The Spectrum – The Goo Goo Dolls’ Robby Takac on 20th anniversary of ‘Dizzy Up The Girl’

Bassist discusses seminal album and upcoming Shea’s show

By Brian Evans

Robby Takac sees excitement at home in Buffalo.

The Goo Goo Dolls, Takac’s band, are set to embark on an anniversary tour in support of “Dizzy Up the Girl.” The 1998 record is responsible for hits like “Slide” and “Black Balloon,” and projected the Goo Goo Dolls to the forefront of the mainstream. The album set the stage for a multitude of hit singles and albums throughout the ‘00s, cementing the Goo Goo Dolls as a fan favorite across the country.

But the Goo Goo Dolls always come home.

Ahead of a two night stand at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, The Spectrum spoke with founding member and bassist Robby Takac to discuss “Dizzy Up the Girl” and the current tour.

Q: Longevity has blessed the Goo Goo Dolls. In an era driven by rock reformations and nostalgia acts, what’s been the secret behind keeping both the band as a unit and the creative aspect going?

A: There’s a lot of bands that kind of got discouraged or something along the way or just lost their muse, and 25 years later decided it was a good idea to get back together again and go out and make some money. I don’t think this has ever been like that really. For us, it’s about how we get to the next day… what’s the next thing that’s in store. We never really went away. We’ve certainly experienced peaks and valleys in popularity, but I think we’ve maintained. I don’t know if there’s a secret other than [the] want to make it happen and see it happen. John and I have been driven most of our adult lives to see this thing through, and that’s what we’re doing here today… when we were kids we were out of our heads. We had a lot of issues and a lot of different directions that made the probability that this was going to be around 30 years later not that great. We were lucky enough to be able to overcome some of those [issues], and wind our way through some legal woes and personal things that are put in front of you while you’re trying to move forward with something. We’ve been able to navigate our way through some of that stuff and make some music that people want to hear which is f—–g awesome.

Q: Twenty years after ‘Dizzy Up The Girl,’ what, if anything, has changed most about the band? Was the success a surprise with that record?

A: We had already been through “A Boy Named Goo,” which was a distinctly different chapter in an already tenured career… it seems odd to call what we were doing back then a career but I guess in retrospect that’s what it was part of. I think when “A Boy Named Goo” came out, we kind of got a taste of all that stuff. No one expected that record to do as well as it did, or “Name” to do as well as it did. By that point, we were still kind of learning how to make records and how to write songs. We started with some friends in Buffalo and they were kind of putting us on the right track. For the first seven or eight years, none of us listened to anybody about anything … We felt just like “we know better than everyone.” John and I were just talking about this the other day. The first few producers we brought in, all we did was shut down the entire time because we thought we knew better for our band. We started to let go of that a bit with Lou Giordano when we started making “A Boy Named Goo.” We started giving him a little bit more. By the time we were done with that experience, I think we were ready to make “Dizzy Up The Girl.” It was time for us to make that record because we had learned all of these lessons up to that point. Rob Cavallo came in and essentially jumped in the band. I recall him having a guitar on for a lot of the rehearsals. We worked a lot on the songs and it was a very different experience for us. Then of course our world exploded with “Iris” before “Dizzy Up The Girl” even came out. So we eased into it — we really eased into what we were doing.

Q: Tracks like “January Friend” bring a harder and more brash sound to the band, which even crosses over to your vocals. Is there a diverse mix of influences that you bring to each song that differs from Johnny?

A: I think part of it is you’re inspired by the things that inspire you. I think the things I know and the places I go are a little bit different than John. John has really become a songwriter’s songwriter if you will. I still sort of feel like I’m just a guy bashing out songs. You find your place and be the best you can in that place, and that’s sort of what I feel like.

Q: The Goo Goo Dolls shut down Niagara Square some years ago for the “Live in Buffalo” record. With the upcoming shows at Shea’s, what in your opinion is so special about playing at home? What attitude do you strive to bring to each performance?

