talked about how you found music as a late teen and how it saved you from being drunk all of the time and how you never wanted to end up like your father.

RZEZNIK: Yeah, and being like everyone I grew up with. I mean my mother always wanted us to be individuals. She always instilled that into our brains which was incredibly painful for an adolescent to deal with. But I mean I started life as the odd guy out because I was the only boy in my family. My dad wasn’t around a lot so it was like from day one I got carried in the door and I wasn’t like anybody else. It put this kind of distance between me and them. I’m close to my sisters but I would never be as close as they would be with each other.

STEREOGUM: But then in more recent interviews, you’ve talked about the fact that you still spent a lot of years not being sober.

RZEZNIK: There was a point in time where I really believed that I was supposed to die like my father, which is basically prematurely and very drunk. I thought my destiny was to drink myself to death. I didn’t think I would live past 50 because he didn’t live past 50. It took me a long time. I was sober three years by the time I said, “I’m not my father. I don’t have to live his life.”

STEREOGUM: It’s interesting that you would think that even when your life became so radically different from your father’s.

RZEZNIK: My life was nothing like my father’s. But that was one of the main reasons that two of my sisters and I never thought that we would have kids. I think a lot of it had to do with the chaotic upbringing that we had. [But] you know, I met the right person.

STEREOGUM: It’s remarkable that you and Robby Takac have been playing together, and truly remained friends, for this long. I think that’s a rarity in the music world. Egos tend to get in the way.

RZEZNIK: Yeah, it’s pretty rare. Robby and I, we definitely had a lot of fights. Everybody had to learn how to respect each other’s boundaries and just not get into any of this peripheral bullshit rock star behavior with each other. It’s like, you hear about all these bands that are huge and they have to walk in separate doors, they can’t talk to each other, they’ve got to fly on different planes. It’s like, I understand we all need a break from each other, but I’m actually glad to see [him]. I still have breakfast with Robby every morning when we’re working or on tour. He and I get together and discuss what’s going on and have some coffee and hang out. It’s a good thing.

STEREOGUM: I thought that video you and Robby produced to announce the Dizzy Up The Girl anniversary tour, where you’re poking fun at yourselves and “Iris,” was pretty funny.

RZEZNIK: Yeah. You know, you have to. I don’t think it was tongue-in-cheek enough. I watched it and I went, “Uh I hope nobody will take this seriously.”

STEREOGUM: I hope no one DOES take it seriously.

RZEZNIK: It was definitely meant as a joke. Neither of us are actors. It was fun doing it. You’ve got to take the piss out of yourself.

STEREOGUM: It was endearing. Speaking of “Iris,” it’s a bit of an understatement to say that it was played a lot on the radio upon release, and years later. Did there ever come a point where you just couldn’t listen to it anymore?

RZEZNIK: No, no, no. Honest to god. I never once got sick of playing that song. People used to come up to me all the time and go, “I love that song man but I’m really sick of hearing it every two minutes.” I had to think to myself, I mean I was just trying to be modest with myself or whatever, but I’m grateful that something like that song came into my life. That song really literally changed my life and it certainly was a part of a lot of other people’s lives. To experience a gift like that is pretty amazing.

STEREOGUM: When all of this was going down, when Dizzy Up The Girl really hit it big, was there ever a point where you looked back and you were like, “Jesus, I can’t believe this happened?”

RZEZNIK: Yeah, it was pretty crazy. Like, standing in a room with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts having a conversation with them like normal people and then thinking about it and going, “Wow, that was weird.”

Robby and I used to say to each other, “This is a really nice neighborhood we’re strolling through but let’s not get used to it because we’re musicians. We’re not celebrities. We’re musicians.” Eventually the shine wears off of you and you have to go back to work. If I wanted to be a celebrity, I wouldn’t have been a musician.

I’m grateful that the success we had came later because I’m sure either him or me would’ve died, because it was really heavy. A lot of parts that [came with fame] were very disingenuous. For example, I didn’t get any better looking, but all the girls that wanted to hang out with me got better looking. All of a sudden all these girls wanted to talk to me that never wanted to talk to me before. It’s like, okay, I’ll roll with it for a little while.

