CRYPTIC ROCK – ROBBY TAKAC TALKS LIFE ON THE ROAD

Longevity in Rock-n-Roll is not a given and is surely not that easy. So much can happen over the course of time that can make or break an artist, but the Goo Goo Dolls have withstood it all to remain standing 30 plus years later. Originally from the Buffalo, New York area, Goo Goo Dolls went from loud Punk rockers to Alternative Rock stars overnight. Well, not quite, the fact is it has been a long road traveled by the band who had their first taste of major commercial success thanks to the ballad “Name.” What at the time felt like a burden to the band ended up being the segue into a new world of Rock stardom that rose to great heights with future radio hits such as “Iris,” “Slide,” “Black Balloon,” and “Broadway,” among others.

Consistent since, Goo Goo Dolls continue to grow to this day, putting out quality music and expanding their horizons and approach to keep with the times. Recently we caught up with co-founder Robby Takac to talk his humble perspective on life in a Rock-n-Roll band, the future of the Goo Goo Dolls, touring, and much more.

 

CrypticRock.com – Last we spoke, in 2016, Goo Goo Dolls had just released Boxes and you were set to embark on another summer tour. What has the last year been like for you and the band?    

Robby Takac
 – It has been awesome! We had a tour, John has a new baby which is 8 months old now, we released a new EP, we are a little over a dozen shows into a new tour and firing on all cylinders. Everything is good! 

CrypticRock.com – Good to hear. Boxes was certainly a refreshing record, and as you stated, saw the band collaborate with others. As you mentioned, in 2017 you return with a new EP, You Should Be Happy. What inspired the band to release a new collection of tunes so soon?  

Robby Takac – We had talked a little bit about the EP format and about, given the current state of people’s attentions spans, releasing smaller batches of songs more frequently might be a cool way of doing things. We had been talking about this for years. With this tour coming up, we felt maybe having some new songs to play for folks and just have something new out there would be good. We had a few songs that we had begun working on, everything just sort of lined up. It seemed like time to make that move, and I am kind of happy we did. 

CrypticRock.com – That is a forward thinking move. As you said, people have shorter attention spans. Unfortunately, album sales are down across the board.

Robby Takac – Yes, and album sales are definitely down, but I think people’s access to music, and their ability to hear exactly what they want, when they want it, that is a huge leap forward. Unfortunately, monetarily, it is a problem. It is really going to take a redesign of how this whole things operates, which is what we are in the midst of right now.

I do think the internet and information being at the end of everyone’s arm as it is now has changed things. I can see it, when we used to release new music it would be months before it got into the fiber of what was going on. Now you release a new song, it can be the next day and most of the audience is going to know it because the distribution system is in place. It is at the end of their arm and on their iPhones. They can hear that song immediately as you release it.

It is a very exciting time for music and a very transitional time for the music business. It is not the first time this kind of thing has happened. People’s love for music will make it over the hump I think. 

CrypticRock.com
 – Yes, and that is a very good point to bring up of the instance of music now. This EP sees further collaboration, is this something you could see the band doing more of in the future?   

Robby Takac – Yea, I think we kind of leaned that way around Let Love In (2006). We started taking on songs more as a group effort when we get in a room with people. As I explained to you on the last record, we got stuck in this thing where we were writing these songs and get stuck under this pile of unfinished business. The new model of starting a song and finishing tends to lend itself to collaboration to I think. You are getting to a room with a barely baked idea and bringing it to fruition. So yea, I see more of that in the future. 

CrypticRock.com – Well that makes things interesting. The band tend to put a full-length album out every 4 years. Are their plans of a future full-length?

Robby Takac – I wouldn’t doubt it. Honestly, we haven’t discussed what the next move is because we are under the weight of this tour right now. I would imagine we are just going to start recording songs and see what happens. I think we have 5 or 6 great songs recorded, and there is a reason for us to get something out there, then we will. I think if we accrue more than that and feel confident with it, than the situation may be different. As I said, I think small batches is a great way to release music these days. A small batch brewery like they say. 

CrypticRock.com – Well both are exciting news for fans. Now, you guys are back on tour, a summer tradition for Goo Goo Dolls. How is this tour going for you?   

Robby Takac – It has been awesome! We did some pre-production up in the desert in Palm Springs. We spent 10 days there working on stuff. For the first few shows, for the attendant, I am sure they are fine, but to us, we are on the edge of our seats hoping everything works. We are sort of over that now and into second nature mode which is when the shows start getting really good. That is when you are not thinking about it too much and you are just out there having a good time and making a good Rock show. 