A: We always try to do something awesome at home. Our first record release party was on the second floor porch of an apartment I had on the corner of Bird and Elmwood. We just set our gear up and played. The traffic stopped and the police came, it was an event, man. Our drummer ended up being arrested. That was in 1987. From that moment we were always like ‘Wow, man, these Buffalo shows have got to be awesome.’ We always try to do something fun and cool in Buffalo because Buffalo has always been awesome to us. So booking two nights in a row at the swankiest place in town –– Shea’s –– that’s pretty awesome for a bunch of bums like us. We’re pretty excited about it. Playing the whole ‘Dizzy’ record, we’ve never ever tried anything like this before… the whole rest of the set is not the stuff that people are going to expect. This is a much different show than what we’ve been bringing around for the last 20 years. This change in format kind of gave us this license to step outside of the comfort zone that we know people like to be in with us… with this new format coming out, the entire first set is the ‘Dizzy Up The Girl’ record. Then we take a break and we do a second set. I would say 80 percent is songs we haven’t played in 10 years and it’s really going to be fun. Hopefully we don’t get food whipped at us.

Q: Your charity work with “Music is Art” celebrated its 16th anniversary just last week. What is the driving factor behind your work in Western New York? What do you hope to give back above all?

A: I want my kid to grow up in a town that is just bursting with creativity and I know Buffalo has that. I just want to do my best to add to that. “Music is Art” is most certainly not making that happen but we want to help. To get all of those creative people in one place — so many of those people, say a quarter [of them]- are participants. People who are in bands and are artists and dancers, all of these people intermingling with each other can only be good. All of these bands – hip hop bands and polka bands and death metal bands — can only be good… put them together and let’s see what happens. That’s what I love about Music is Art. Just kind of hypercharge for a day and bring attention to that community. I can’t wait until next year.

Brian Evans is the senior arts editor and can be reached at and @BrianEvansSpec.


The lotteries for Meet & Greets for the last six shows on the #Dizzy20 tour are now open!

These shows are:

11/3 Seattle
11/4 Portland
11/6 San Francisco
11/8 San Diego
11/9 Los Angeles
11/10 Las Vegas

Click the link to enter and good luck! Remember – One entry per person per show. Lottery closes at noon, EST on September 30th. Must be 18 to enter. Meet and Greet does not include show ticket. You MUST have a show ticket to attend the Meet and Greet. Meet and Greet is for one person only & ID must match winning name.



John Rzeznik, the lead singer and guitarist of the Goo Goo Dolls, chatted with Digital Journal about their 20th anniversary tour of their seminal album “Dizzy Up the Girl.”

“It amazes me that it has been that long,” he said, about Dizzy Up the Girl celebrating its 20-year anniversary. “It’s interesting to go back to it and to re-learn the songs, and get into the guts of the songs. It is taking me back to where my head was at that time. It is bringing back a lot of memories.”

From that landmark album, Rzeznik selected “Hate This Place” as the song that he enjoys playing the best.

Dizzy Up the Girl features their signature song “Iris,” and a very memorable performance of that song for Rzeznik took place on July 4, 2004, when they performed it in their hometown, Buffalo, New York. “Most of the music equipment got destroyed, I need to be honest,” he said, referring to the downpour. “We got lucky, and just enough of it was left.”

When asked what motivates him each day, Rzeznik responded, “I still love what I do, which is great. I still feel potential in what I am creating, and what I create with other people. My daughter also motivates me. I have lived a pretty blessed life.”

Rzeznik described fatherhood as “fun, yet terrifying.” “I had to learn not to drop f-bombs every five seconds,” he said. “It forces you to become the person you should have been all along.”

On Monday, October 15, they will be performing at the iconic Beacon Theatre in New York City. “The Beacon is a great place,” Rzeznik said. “We are doing the album front to back, and the second half of the show will be the deeper cuts from some of the records. We will go as back as Hold Me Up and play a few songs from there. It should be fun. This whole event was put together for the hardcore fans.”

