Team Rock – Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik – The 10 Records That Changed My Life

by Grant Moon

A boy named Goo and the soundtrack to his life…

Goo Goo Dolls main man John Rzeznik has been productive lately, in every sense. His wife Melina Gallo gave birth to their daughter, Liliana, in December. “She’s awesome,” he says. “It’s hard to be away from her, and I would have never thought that. I look at her and think, ‘Oh God, please don’t let me fuck this up!’ I was such a bad drunk for so long. I’ve been sober for three years now, and every now and then I think, ‘Hmm, maybe I could smoke a little bong before I go to bed’. But, no. I don’t do anything now.”

The Dolls’ 11th album Boxes came out last May and hit the US Top 30, and now they’re back and set to tour the US with their new EP You Should Be Happy. “The way the world’s going, it seems people won’t wait around for an album any more – you keep having to put songs out as you write them. And I’m a lazy bastard too, if I can I’ll wait two years before I write a song. But I had good material, so we just decided to put it out.”

And as for the ten records that changed his life? “It’s so hard to pick just ten!” he shouts with happy anguish. “Damn The Torpedoes is my favourite Tom Petty album, I loved [Genesis’s] Duke, Simple Minds’ New Gold Dream, but these are the albums I got into early that have just stuck with me…”

Sweet – Desolation Boulevard (1975, (US))
“This is the first one that really did it for me, and opened my eyes to what music could be. I was in grade school, about 11 years old. I love that guitar sound, and I’ve always been a sucker for a hook – I mean, Ballroom Blitz is on this album [the US release].”

Kiss – Alive II (1977)
“One of older guys in my neighbourhood gave me his copy. It was when I was first fiddling around with music, starting to pick up the guitar. This was Kiss at the height of their powers, for me it was the whole spectacle of the thing. I never did get to see them – my mother wouldn’t let me go – but I listened to that record a lot.”

The Enemies – Products Of The Street (1980)
“The Enemies were a local punk band in Buffalo, a bit more straight-ahead influenced by the New York Dolls and the Ramones. They were the first band I snuck into a club to see. Products Of The Street was their first EP, and I loved the cover, a cartoon of the band breaking out of prison. The song I really like on it’s called Disconnected.”

Various Artists – Urgh! A Music War OST (1982)
“This record was always around our house, my sister got me into it. It’s a documentary with no narration, all about the punk and new wave bands of the time. It’s crazy how much good music I got turned on to through this: The Police, XTC, Gang Of Four – bands I really loved when I was starting out.”

Echo & The Bunnymen – Heaven Up Here (1981)
“Echo & The Bunnymen were on Urgh! too, and they were massively influential on me. I was dating this really cool girl from the other side of town, her parents were these intellectuals who let her smoke in her bedroom when she was 15. Where I grew up there was a slaughterhouse and an oil refinery, and she lived in this heady world. She turned me on to Heaven Up Here, and I came to really love it, and the band.”

The Clash – London Calling (1979)
“I didn’t really have any friends in high school, but then I made friends with a guy who took me under his wing. All his friends were into music like this, and London Calling just reminds me of the great, great times I had with them. And it taught me a huge lesson: you can write songs that aren’t about cars and girls. There was this amazing urgency to it that was completely lacking in mainstream music where I was at the time.”

The Clash – Sandinista! (1980)
“I know, another Clash album, but I was so into this band. Sandinista! has this melancholy feel to it, it’s like you’re digging in the dark for where you’ll end up. I think they were trying to expand their sound, to grow, which is what you have to do. I made a playlist of my favourite songs on it – you can make one incredible album out of it [it’s a triple album]. It’s a record you listen to while smoking some pot, and get into it, for a whole day!”

Joe Jackson – I’m The Man (1979)
“It’s just a brilliant record. It starts with On Your Radio which is a super great fucking song, Different For Girls is on there. Then there’s Look Sharp! too. I used to have a 10-inch maxi single and it had a Look Sharp! button [badge] you could pull out and wear, and I would. Joe’s such a great songwriter. I really have always been a sucker for a hook, no matter whose it is.”