CrypticRock.com – Yes, you have to work out the kinks to get in your groove. This year’s setlist sees the band mixing in a good balance of new and old songs. Most of all, there are plenty of rockers amidst it all too. At this point, do you find the audiences a bit taken back by the heavier tunes, or would you say the older guard of fans is still a strong presence at the shows?

Robby Takac – I think early on, like when “Name” first came out, we were plastering secretaries against the back walls of clubs. They didn’t know anything about us but “Name,” they would come see us, we would hit them with “Long Way Down,” and they would be like what the hell is going on? (laughs) I think in the past 20 years, people are sort of familiar with what we do now a little more.

I don’t think it comes as such a shock anymore that at our core this is a Hard Rock band and we always have been. We just tend to do a lot of different things now. We know we can go out there and make that happen. We know that is one of the special things we can do and we really like to do it. I think it adds a lot of energy to the show for sure. 

CrypticRock.com – Absolutely, it is good to have the diversity and ability to reach into your back pocket and throw out something heavier. You seem to have a really great time on stage. What is it like for you after all these years on stage?

Robby Takac – A variety of emotions. It is amazing that we can do this all these years later. I really do feel the same amount of appreciation I did when I was 22 years old standing in a room of 50 people that were willing to come see us play. There is still a part of me that is that 22 year old kid and fascinated by the whole thing, that it is even occurring. I know that sounds weird after all this time, but that it is even happening at all after all this time, is mind-blowing to me.

I hope I can hang onto that for a while (laughs). I think it makes life a lot easier. I think a lot people get into this rotation of – rock, rinse, repeat. That is what you do out here, everyday, it is boom, boom, boom. I think if you go about it with the wrong heads, this can be a miserable thing to do for 30 years. The part when you are on stage is awesome, but other 20 hours of day, you might as well be selling shower rings or whatever. You are in hotels, you are in hotel restaurants, airports, driving from one city to next. You have to keep your eye on why you got into it in the first place. Then, the fact that you can make a living on top of it, what is it, Christmas or something (laughs).

CrypticRock.com – You have to keep things into perspective. You do not want to be Dale Griffin from 1987’s Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (laughs). My last question for you is pertaining to movies. You are a fan of the Horror genre, you have your label, and recently did a song for a Horror film. What are some new Horror films you enjoyed? 

Robby Takac
 – Pinky Doodle Poodle, one of the bands I work with, just did a song for Dick Johnson & Tommygun vs the Cannibal Cop. I just did a song for Johnny Gruesome. My buddy asked me to come sing it for him. Armand John Petri actually wrote it, he produced Jed (1989) and Hold Me Up (1990) many years ago, Punk Rock classics! Something that I am looking forward to seeing, my friend just released a movie called Dwelling. I am looking forward to checking that out. 

Tour Dates:
Fri-Aug-11-17 Syracuse, NY Lakeview Amphitheater
Sat-Aug-12-17 Darien Lakes, NY Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
Sun-Aug-13-17 Wantagh, NY Northwell Health at Jones Beach Center
Tue-Aug-15-17 Boston, MA Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
Wed-Aug-16-17 Portland, ME Maine State Pier
Fri-Aug-18-17 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
Sat-Aug-19-17 Bethel, NY Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Sun-Aug-20-17 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Tue-Aug-22-17 Baltimore, MD Pier Six Pavilion
Wed-Aug-23-17 Raleigh, NC Red Hat Amphitheater
Fri-Aug-25-17 Virginia Beach, VA Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheatre
Sat-Aug-26-17 Asheville, NC Biltmore Estate – South Terrace
Sun-Aug-27-17 Charlotte, NC Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
Wed-Aug-30-17 Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live
Fri-Sep-01-17 Miami, FL Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront
Sat-Sep-02-17 Jacksonville, FL Daily’s Place
Mon-Sep-04-17 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre
Thu-Sep-07-17 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sun-Sep-10-17 Albuquerque, NM Sandia Resort Casino
Tue-Sep-12-17 San Diego, CA Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre
Wed-Sep-13-17 Los Angeles, CA The Greek Theatre
Fri-Sep-15-17 Woodinville, WA Chateau St. Michelle
Sun-Sep-17-17 Goldendale,WA Maryhall Winery Amphitheatre

Robby Takac Talks Life on the Road

 

The Daily News – Goo Goo Dolls find their way home with Darien Lake show

 

By THOM JENNINGS
FOR THE DAILY NEWS

DARIEN CENTER — On Saturday, the Goo Goo Dolls stop at the venue closest to their hometown as part of their Long Way Home Tour 2017.

