by Jeremy Brinling
This is my interview with Robby Takac, bassist, of Goo Goo Dolls before their show on November 13th in Erie, PA. He is an incredibly nice guy and I am very glad he was able to take the time out to talk with me.
How has this tour been so far?
Well actually, today is the first day of pre-production. We’’ve been rehearsing in Los Angeles for the past three days and now we’’ve got the theater here in Milwaukie rented for a night for ourselves. We’’re all set up and the tour starts tomorrow so we are trying to make it happen.
When you are on tour, what do you do to stay busy?
Well, I’’m on tour actually (laughs) officially so I’’m pretty busy. But you know, you have press, sound checks, meet & greets, and then there’’s getting from venue to venue, city to city. There’’s a lot of time in there but there’’s a record label that I run with my wife and we do that over the web mostly. I like to walk around though and take in the local sights and that kind of stuff.
Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Yeah, do what you love and you’’ll be good at it, if you are doing it because you love it. That’’s what I think the most important part is. Making money in the music business is a bi-product of being really good at something. So you have to do that first (laughs).
If you could co-write an album with anyone, who would it be and why?
You know, I’’d probably have to say somebody odd like DJ Shadow or like Chemical Brothers, somebody that sounds totally different than we do.
Me: It’’d be interesting.
Yeah, because I think that that would be an interesting mix.
If you could give yourself advice 15 years ago, what would you say?
If I could give myself advice 25 years ago, I would have told myself to name the band something different. (Laughs) 15 years ago, I don’’t know, I would have tried to convince myself again to change the name of it.
Me: Not a huge fan of it?
No well you know, it’’s time for it to stay after a certain age. (Laughs)
Do you have a favorite song to perform live?
““Slide”” is always a super fun song to play because we always play it early and we usually play a few songs before that that the casual fan might not know but when we go into that song, it is definitely a song that every human being in the building knows and not necessarily loves either. The workers even know it I’’m sure.
Me: They may hate it but they definitely know it.
(Laughs) Yeah, they know it.
Do you have a favorite place to play live?
Yeah, I love playing at Tokyo. We haven’’t been there in a couple of years but I love playing there. I love playing London. I love playing our hometown of Buffalo. Those are probably my three favorite places to play.
Who is your favorite band or artist that you’’ve toured with?
We toured with The Replacements many, many years ago and it was super fun. We toured with The Rolling Stones, that was super, super fun.
Me: Just the little names.
(Laughs) Right, I don’’t know man. We’’ve done a lot of great tours. Those two are definitely stand outs. We did a tour one year with Soul Asylum, that was great. Tons. Bon Jovi we played with for way too many weeks. Yeah, we’’ve played a lot of tours and opening spots.
Is there a song of yours’’ or somebody else’’s that you do not perform live and wish you did?
Wow, that’’s an interesting question. It’’s weird. There are some songs of ours that I wish we’’d play but there’’s not really any place for them. We have a whole bunch of songs that we know we won’’t get out of the building if we don’’t play. So that takes up a pretty significant part of our set, about 14 songs, and we play about 20 songs a night. Then you are adding a few songs from the new record and then a couple of songs that we really like, and then that only leaves a couple more spots for songs that we really want to play. I guess there are songs that I would really like to play. Many, but we just never are able to get to them for some reason.
Is it strange for you to see that ““Iris”” came back onto a Top 40 chart in the U.K. after over a decade since it was released?
Yeah, it’’s nuts man. It’’s crazy. That happened on my birthday, right when I woke up. Somebody was like ‘’dude, “”Iris”” is back on!’’ (Laughs) It’’s so funny because every time you come out with a record and try super hard to get a Goo Goo Dolls song on the radio. So this is the second time that that has happened. When ““Iris”” was a big hit over here (in the U.S.), nobody knew it over there (U.K.). It wasn’’t a hit at all. Then there was a kid named Ronan Keating who covered it and it was in that boy’s own band and it was his song that went into the Top 10 and our version was in the Top 20 for a bit and then kind of disappeared. So, it had already happened once. I think it’’s pretty amazing and it happened because of this TV show, The X Factor. It’’s pretty amazing that a television show has that much power to influence what people want to hear. Maybe it was just that there was so many years on it at one time and the song wasn’’t a big hit over there. We’’ve had a few songs that were kind of big hits.
Me: A few.
But that song, excuse my French, was a f**king bomb of a hit man. Dozens of weeks in the Top 10, it was crazy and that’’s just a phenomena it’’s like all the stars have to align for that to happen. The song worked and it was so big over here (U.S.). So I think once they heard it over there (U.K.), maybe it had that same affect all of a sudden over there. All of a sudden it ends up that we’re selling 100,000 singles in a week. It’’s crazy man.
Now you have a new song, “”The Best of Me”” that will be on the new Hawaii Five-O show and soundtrack, are you a fan of the show at all and are you excited to be a part of it?
I used to watch the original many years ago but I really don’’t know much about it. We recorded that as we were traveling on our last tour actually during the summer. We stopped off at the studio in Memphis and recorded that there. It’’s just sort of a one off thing. I don’’t know much about the show but I assume that it’’s a younger, much chipper version than a lot of excuses for gratuitous “”t.n.a.”” shots and cars jumping over ramps and stuff.
Now this is definitely not your first soundtrack released song, with songs on the Transformers films and City of Angels, do you think that this song will do as well? Have you enjoyed doing the soundtrack work?
I think you obviously……the depth of the project involved and how and where your song will be used and the TV sound check, who knows. We’’re certainly not using it as a single; I think it’’s just something we contributed. You never really know, you just have to see what happens every time you put something out. Certainly, when you put something in a blockbuster movie, “”Iris”” was the City of Angels soundtrack with Peter Gabriel, Sarah McLaughlin, U2, Jewel, and with just crazy names and it was just nuts. Somehow, we rose to a place of significance in that soundtrack. But if you think of the amount of dollars behind a project like that, it’’s just insane. They went everywhere and yeah, it was nuts.
What’’s your greatest memory with the band so far?
Probably playing on the same stage that I saw Kiss play on when I was a little kid, The Memorial Auditorium. We actually got to play there right before it was torn down in Buffalo, where I grew up. I just remember standing on the stage thinking ‘‘wow, this is it. This is what I’’ve been waiting for.’’ I was in the exact spot where I saw The Who play in the place. I think that was a big day and that was about 15 years ago; pretty crazy.
What can fans expect at the show in Erie?
Hopefully, all the songs they want to hear.
Me: Have to figure out the set list first.
Yeah, well we’’re doing that tonight and we’’ll have to figure that out together. It’’s just going to be a good rock show. We’’ve been doing this a long time so we bring good rock to town (Laughs).
Ryan Star is on this tour as well. Are you excited to tour with him?
Yeah, I’’m excited. I have yet to meet him but we’’ll be shooting it around with him tonight.
What are your plans for the future?
Well we have this tour for six weeks, and then have a little time off to do some things around the house, and then get to work on another record.