As the Goo Goo Dolls, John Rzeznik and Robby Takac have been making music together for over three decades. In 1995, on the album, A Boy Named Goo, the world was introduced to the song “Name” which became the band’s first big commercial success. 1998’s Dizzy Up the Girl brought us more hits like “Slide” and of course “Iris.”
For over 30 years now, the Goo Goo Dolls have helped create the soundtrack to our lives. In 2016 alone, they released their 11th album, Boxes, and managed to play 125 shows from April to December. Now, they’re getting ready to make their return to network television with a live performance on “Shall We Dance on Ice” which airs Saturday, Feb. 11, on ABC.
In honor of the occasion, AXS sat down to speak with Goo Goo Dolls vocalist and bassist, Robby Takac.
AXS: What’s your favorite part about performing live?
Robby Takac: I think for me, it’s the moment when you feel that completion of the circle. When you see someone in the audience singing back to you and you’re like, ‘holy cow that started on my couch.’ The great thing about that is, you can have that moment in a room of 10,000 people or you can do that in a room of 10 people.
AXS: Talk to me about what it was like for you guys when you had your first big hit with ‘Name.’
RT: Well, before that we had a minor hit with a song called ‘We Are the Normal’ that we wrote with Paul Westerberg of The Replacements. He helped John with that. But ‘Name’ was really our first big hit. It sold a lot of records for us. It was played all over the radio and went to No. 1. The crazy thing is that your life changes so dramatically when something like that happens. When it happens you’re so busy it’s like there’s almost no time to even realize what you’re doing because you’re so busy doing it.
AXS: Did you have a ‘wow’ moment for you when it all actually sunk in?
RT: Yeah. I’m from Buffalo and I grew up going to see concerts my whole life. There was this old hockey rink called Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. I saw KISS and Cheap Trick there. I could go on and on. The list of bands I saw play in this place. We had been on tour for that new album ‘Name’ was on and we finally came home and we did a show there. It was with No Doubt and Bush. It was a big tour. We showed up there and there was like 20,000 people in the building. We were playing and I just remember standing on the stage and my grandmother sitting on the side of the stage, waving to me during the show. That was a moment when I kind of looked around and thought, ‘I am standing right where I want to be. And this is awesome.’
AXS: Tell me a little bit about your latest album, Boxes.
RT: Boxes is our 11th album. It was the second album where we used a bit of a different process. We had always had a bunch of songs and then we would hire a producer and go in to record the album. It got to be a crazy process for us. So with Magnetic, which was the record before Boxes, we began going into the studio one song, two songs at a time, just kind of working on that song and not worrying about the rest of them. That allowed us to work with different producers and do songs in different studios and really kind of change up how that record felt. I really dig this record. Now that we’ve gone out and done well over 100 shows on the Boxes tour, we’re going to go in and record a little bit more and see what comes out of that.
AXS: Talk to me about what your experience has been like with ‘Shall We Dance on Ice?’
RT: It’s not the first time we’ve done the show so we knew what to expect this time. The whole thing has been really cool. We got a chance to meet some of the folks like Kristi [Yamaguchi] and Brian Boitano. This time around we already knew the components and how it went so it was real easy for us to work with everyone. It was fun. If they ever ask us back I’m sure we would love to do it again.
AXS: What can fans expect to see from you guys on the show?
RT: We’re going to be representing the ‘90s on the show. For one segment, they’ll go through periods of time, musically. While the performers skate to those, we’ll be doing some of our songs from that era. Then we’ll close up with some music off of our new record. It’s pretty cool.
As for what’s next after the show, Robby told AXS that the Goo Goo Dolls will be recording some new stuff. Although no official announcement has been made yet as far as touring goes, Robby said, “It’s going to be a very, very busy summer for us.”
“Shall We Dance on Ice” takes you on a beautiful journey through the ages with both skating and dance performances. The special is hosted by Kristi Yamaguchi and Robert Herjavec from “Shark Tank.” You can catch incredible performances by superstar dancers including Dmitry Chaplin, Chelsie Hightower, Tristan MacManus, and Anna Trebunskaya.
The show will also include performances by ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Sinead Kerr-Marshall and John Kerr, Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev, Laurence Fournier-Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen, Isabella Tobias and Ilia Tkachenko, Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam, Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre, and Beata Handra and Joel Dear.
Tune in to check it out and catch the special musical performance by the GRAMMY-nominated Goo Goo Dolls on “Shall We Dance on Ice,” airing Feb. 11, 3 p.m. EST on ABC.