The Buffalo-bred band formed in these parts back in 1986 but did not reach the status of commercial superstars until almost a decade later with the album “A Boy Named Goo” and then cemented their status in 1998 with the ubiquitous single “Iris.”

Formed as a trio, the original band consisted of John Rzeznik, Robby Takac and George Tutuska, who left the band in a royalty dispute in 1994. Drummer Mike Malinin was the drummer from 1994-2013; he was the only official member of the band not from Buffalo. Manlinin sued the band shortly after announcing his departure on Twitter. A judge dismissed the case in 2015.

Since Manlinin’s departure The Goo Goo Dolls only official members are Rzeznik and Takac. The lack of an official drummer has never slowed down the group. The group tours with three supporting musicians, Brad Fernquist on guitar, multi-instrumentalist Korel Tunador and drummer Craig Macintyre.

The 2017 tour’s set consists of over 20 songs from their 30-plus years as a band and covers most of the bands albums with the exception of the very early days when the band was still touring the country in a van. The current set even has a cut from “Superstar Car Wash,” an album that features a picture of a former Buffalo business of the same name that was located on William Street.

The band has released two albums and an EP since 2013. Their latest EP, “You Should Be Happy,” includes five songs and was released in May.

Even though Rzeznik no longer resides in Buffalo, he has been a champion of the city and returns to the area often. In recent years, Rzeznik and Takac filmed a promotional video in Buffalo and the duo performed at a memorial service for the Buffalo music legend Lance Diamond.

Takac still lives in Buffalo and is the head of the non-profit organization Music is Art. It’s not unusual to see Takac around Buffalo when the band is not touring, and he is one of the most approachable rock stars you will ever meet.

In addition to hailing from Buffalo, the Goo Goo Dolls have accomplished what many of their musical peers were unable to, they have remained a solid concert draw and continue to release and perform new music rather than solely rely on their back catalogue.

Opening the show will be Phillip Phillips, the 26-year-old former American Idol finalist best known for the song “Home.” His second album came out in 2014 and fans have been eagerly awaiting for his third one.

Goo Goo Dolls Find Their Way Home

MUSIC PARK: REVIEW – GOO GOO DOLLS @ WOLF TRAP — 8/8/17

By Mickey McCarter

Watching John Rzeznik and Robby Takac on stage at Wolf Trap on Tuesday, it dawned on me that the duo is rather like the Daryl Hall and John Oates of ’90s alternative music, aren’t they?

I mean that in a sincerely flattering way. They had a certain similar dynamic as blonde-haired John took his guitar to the front of the stage to serenade the very crowded pavilion with “Tattered Edge/You Should Be Happy,” the title track from their brand-new EP You Should Be Happy, initially released in May via Warner Bros. Records. The soaring stadium rock song firmly put the audience on their feet to dance and clap along. As John sang, dark-haired Robby roamed the back of the stage, carefree and barefoot actually, jamming along with the rest of the band.

It wasn’t only the visual that made me think of Hall and Oates, but also the gents’ enthusiasm, professionalism, and sharp ears for irresistible riffs, coupled with their personal chemistry, recalled the famous soul duo.

Everyone at Wolf Trap was quite content with the new material, but as you would imagine, an electric shock went through the audience at the opening notes of “Slide,” their 1998 single from perhaps their most famous album, Dizzy Up the Girl. John cozies up to the microphone to sing the familiar words, feeding off the energy overtaking the pavilion, while Robby “slides” up to him to play in harmony with his bandmate. Robby is more like a lightning bolt, bounding from one side of the stage to the other, alighting next to John to face him briefly while the two happily share an instrumental break.

Prior to “Slide,” John reflected that Goo Goo Dolls last played Wolf Trap as recently as last year, but the band were very happy to be back so soon. “Wolf Trap is a place that captures memories and retains them,” John commented. “It’s a magical place.”

Clearly, that sentiment was endorsed by the sheer number of people who turned up to see them again. And the band kept the audience rocking with catchy power ballads from last year’s Boxes, their 11th studio album, with songs like “So Alive,” “Over and Over,” and “Long Way Home,” from which the current tour takes its name.