STEREOGUM: It’s funny you say that — I was watching this video earlier today of you guys playing at the MTV Beach House in 1999. Was that weird at the time? I mean, I know how odd I feel as a 31-year-old walking into Urban Outfitters. Was that at all weird just being in your early 30s and playing to just a giant crowd of 19-year-olds who are triple-kissing each other or whatever?

RZEZNIK: Yeah, a little bit, but you know there are worse things I could do with my life. I don’t think anybody really paid attention to the fact that we were 10 years older than them. Whenever I got involved in those situations, I would go in, I would sit on the bus or in the dressing room or wherever I was and then I would get called to do my bit and we would get out of there as fast as possible.

STEREOGUM: At the risk of being mobbed or something?

RZEZNIK: No. Just at the risk of, I don’t know, getting sucked into a weird scene. It was about sort of sensing the weird superficiality of the whole thing and being like, “Yeah, I’m here and I’m happy that I get to be here but like these are not my friends.” I still got the same friends I had from 30 years ago; they’re still my friends.

STEREOGUM: Well that’s kind fascinating that you can keep that mindset.

RZEZNIK: [Laughs] Well, I didn’t say we kept it 100% of the time.

STEREOGUM: Ha. So when “Iris” came out, did other studios come knocking down your door to write songs for their films?

RZEZNIK: A few. The director for City Of Angels, we sort of had a disagreement. I did two songs for a Disney movie which was probably the most incredible experience in my life, getting to work with all these people from Disney. They have a way that they work. When you go work for Disney, they give you a little book and you read this little book and it kind of tells you, “This is the way we do things” and you adhere to that set of rules or suggestions. It’s really fun. I was so blown away that a couple of hundred people could work together so closely for such a long period of time and really support each other and support the project to make it a success. I got caught up in that, “Come on, team. We’re going to be great!”

STEREOGUM: One other thing I always loved about Dizzy is that there’s so much orchestration. That’s what keeps those songs feeling classic to me. Whose decision was it to add string arrangements?

RZEZNIK: I had a producer that wanted to use strings and I finally had enough money to hire the string players.

STEREOGUM: Well, there you go. Here’s something else I always wondered. In the song “Slide,” you sing to a person named “May.” Who is “May”?

RZEZNIK: No one. Just a name that came out of my mouth in the studio.

STEREOGUM: Ah. You sing that name with such affection.

RZEZNIK: Thank you very much. I appreciate that. That song is very much East Side Story kind of thing. When I say East Side Story, I just mean I grew up on the east side of Buffalo. That was a not-so-apocryphal tale about some hard choices and dealing with a very rigid culture with a lot of demands put on the people who are part of that community, whether it was religious pressure, family pressure. It was really interesting to me to examine all those things.

STEREOGUM: Did you grow up with that sort of conservationism?

RZEZNIK: Everybody was a democrat where we grew up. It was a blue-collar town and the democrats represented the working class and the unions. But very, very super-conservative Catholic, very proud immigrant community, very stoic.

I remember meeting one of my father’s old friends after I had done a long interview and I mentioned some stuff about my family. I remembered him taking me aside and saying, “Listen, you don’t talk about your family like that in public. You don’t say nothing.”

I just sort of laughed about it because it was just like, yeah, it was so old school, that’s how it worked there. You keep that in the family and you don’t talk to anybody about it because you can’t lose your pride.

STEREOGUM: Well speaking of leaving home, you’ve done so much touring in your 30 years as a band. Looking at all of the acts you’ve hit the road with — the bubblegum-pop bands of the late ’90s and early ’00s, more radio-“alternative” groups, like Collective Soul, and even some legacy acts like Sheryl Crow and Bon Jovi — who stands out to you the most, if anyone?

RZEZNIK: I actually had a conversation with Bruce Springsteen and he said, “Hi, welcome to the family” because we were doing this show. I said, “Hi” and I shook his hand and I said, “I have no idea what to say to you.” He kind of laughed about it and walked away. I was like, “Well there you go Rzeznik, you missed your chance.”

STEREOGUM: He probably gets that a lot.

RZEZNIK: That guy’s a force of nature. I don’t know what that guy eats for breakfast, but I want some.