Depeche Mode – Construction Time Again (1983)
“I always thought Martin Gore’s songwriting was incredible. Their lyrics were so good, and it was something different, they made a unique sound that I’d never heard before. I really liked the videos they did with Anton Corbijn too. We tried to do a cool acoustic cover of Somebody [from Some Great Reward] but the way he sings it is so British there was no way I could wrench it away and make it my own.”

The Replacements – Tim (1985)
“I’d just started college when I heard Tim, and it just filled the hole in my soul. It was romantic, in a tough way, and it had so much swagger. There’s some duds on there – Dose Of Thunder and I’ll Buy are throwaway tracks – but Left Of The Dial was the one for me. In the States, all the college radio stations were way down, left of the dial. For me it was all about that underground college scene we grew up playing. It speaks of another time. It’s over 30 years old now – I’m so fucking old!”

John Rzeznik – The 10 Records That Changed My Life


Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik Feels ‘Home for the First Time’ as a Father: ‘I Never Thought I’d Be a Dad, Until I Got Sober’

By Elizabeth Sporkin

John Rzeznik’s song “Home” has never been more appropriate.

The Goo Goo Dolls frontman, 51, opened up to PEOPLE for this week’s issue about being a first-time parent with wife Melina, whom he married in July 2013.

“I never thought I’d be a dad, until I got sober,” the longtime musician and dad to 4-month-old daughter Liliana Carella tells PEOPLE. “Then my life really started to take shape.”

Rzeznik recalls, “Somebody told me that kids force you to become the person you should have been all along,” sharing that from the moment his baby girl came into the world, he felt that corresponding mental shift.

“When I held Lili for the first time and saw her being born, the first thing I thought was, ‘Don’t screw this up,’ ” he says, joking, “The second thing was, ‘I gotta work — to be able to afford a kid!’ ”

Rzeznik was born and raised in Buffalo, New York — where he met bandmate and longtime friend Robby Takac — but now resides with his family in New Jersey.

And though the “Black Balloon” singer has strong Buffalo ties, he admits he feels like he’s “home for the first time” with his wife and daughter and “[loves] being a dad.”

“I had a crazy family growing up. I never felt like I was home,” he explains. “When I got sober, I became emotionally sober. It took a few months and a lot of crying. Then everything opened up and I was able to see the possibility of things, and I’m with this awesome woman who turned out to be the best friend I ever had.”

Speaking of his wife, Rzeznik praises, “Melina has always been so good for me. She’ll gently push me in a direction, but it’s always the right one.”

The rock duo has released 11 studio albums to date, which means there’s a very expansive discography for Rzeznik to choose from if he wants to sing to his daughter. But just like during his nuptials (“We made it perfectly clear that I would not be singing at all at our wedding,” he previously told PEOPLE), the musician doesn’t tap into his own tunes when it comes to entertaining his baby girl.

“I hum to Lili. Never my songs,” he says of his daughter, whom he calls “a doll” and whose middle name, he shares, is taken from Melina’s mother’s maiden name. “Melina played my music for her before she was born. I have a really loud voice, so I don’t want to scare her.”

Music is only a small part of the way Rzeznik connects with his daughter, though. “I like to read to her,” he shares. “She’s a few months old, but she has to know who the Presidents are. I’m showing her a book about the Presidents. Late at night, I will watch Noam Chomsky documentaries with her. I’m so happy and grateful she’s a girl.”

Adds Melina of her husband, “He is an amazing dad. [Lili] has him wrapped around her finger. He’s very protective, very aware. He has a million parenting books [about] what to expect. I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do when she’s more alert and in her fun stage.”