Rzeznik continued, “The Beacon Theatre speaks for itself. It is so full of ghosts that it really makes every show there special. I always love playing there.”

If he weren’t a musician, his alternate career choice would have been a schoolteacher during the day and a bartender at night.

Rzeznik defined the word success as “Getting to do what I want to do for a living, without screwing anybody over in the process.”

On the impact of technology on the music business, Rzeznik said, “Technology poses an interesting problem. Some of it will get sorted out with the passage of The Music Modernization Act. There’s a certain democratization to the whole thing of having the Internet. Then, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle, and just say ‘you got the music for free for so long and now you have to pay for it.’ Right now, it is a singles-driven world.”

In his daily routine as a musician, Rzeznik records his song ideas in Voice Memos, and he does all his demos on his laptop. “There is no way around that. It is very convenient,” he said. “Obviously, I use a lot of software for synthesizers and keyboards.”

Rzeznik described the resurgence of vinyl as “pretty cool.” “I never appreciated vinyl until I listened to it again,” he said. “As a kid, I was always pretty bad with my records. I didn’t save them, and I never put them away. Looking back, it really does sound different. Vinyl has a special sound.”

For his fans, Rzeznik concluded about the 20th anniversary tour, “Come on out. If you knew that record when it came out, come and celebrate the whole thing with us. If you didn’t know that record, and you are a fan of the band from the later material, come out and check out what we were doing.”

Dizzy Up the Girl is available on iTunes.
To learn more about the Goo Goo Dolls and their tour dates, check out their official website.


The lotteries for 11 SHOWS are now open.  The shows are:

17 Oct Boston, MA              HOB
19 Oct Buffalo, NY              Shea’s PAC
20 Oct Buffalo, NY              Shea’s PAC
21 Oct Toronto, CAN.          Rebel Complex
23 Oct Detroit, MI                The Fillmore
24 Oct Grd Rapids, MI        20 Monroe Live
26 Oct Chicago, IL              The Chicago Theater
27 Oct Mpls, MN                 State Theater
28 Oct Kansas City, MO     Uptown Theater
20 Oct Denver, CO .           Paramount
1   Nov Salt Lake City, UT  The Depo

Click the link to enter and good luck! Remember – One entry per person per show. Lottery closes at noon, EST on September 23rd. Must be 18 to enter. Meet and Greet does not include show ticket. You MUST have a show ticket to attend the Meet and Greet. Meet and Greet is for one person only & ID must match winning name.

Meet & Greet Lotteries for Philly, DC, New York, & New Jersey Goo Goo Dolls Shows Now Open!

If you’re going to the Goo Goo Dolls shows in Philadelphia, DC, New York, or New Jersey, Meet & Greet lotteries are now open! Click the link below to enter and good luck! Remember – One entry per person per show. Lottery closes at noon, EST on September 16th. Must be 18 to enter. Meet and Greet does not include show ticket. You MUST have a show ticket to attend the Meet and Greet. Meet and Greet is for one person only & ID must match winning name.

New Goo Goo Dolls Show in Portland, OR on November 4!

The Goo Goo Dolls have added another date to their ‘Dizzy Up The Girl 20th Anniversary Tour’!  It’s at the Roseland Theater in Portland on Sun. Nov. 4th! Pre-sale tickets & VIP packages are available Wed. Sept 5th at 10am local time through Thurs. Sept 6th at 10pm at . 


Kaylie Minogue

The Goo Goo Dolls are back and better than ever with their newest album, The Audience is This Way! The live album consists of some of their greatest hits like “Slide” and “Iris.” It comes after over 20 years of mainstream success and is made up of recordings from recent tours, most notably including tracks from their 20th anniversary tour of their Dizzy Up Girl album.