To wrap their main set, Goo Goo Dolls played their much beloved megahit “Iris” to the delight of the audience, who sang along to every word. The post-grunge #1 hit almost surely defines Goo Goo Dolls to most of the music-listening public, and the guys treated the song with grace and tenderness. John invited the audience to sing louder at the refrains, and folks heartily complied. It was easy to see why Goo Goo Dolls have hit a record 14 top 10 hits on adult contemporary radio generally and why Billboard magazine named “Iris” specifically as it’s #1 top-charting pop song from 1992-2012.

Goo Goo Dolls stay on the road tomorrow, Aug. 11, in Syracuse, New York, and continue their tour through Sept. 10, when they wrap it up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And good news — they stop nearby at Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore on Aug. 22 if you are ready to see them again ASAP. (Buy your tickets for Pier Six online.) You’ll have a decidedly pleasant time with these earnest, dedicated, and talented musicians when next you sing along with them.

Goo Goo Dolls at Wolf Trap

Broadway World – Goo Goo Dolls Offer Fans The Chance To Win A Private Performance Through Omaze

Today, rock and roll legends The Goo Goo Dolls announced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fans through Omaze, the premier site for online charitable giving. While in the midst of their “Long Way Home” summer tour in support of the release of their new EP You Should Be Happy, the band is partnering with Omaze to offer the chance to win the ultimate concert experience.

One winner and their guest will be flown out to Los Angeles and stay in a four-star hotel for The Goo Goo Dolls performance at the Greek Theater on September 13th. The experience guarantees premium VIP seats for the show, a private performance during pre-show sound check, a meet and greet with the band, and the opportunity to take home one of John’s guitars that he used during the show. For more details on the Grand Prize, read below:

The Grand Prize includes-
– Tickets to watch The Goo Goo Dolls from premium seats in the very front of the audience.
– An intimate performance at sound check before the show.
– A meet-and-greet with the band.
– John Rzeznik’s Taylor 214 CE DLX guitar to take home with a hardshell case.

Fans can enter for the chance to win for as little as $10 in support of Music Gives to St. Jude Kids, a nonprofit that works to fight against childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Every donation offers fans the chance to have an up-close and personal experience with rock and roll legends. Not only will a donation get you one step closer to the band, but funds raised will help support this amazing cause and save the lives of thousands of children everyday.

Watch as The Goo Goo Dolls announce this campaign in this video posted on their Facebook page HERE.
The campaign launches on August 1st and will close on August 31st.
To learn more about the campaign and to enter for your chance to win, visit HERE.
 
About Goo Goo Dolls
The multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated Goo Goo Dolls are one of the most globally respected and influential forces in popular music, selling more than 12 million albums since 1986. They have scored 14 Top 10 radio hits (more than any other artist in the history of the Hot AC format), including “Name,” “Slide,” and “Iris,” the latter spending nearly 12 straight months on the Billboard charts and holding the No. 1 position for 17 consecutive weeks. The band has toured the globe countless times, performed in front of millions of fans, received numerous awards (including four Grammy nominations), and recorded and released 11 studio albums, including 2016’s Boxes. Rzeznik has also been honored with the Songwriters Hall of Fame Hal David Starlight Award.
 
About Music Gives to St. Jude Kids
Music Gives to St. Jude Kids mobilizes the music community – artists, fans, corporate partners and sponsors – to join us in the fight against childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases to raise funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®. St. Jude has a long history of support from the music industry since the hospital’s beginning in 1962 when our founder, Danny Thomas, called on entertainers such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and more to join his cause. Since then, numerous artists and musicians have visited the hospital in support of the St. Jude mission and Danny’s dream that no child should die in the dawn of life. Jason Thomas Gordon, grandson of hospital founder Danny Thomas and lead singer of the band Kingsize, created Music Gives to continue to bring St. Jude and music together to further his family’s legacy and make a difference in the lives of the kids of St. Jude.
 
About Omaze
Omaze is an online fundraising platform that makes giving fun and easy, by offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences and exclusive merchandise in support of critical causes. Our campaigns connect influencers, nonprofits, and donors to create a lasting impact, and have raised funds and awareness for more than 200 charities with donations from over 175 countries.
 

Robby’s Lobby InRock Blog for August

Hello In Rockers and I’m so glad you took a second to check in on me here in the pages of the mighty In Rock, my band Goo Goo Dolls are in full touring mode now as we enter the 2nd week of our “2017 Long Way Home US Tour”. We’re traveling with singer / songwriter Phillip Phillips opening the show, cool guy and he’s traveling with a great band, it’s shaping up to be an amazing summer as we circle the US bringing the rock show around the country.