For now, Rzeznik is reveling in the present, though he can’t help the natural inclination of having positive hopes for his daughter‘s future. “I want her to be independent — to be able to live in the realm of what she wants rather than what she needs,” he says. “I want her to be strong and make the right choices.”

Goo Goo Dolls’ upcoming Long Way Home Tour across the U.S. with Phillip Phillips kicks off July 14 in Mountain View, California, concluding Sept. 17 in Goldendale, Washington. And this time, the new family member will be along for the ride (at least part of the time).

“On tour this summer, my wife and Lili will be able to come out and see me a lot. Melina can telecommute,” Rzeznik explains. “Robby lives in Buffalo and has a 5-year-old girl, Hannah. Hannah will be Lili’s big sister [on tour]!”

The duo’s brand new EP You Should Be Happy, a follow-up to their 2016 album Boxes that includes a remix of that album’s title track, is available now.

For more from John Rzeznik’s family life and plans for the Goo Goo Dolls’ upcoming tour, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik Feels ‘Home for the First Time’ as a Father


Rock N’ Load – Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘You Should Be Happy’- EP Review

The Goo Goo Dolls are back! This time with a beautifully packaged five track EP You Should Be Happy, a follow up to their highly successful 2016 album Boxes. Immediately you get all the Goo Goo Dolls’ wholesome qualities from the get go. The opening track ‘Tattered Edge’ is an up-tempo and highly addictive number rich in melody and engaging hooks. It is everything you would expect from a band with the wealth of experience and quality of the Goo Goo Dolls.

A highly polished EP, production is as always first class. It was recorded at EastWest studios in Los Angeles, and produced by Drew Pearson (OneRepublic, Katy Perry) who first collaborated with the band on their most recent album, Boxes.  The first single off the EP, ‘Use Me,’ carries on that slick and melodic feel with this beautifully written number. Thumping bass lines and a magnetic vocal display from front man John Rzeznik will ensure this one is a winner on the airwaves.

‘30k’ and ‘Walk Away’ carry on with the captivating and skilful compositions ensuring their audience is fully wrapped up in Goo Goo Dolls goodness. A totally compelling EP, it’s hard to imagine any diehard Goo Goo Dolls fan not lapping this up. The EP ends with the utterly charming ‘Boxes’ with its Techno Trance intro and raspy vocal display once again from Rzeznik. It just pulls you into its huge and enslaving melody.

A band forever known for their global hit ‘Iris’ from the City of Angels movie soundtrack, this song propelled the band to stardom, as it stayed on top of Billboard’s Hot 100 Airplay charts for a record-breaking 18 weeks and spent 4 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Pop Songs chart. Later that year, it was nominated for three Grammy awards. All of the quality and appeal that found ‘Iris’ in the hearts and minds of millions worldwide is evident in abundance in You Should Be Happy.

Goo Goo Dolls fans and beyond should be happy that they have yet another top drawer offering from one of the all time great Rock bands.

You Should Be Happy is available now to stream and download via Warner Bros. Records and will also be available on CD from June 9th.

Listen to and purchase the EP Here: ‘You Should Be Happy’

Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘You Should Be Happy’- EP Review

UPI – Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik Says He Still Gets Jitters Sometimes

By Karen Butler

He’s been the lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls for 30 years, but John Rzeznik still gets nervous in certain situations.

Case in point: Reporters at a recent New York press day asked Rzeznik what song fans request most. “I thought it would have been ‘Iris,'” he said, “But there is a song called ‘Better Days,’ which, actually, more people have listened to that song than ‘Iris,’ which I thought was really weird.”

So he was coaxed to sing a few bars.

“No! I get nervous,” he said. “I do get nervous. If I don’t have a guitar, I’m, like, a mess.”

The musician said that before performances he warms up his voice by singing vocal scales.

“And then I tell myself: ‘No matter what the situation is, I’m grateful to be here. I’m lucky to be here. People paid money to come see me play, so go do a good show.’ And, then, some nights I have to run out onto the stage because once you run out, you can’t come back,” he said. “Once you’re out there, you can’t come back. … We have the best fans in the world.”