The Goo Goo Dolls have had an impressive history in the alternative and commercial music scene. The Buffalo natives first started out in 1986 when guitarist/vocalist Johnny Rzeznik and bassist/vocalist Robby Takac joined up with drummer George Tutuska to create what they called “a garage rock band.” From there, they played punk rock gigs. Eventually they toured across the country opening for 1980’s punk bands. It wasn’t until the group released their single “Name” that they began to see great commercial success. This started their transformation from garage rock to popular alternative rock band. Since then, the group has continued to find success with their phenomenal song “Iris.” The song itself spent 18 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with four weeks at No. 1, solidifying the bands household status.

The Audience is This Way sounds like the Goo Goo Dolls’ homage to their fans. The title itself points to the audience as being an important part of their journey. It also immediately shows off the live aspect of the album. Instead of being recorded in one go, the album itself includes 10 tracks that have been recorded during their most recent tours. The album was also released on limited edition vinyl on July 21st as part of Record Store Day. There were only 3,000 pressings and the album itself just became digitally available on August 24th.

The album starts out strong, announcing the band in a robust voice promptly followed by “Long Way Down.” You can feel the energy of the band and the crowd just in the opening of this first song. Towards the end, the track easily transitions into the bands hit “Slide.” The track itself brings a sense of nostalgia to the album. The crowd sounds electric during this song and it’s easy to hear them singing along to the familiar lyrics. “Slide” is one of those songs that anyone can recognize and enjoy, and for some reason, it just reminds me of being in car rides as a kid.

The fact that the band chose tracks from different shows to put together this album really shows. It’s easy to hear different colors and senses of energy coming through every track. It’s as if you can feel that you’re at a different show with every seamless transition. It makes the at-home listener feel like they are experiencing the live show, which not all live albums can necessarily accomplish.

The energy continues through the entire album and comes across the familiar “Iris” towards the end. However, it opens with an unfamiliar beginning. The slow intro makes it hard to know exactly what song is about to be played, but the crowd’s constant cheering makes you realize what’s about to come. This live touch makes the track feel more special than the radio version. It allows the listener to really feel as though they are a part of the show.

Overall, Rzeznik doesn’t miss a beat with his smooth, low vocals. Collectively, you can feel the cohesive nature of a band that’s been playing together for over 20 years. Together, they have created a live experience on recorded album. The live energy of the iconic group comes through the headphones of the listener and creates a nostalgic rock experience.


We’re SO excited for the mini auction benefitting Compass House!


We’ve got Meet & Greets with the Goo Goo Dolls, backstage tours, Priority Entry passes, tickets and M&G’s to one of the Buffalo shows at Shea’s, and more! Get registered on the auction site so you can bid on the Goo experience or merch you’ve got your eye on! The auction ends 9/2 at 11:30 pm EST. Thank you in advance for your support of Compass House, which receives every penny raised!

~ If you’re new to the site, Compass House is an organization in Buffalo that provides safe shelter and services to runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth. It’s an amazing place and here is YOUR chance to help them out AND get great Goo Goo Dolls items at the same time!



If you’re going to the Goo Goo Dolls shows in Indianapolis, Nashville, Atlanta, or Charlotte and want to meet the band, now is your chance!

Remember – One entry per person per show. Lottery closes at noon, EST on September 2nd. Must be 18 to enter. Meet and Greet does not include show ticket. You MUST have a show ticket to attend the Meet and Greet. Meet and Greet is for one person only & ID must match winning name. Click the link to enter and good luck!


Going to the Goo Goo Dolls show in Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, or St. Louis? Want to meet the band? The Meet & Greet lotteries for those dates are now open! Remember – One entry per person per show. Lottery closes at noon, EST on August 28th. Must be 18 to enter. Meet and Greet does not include show ticket. You MUST have a show ticket to attend the Meet and Greet. Meet and Greet is for one person only & ID must match winning name. Click the link to enter and good luck!

#Dizzy20 Meet and Greets