We spent a week in the desert getting our show together, all of the lights and sound must be organized for the new show as well as cues for the band to follow for the new arrangements of the songs. When your band has been together for over 30 years it gets to be tough to pull together a set list together, there’s a process that I’ve been using for the past 20 years, it consists of taking the set lists from the last tour, disassembling it into 3 categories; 1) “The dirty dozen” ? these are the dozen or so songs that have made it into chart positions or that have been featured prominently to listeners along the way. These songs nearly always appear in the set (because we would probably have boyfriends/husbands lined up by the bus if we failed to play Iris for their loved ones). We also have songs from our latest release, this tour we are promoting our last album “Boxes” as well as our new EP “You Should Be Happy”, that’s usually about 5-6 songs scattered throughout the set, then there’s a couple sets of my songs or “Robby Songs” as they are referred to on the stage. Lastly there’s just songs that we just simply love to play and they are scattered and swapped out throughout the tour. By that point we have gone way, way over 90 minutes and it’s then our task to decide what NOT to play, and that is the toughest part of the process. I guess that’s a point most bands would like to get to some day, but I must say after 11 albums and 30+ years of releasing music it becomes one of the most difficult parts of the touring cycle.

We started the tour in San Francisco at the legendary Shoreline Amphitheater, home of the Grateful Dead, we had an amazing first night of the tour with a great crowd welcoming the new show with open arms and strong voices as we began another long trip around the US.

Simultaneously our Good Charamel Records label is hosting Tokyo’s Pinky Doodle Poodle as they embarked on a 10 week US tour on 07/07 traveling the country doing shows supporting their latest “Jump In” single released in early July. The band began their 35-show US tour in Buffalo, NY, traveling with a session drummer from Atlanta, GA they will travel up and down the Eastern Coast of the country doing shows on their own as well as a 3 week opening slot for Nashville based rockers The Winter Sound. PDP plans to return to the US to continue touring the US West Coat in the Fall/Winter of 2017.

Today I have a day off in Chicago, my wife and daughter are in Japan this month visiting family, so I’m solo today, I’m thinking I might just lay low and maybe see the new Minions movie (my daughter got me hooked), maybe try to have a normal day for a second before we get back into the crazy schedule of the tour! Hope you all have a great month and thanks for checking in on me, have a great month and we’ll see you soon in the pages on In Rock!

Peace

Robby

InRock Blog

Philly Voice – BLUE-COLLAR GOO GOO DOLLS HAVE LOVE FOR PHILLY

By Ed Condran

After slugging it out on the club circuit for a decade, the Goo Goo Dolls almost called it quits just before the straightforward rock band hit sonic paydirt.

“[Vocalist-guitarist] Johnny [Rzeznik] was pretty close to leaving the band,” vocalist-bassist Robbie Takac said while calling from Appleton, Wis. 

“John was frustrated and skeptical. It’s understandable. It wasn’t easy during the early years. I remember driving in a broken down van with no heat in the dead of winter. It was hard, but I never thought about giving up. This band has always been my life. I was always compelled to push on and I believed that something really good was going to happen.”

Takac should play the lottery. Nearly a year after a “Boy Named Goo” was released in 1995, the catchy ballad “Name” broke and the album caught fire. “Goo” went double platinum.

“We were a band that had a lot of straight up rock and punk songs,” Takac said. “And then we started going outside of the box and happened upon success.”

Rzeznik followed with another ballad, “Iris,” which catapulted the band into pop’s upper echelon. “Iris” topped the Billboard pop charts for four straight weeks in 1997. “Slide,” Broadway” and “Dizzy” also hit the top 10.

“All of a sudden, we were in this unbelievable space,” Takac said. “The cool thing was that not only did we stay together, we could make whatever kind of music we wanted to make.”

The Goo Goo Dolls still make new music. The band, which will perform Sunday at Festival Pier, is touring behind “You Should Be Happy,” a five-song EP.

“The toughest thing about adding new material is the set list, because we have so many songs that we have to play live,” Takac said. 

“We can’t leave out certain songs. You only have so much time up there. John sings 19 songs. I sing five songs.”

Even though Takac and Rzeznik moved to Los Angeles during the pinnacle of their success, the tandem, who hails from Buffalo, N.Y. are blue-collar, lunchpail kind of guys.