Goo Goo Dolls released an EP called You Should be Happy, as well as a lyric video for its new song “Use Me,” last week.

American Idol winner Phillip Phillips is joining the rock band on its Long Way Home tour from July through September.

“It’s going to be an awesome tour. I’m excited to play with him. He’s really great,” Rzeznik said of Phillips. “I love his songs. I love his voice. I love his presence on stage. He has great energy.”

Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik Still Gets Jitters Sometimes

Goo Goo Dolls’ Johnny Rzeznik Talks Summer Tour, Mocks ‘Iris’ in Promo Video

5/12/2017 by Taylor Weatherby

The Goo Goo Dolls are heading out on another summer tour this year, the Long Way Home tour (with Phillip Phillips) kicking off in July. But despite being 30 years and countless tours into their career, frontman Johnny Rzeznik suggests that this summer is going to be bigger and better than ever before.

“I think the shows are going to be longer,” he tells Billboard. “Obviously we’re going to play all the hits, but we’re going to go a lot deeper in the catalog.”

While they will be playing some of the classics, part of their set list will likely consist of the four new songs the rock band just released on Friday (May 12). Titled You Should Be Happy — a title with no true relevance; Rzeznik insists it just popped into his head — the EP features four new songs (along with a remix of their song “Boxes”) that “goes back to the old Goo Goo Dolls,” he says.

To promote the tour, Rzeznik recorded a video of his set list-building process, which parodies his band’s most famous hit “Iris.” The song essentially follows Rzeznik everywhere he goes, a concept that he felt was a bit too sappy and serious at first. “I was like, ‘I’m full-on ready to get the piss taken out of me… If we’re going to do it let’s go all the way.'”

Although the video makes it clear that “Iris” has the tendency to be a bit overexposed, Rzeznik insists there has never been a night where he wasn’t looking forward to playing it for fans. 

“When the mandolin comes into the top, it’s like people recognize the song and there’s this rush of energy. It’s as new as the first day I played it,” he says. “It’s pretty gratifying to have a song that big and made such a big impact and have a life for so long. I just always find myself always grateful that song came into my life… It’s one of those things like getting hit by lightning: It doesn’t happen very often. When people tell me their stories about their connection to that song, sometimes it’s really moving. I’m overwhelmed, because I’m a guy from Buffalo who was in a garage band.”

It’s that kind of fan reaction and energy that keeps Rzeznik and longtime bandmate Robby Takac wanting to get back out on the road. “You get four, five, sometimes 10,000 people in the same place all there for the same thing — it’s intense, that kind of human contact. A lot of that is missing now. A live show is something that can never ever be duplicated on a computer.”

Another thing that pushes Rzeznik personally is the fact that he gets panicky about not working.

“As soon as we finish a tour, I think, ‘Oh my god, I’m unemployed.’ I swear to God, every time I’m not touring, I hear my father yelling, ‘You’re unemployed if you’re not working every day,'” he laughs.

In other family matters, he’ll have a little sidekick on the road this time around: His 4-month-old daughter, Liliana. “I bought her pink headphones already,” he says, adding with a laugh, “maybe there will be some bedazzling with my wife before the tour.”

With new music, a new tourmate and the same enthusiasm they’ve always had, the Goo Goo Dolls are ready for three months of doing what they love most. And for Rzeznik, that’s all he could really ask for how to spend a summer.

“I’m just happy to be in front of people again. Having another summer and spend every night outside,” he says. “We made a lot of friends on the way and it’s nice to get to see them once in a while.”

Johnny Rzeznik Talks Summer Tour


WNY Papers: Goo Goo Dolls announce release of new EP, ‘You Should Be Happy’

Multiplatinum, Grammy-nominated Goo Goo Dolls announce the release of their new, five-song EP, “You Should Be Happy,” via Warner Bros. Records. The EP was recorded at EastWest studios in LA and produced by Drew Pearson (OneRepublic, Katy Perry), who first collaborated with the band on their previous release, “Boxes.”