Anchorage Press: From Sex Maggot to Goo Goo Dolls

It is almost impossible to mention the Goo Goo Dolls and immediately think of their 1998 chart topping hit “Iris” – yet, to define them by one song is to miss the heart of what makes the Goo Goo Dolls such an epic band. Of course, the added imagery of a fallen angel played by Nicholas Cage who forsakes his heavenly ordained purpose to experience love with a fragile human played by Meg Ryan, makes it hard to separate the Goo Goo Dolls from the movie “City of Angels” but it’s worth the effort.

Originally formed under the moniker Sex Maggot in 1985, the band has largely maintained their original members for 33 years which is virtually unheard of. The band switched to their more palatable name on an eve of a gig after the concert promoter refused to put Sex Maggot on his marquee. As legend has it, John Rzeznik haphazardly threw out the suggestion “Goo Goo Dolls” after spotting an ad for a goo-goo doll in a True Detective magazine. At the time the band thought it would be a farcical poke at the post-punk era that the band found themselves in. The joke backfired when the band quickly accumulated too many fans to change the name back. It was the first of two changes that eventually catapulted the band to success.

After releasing their first three albums to relative static from fans, the Goo Goo Dolls switched then back-up singer Rzeznik to frontman for their fourth album ‘Superstar Carwash’ in 1993. Two years later, the Goo Goo Dolls had their first commercial success with the single “Name” from the album ‘A Boy Named Goo’. The album is widely considered one of the most successful alternative albums of the mid-90s and garnered the band’s record label, Metal Blade, their first double-platinum status. Unfortunately for the band, the album was pulled from Walmart shelves in what became a he-said-she-said argument about the album’s cover art. While Walmart maintained that the album was pulled due to low-sales, Metal Blade asserted that it was an overreaction to isolated complaints that the cover art was offensive. The art in question is of a naked child covered in blackberry juice which reportedly looked like blood to some.

Despite the controversy, the Goo Goo Dolls continued to press on and in 1998 they released the highly anticipated album ‘Dizzy Up the Girl’ which featured four U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles – ‘Iris’, ‘Slide’, ‘Black Balloon’ and ‘Broadway’. Incidentally, the album is also one of their most eclectic. The pop hits are balanced with post-punk songs like “Bullet Proof” and “All Eyes on Me”. Then the album takes a detour and offers a nod to their 1990 acoustic gem “Two Days in February”. Although ‘Dizzy Up the Girl’ may be the band’s most commercially successful album, it is also the album that seems furthest from the punk roots that their early fans loved. In many ways, it is an album defined by commercialism rather than musical vision.

By 2002, the Goo Goo Dolls had shaken off the pressures of creating music for the masses and the result was the enjoyable alt-rock sounds of ‘Gutterflower’. The album is largely performed in minor chords that are expertly paired with lyrics about longing and heartbreak, making it the perfect response to the sex-laden hip hop songs that were dominating the radio waves. Fans rewarded the effort garnering the album Gold status and a number four spot in the Billboard 200.

The Goo Goo Dolls continued their success in 2007 when they set a record for most Top-10 Hits in adult-rock history with their 12th chart-topper, “Let Love In,” the title track of their 2006 album. Once again, the album contained the heavy riffs and melancholic lyrics that exemplify the best of the band.

With that said, their most recent release, ‘Boxes’ is a far-cry from their punk-rock roots and is filled with a staggering number of poppy anthems. However, there is an earnestness and ease with which the songs are written that seems to flow naturally with the band’s evolution – not to mention the state of our nation. Songs like “Souls in the Machine” and “Long Way Home” center around fighting the good fight together. All in all, the album is a message of hope during a bleak socio-political environment.

Bottom line, with a career that spans three decades and includes 14 Top-10 hits, 11 multi-Platinum albums and arguably one of the most diverse musical catalogues out there, the Goo Goo Dolls are a band whose live performances you won’t want to miss.

The Goo Goo Dolls will be performing a collection of their biggest hits and songs from ‘Boxes’ as part of their 20th Anniversary of ‘Dizzy Up the Girl’ tour at the Alaska State Fair on Friday, August 24 at 7pm. Tickets are $40 – $55 at