“That’s absolutely true,” Takac said. “We didn’t grow up well off. We struggled. I could only be in LA for so long. It was weird to me when I moved there. When I started enjoying Los Angeles, I discovered what changed was me and it was time to go. I moved back to Buffalo a few years ago and I couldn’t be happier. John moved to (Central) Jersey. We like those kinds of places.”

Takac stressed that Philadelphia is one of his favorite cities. 

“I’m not just saying that because we’re going to be back in Philly,” Takac said. 

“I have so many great Philly memories. I remember going to the Buzzcocks reunion tour at the TLA [in 1989] with a friend, who lived in Buckingham. I remember hanging out at that store Now and Then in New Hope. That was such a cool place. I loved New Hope. And then we played the Fourth of July a few years ago on a bill with the Roots at the art museum. I’ll never forget the little kid who jumped onstage with us and danced. Hopefully, this show coming up in Philly will make for some more great memories.”

The Goo Goo Dolls appear Sunday, Aug. 6 at Festival Pier, Spring Garden Street and Christopher Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia. Phillip Phillips will open. Tickets are $49.50. Show time is 8 p.m. For more information, call 215-922-1011 or click here. 

Blue Collar Goo Goo Dolls Have Love for Philly

Oakland Press – Review: Goo Goo Dolls rock through the rain at Meadow Brook

By Stacey Sherman

ROCHESTER HILLS — Blankets, tarps and umbrellas covered the lawn at the Meadow Brook Amphitheatre on Thursday, Aug. 3. But the dripping fans caught in the storm before the Goo Goo Dolls’ Long Way Home Tour stop there were not disappointed once the setting sun finally broke through the threatening sky.

A 20-minute weather delay caused opener Phillip Phillips to play a truncated set, but the Season 11 “American Idol” winner and his four-piece band got in a solid 25 minutes, including the hits “Home” and “Gone, Gone, Gone” while the long lines of people finally being allowed inside tried (and failed) to find a dry place to sit.

The Clash’s “Up In Heaven” blasted over the house speakers and the Goo Goo Dolls blasted onto the stage with energy that hearkened back to the group’s days in Buffalo as a post-punk band of the early 90s. It was a trip down memory lane for the near-capacity crowd and a reminder of why the Goos have managed to stay relevant for more than 30 years.

The group rocked into “Tattered Edge/You Should Be Happy” from its recently released EP and continued through a 100-minute, 22-song show that stretched from lesser-known early tracks such as “Flat Top” to tunes that are stuck in everyone’s heads from the Goos’ heyday.

The stellar guitar playing and vocals of John Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac were backed by their three-piece touring band, individually set up on small risers on an otherwise spare stage. Eight light towers of varying size placed behind the band changed color to set the mood, and directional spotlights switched between the more subtle acoustic moments to the laser-like effect that pierced through the crowd during “Long Way Home.”

Rzeznik bonded with the crowd from the start, acknowledging it with a hearty, “What’s up Detroit? Well, we made it. We’re going to have a good time as long as we’re here. This ain’t no (expletive) around! This is Deee-troit!” The audience proved up to the task, singing along and fist-pumping to the anthemic “Over And Over” and batting around the requisite balloons during “Black Balloon.”

Takac took over lead vocals on four songs in two back-to-back sections, and it marked a definite departure from the smooth, familiar tones Rzeznik provides on the majority of the band’s Top 40 hits. The bassist’s raspy yell served as a reminder of the Goos origins as a punk band, as he delved into the back catalog for “January Friend,” “Already There” and “Bringing On The Light.” It was the boundless energy and elastic facial expressions that set Takac apart on stage; He raced around barefoot, hair flying about his face, high kicking and mugging to the audience, often disappearing off of one side of the stage, only to reappear (sometimes a bit creepily) from the other side, but never missing a note on any of his sticker-covered bass guitars.

Rzeznik had his fair share of guitar changes, switching back and forth between more than a dozen acoustic and electric models throughout the night. Fan favorites “Slide,” “Better Days,” “Broadway” and “Here Is Gone” all got their due, along with the current single, “Use Me,” before which Rzeznik quipped, “Please hold your pee. This might be the best song you’ve ever heard.”

Rzeznik also told anecdotes before playing several acoustic songs, including his struggle to get sober in “Sympathy” and how “Come To Me” has become a wedding song for many people. He also recalled playing “Name” for the first time outside of Buffalo at St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit.

In fact, both Goos founders seemed to have a soft spot in their hearts for the Motor City, but Rzeznik’s became especially mushy as he shared a gift he’d been given backstage — a onesie for his seven-month-old daughter bearing the word “Detroit-ish,” which he said would make her “look like a total tough guy. I’m not going to (expletive) with her!”

The Goos’ main set ended with “Iris,” and the appreciative crowd pulled out its cell phones to light up the night during the encore of “Boxes.” Rzeznik and Takac may have grown older, but they haven’t outgrown their love of playing music for people. The Goos have evolved into an adult-oriented rock band, and it’s taken its fans along for the dizzying ride.

Goo Goo Dolls Rock Through the Rain at Meadow Brook

Asbury Park Press – ‘Happy’ days for Goo Goo Dolls, now on tour

By Alex Biese

Pop-rockers Goo Goo Dolls have decades of material to their credit, including more than a dozen Top 10 radio hits. And while fans can certainly expect cuts like the chart-topping 1998 “City of Angels” soundtrack smash “Iris” on the band’s Long Walk Home tour, you should also be prepared to hear plenty of the band’s new work.

“We tend to open the show with the first song from the new thing, always,” said bassist Robby Takac. “I think we feel like it’s our most exciting, latest offering, and so you really right away get a sense of whether or not people know the new music.”

In the case of the Goo Goo Dolls this summer, that latest offering is “You Should Be Happy,” the five-song EP released by the band in June.

Opening with the anthemic rocker “Tattered Edge/You Should Be Happy,” the release reunites Takac and singer/guitarist John Rzeznik with producer Drew Pearson.

Pearson, known for his work with OneRepublic and Katy Perry, also worked on the Goo Goo Dolls’ 2016 LP “Boxes.”

Rzezknik and Takac, who came out of the Buffalo, New York, area more than 30 years ago, return to our region to play Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia on Sunday, Aug. 6, and the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel on Friday, Aug. 18.

“There’s so much talk about the music industry falling apart and people not having the interest in music anymore and I’m going to tell you man, I think the access to music is so simple now for people,” said Takac. “I mean, all you’ve got to do is go to your browser bar and type in the name of the song and you’re going to be able to listen to it for free.

“(That) puts a little bit of a hitch in the commerce end of it, but for a guy who writes songs and looks out and for people to sing them back to them, I’ll tell you people are really in touch now, I think. So I think it’s pretty obvious right away when people are familiar with (the material), which is always one of the big hurdles when you’re stepping out with a bunch of new songs.”

It’s been more than 20 years since Takac and Rzeznik broke big with the 1995 ballad “Name” and followed that up with a string of hits that included “Slide” in 1998, “Black Balloon” in 1999 and “Broadway” in 2000.

But all these years later, Takac said, there is a simple reason why the band still endures.

“Fundamentally, it’s about us being able to be in the same room together,” Takac said. “You find that happening with bands all the time, even successful bands. I hear about the Eagles, you hear about the Eagles (and how) they can’t even be in the same room together before a show. John and I, literally 15 minutes ago, had breakfast together and I said, ‘OK, I’ve got to go do some interviews.’

“We’re still friends, we still care about each other. So I think in the heart of it, there’s that, and then there’s everything else. That has to happen, but if nobody wants to listen then none of it matters.” 

GOO GOO DOLLS

WITH: Phillip Phillips

WHEN: 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6

WHERE: Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Boulevard and Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia

TICKETS: $49.50

INFO: 215-922-1011 or festivalpierphilly.com

AND

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18

WHERE: PNC Bank Arts Center, Exit 116 on the Garden State Parkway, Holmdel

TICKETS: $25 to $180

INFO: 732-203-2500, artscenter.com

‘Happy’ Days for Goo Goo Dolls

The Washington Times – Goo Goo Dolls’ singer Takac on his must-have tour item — and Richards’ definition of ‘sobriety’

By Eric Althoff

Although Goo Goo Dolls bassist and singer Robby Takac says there is now much less booze on the tour bus than there used to be, he fondly recalls how an even more famous rocker once redefined what it meant to be “sober.”

“We walk into Keith [Richards]’ dressing room, and they had a whole bunch of bottles of vodka on the table and orange soda,” Mr. Takac recalls of meeting the Rolling Stones legend during a tour for which the Goo Goo Dolls were the opening act. “I was with my friend [record executive] Phil Quartararo, [and] Phil said to him, ‘Keith, I though you stopped drinking.’

“He goes ‘No, no, no, that’s just vodka — that ain’t drinking.’ According to him, he was ‘sober’ at that point.”
Hearing the mumbling, chain-smoking English guitarist explain to him that only “brown stuff” was drinking — and watching exclusive sound checks for the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band — marked a career and life high point for Mr. Takac, a native of Buffalo, New York, who helped found the Goo Goo Dolls in the mid-‘80s.
It would take a decade of struggle and playing before mainstream success came to the band thanks to the hits “Iris” and “Name.” It was both an auspicious and precipitous time for the music industry.

“Either we came in at the tail end of it or we came in at the beginning of this new thing,” Mr. Takac said of the dawn of the internet age of file-sharing in the mid-‘90s.

But rather than run from the future, the Goo Goo Dolls began using the web to share daily updates with their fans. They even began writing on a platform that would one day be called, by the rest of the connected universe, a blog.

“I don’t think we knew that word ‘blog’ at that point … we were just doing daily updates on what was going on with us,” Mr. Takac said. “But we were able to really energize a community of folks all over the country, all over the world, who kind of meet each other and hook up for shows.”

Two decades since “Iris,” those shows continue, including a stop at the Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia, Tuesday evening, with the band sharing the bill with Phillip Phillips.

“We’re not in a van with no windows and a mattress on top of our gear like we were for the first 10 years,” Mr. Takac said of the comforts of the Dolls’ 21st century touring apparatus. “But I guess that’s what happens when you manage to keep it going for a few decades. A lot of people don’t get the chance to see that happen.”

In addition to meeting Mr. Richards, Mr. Takac has also been able to bump elbows with other heroes of his youth like Alice Cooper and Todd Rundgren.

“I turned into a fanboy, and I couldn’t figure out what to talk to him about,” Mr. Takac recalls of meeting his idol. “I’ve never had a more blank slate in my mind ever.”

Mr. Takac, who plays Yamaha guitars, now advises up-and-coming musicians that they should not concern themselves about making money — at all.

“Take that eight hours of your day and figure out how to make some money. And then figure out how to play your guitar amazingly well. And then figure out how to be in a great band,” he said of the need for a musician to maintain a day job. “Then figure out all that other stuff.”

Furthermore, the road will be hard. Mr. Takac said he has seen far too many of colleagues give up on their dreams — even before they were 30. (Mr. Takac is now 52.)

“I can’t tell you how many of my friends [said], ‘I can’t make a living playing music.’ And I’m like ‘You know what, you’re right, you can’t!’” Mr. Takac said of such naysayers.

“So many people get wrapped up in this crazy thing that if they can’t make a living playing music, then they stop playing the music,” he said. “It’s about playing music. And if you keep that in mind, eventually you get so good at it, or you realize that maybe it’s not what you’re supposed to do.

“I don’t think you should ever, ever set out to be in the music business,” Mr. Takac said. “You need to set out to be in a great band and write great music and do what you need to do on your instrument to make that great music.

“Don’t worry about making money playing music. Like literally zero.”

Mr. Takac says this a “super not rock ‘n’ roll answer” to young musicians’ question. He has a similarly bland answer when asked what he must have with him on the road.

“My teapot. It sounds crazy, but I need it, man,” he said, laughing. “My guitar probably makes its way in there at some point, but that stuff is generally taken care of by somebody.

“But the teapot …”

Mr. Takac said he and the Goo Goo Dolls continue making new music so that they can grow together as a band and as individual musicians.

“[We] just try to keep [making music and] try to make it be something special enough, but different enough that people stay interested,” he said of their ongoing quest to redefine their sound. “What’s the next thing that will allow us to move on and feel like we’re doing something different [and] more interesting and more varied than what we did the last time?”

When asked if he will spend any time exploring the nation’s capital next week away from the Wolf Trap stage, Mr. Takac said he attempts to get out and about in every city along the tour.

“You’ll go crazy if you spend all your time sitting in a hotel room, then backstage,” he said. “On three-month trips you gotta get some air, get some sun and see some stuff.

“I’ll probably be out and about,” Mr. Takac said. “There’s definitely a lot to see in that area.”

Goo Goo Dolls’ “Long Way Home Summer Tour” comes to the Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia, Tuesday. Tickets are $40 to $75 by going to WolfTrap.org.

Goo Goo Dolls’ Singer Robby Takac on His Must-Have Tour Item