The first single, “Use Me,” was written by John Rzeznik and Pearson.

The EP is available at all digital retailers HERE, and will also be released on CD June 9.

As announced last month, the band will hit the road this summer for the “Long Way Home” tour with special guest Phillip Phillips. The tour kicks off July 14 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain, California, and will run through mid-September, culminating at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Sept. 13. Tickets and more information are available at and

The 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 Goo Goo Dolls perform at Darien Lake on Saturday, Aug. 12.

AG Forum Post

Goo Goo Dolls’ Robby Takac’s InRock Blog for May

Hey Hey In Rockers and Welcome to The Lobby … Hope you had a great Golden Week! It’s now full-fledged spring season here in Buffalo, NY and The Cherry Blossoms are in bloom! It was a warm winter and the blossoms are coming out early this year. That’s awesome on one hand, because we get our minds out of the winter blues, but here in Buffalo our Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled for a specific weekend and we’re afraid the Blossoms will be gone in the time that passes! There is a beautiful Japanese Garden in a large park here in Buffalo that hosts the Hanami Matsuri event over a weekend with musical acts and activities for children as well as tea ceremonies and a Cherry Blossom Parade with all of their kids and their families. The event is small by comparison to anything you would see in Japan, and much smaller than many in the US, Washington DC has a major festival every year, but we are very happy we get to have the feeling of cherry blossoms in the Spring while we live in Buffalo. Miyoko and Hana and I got to spend some time enjoying some Ocha on the lawn under the blossoms and our Spring has begun!

Miyoko and I have been home for most of the month readying our personal world for another visit from Osaka’s Shonen Knife for a tour here in the US called “The USA Ramen Adventure” which spends 5 weeks making it’s way around the US through late April and May. If you’re not “in the know” Shonen Knife is an all girl pop/punk band from Osaka, which has been making music and touring the world for the past 35 years, check them out if you’re not familiar.

Setting up an indie tour together is a ton of work for the band and especially for Miyoko who puts the majority of the tour together along with the help of a booking agent, a publicist and myself. I think they may be the ultimate example of a DIY cross-cultural phenomenon, always being able to survive and grow and adapt to keep delivering their message. As in the case of most successful artists, the band’s founder and leader Naoko’s drive and dedication makes it all work with the help of other inspired people who believe in her idea as well.

So, this is where the story gets interesting …. my wife leaves for the tour, and my 5 year old daughter and I are here at home for the next 5 weeks. Goo Goo Dolls happen to have only one show during this time before we start a 60 show run on our “Long Way Home” Summer US Tour, so I’m a full time Papa for the next bunch of weeks, that’s easy, except for one thing, my daughter is in Japanese school here in the US, and now I have to help her with her homework every day before school! So I begin what is a crash course in Hiragana beginning this week! I already know many Japanese words and some simple sentence structure and a bit of useful (and many not so useful, but still un!) phrases from living with a Japanese person for the past 15 years, but I can’t read at all … and here we go …. A, I, u, e, o, ka, ki … it’s going to be fun (I think). Stay tuned…

Ok, It’s time to keep making all of this happen, Goo Goo Dolls have released a limited edition vinyl box set called “Pickpockets, Petty Thieves and Tiny Victories” which is a collection of our first 5 albums, some on vinyl for the very first time, check that out if you like that kind of stuff, and we’ll be releasing a new EP “You Should be Happy” which will be out in May in time for our US Tour!

Enjoy the springtime, and we’ll see you next week with a head full of Hiragana and much more to tell you here in the pages of In Rock!



Robby’s May InRock Blog

“Johnny Gruesome” Theme Song Scored By Robby Takac, Co-Founder Of The Goo Goo Dolls

CONTACT: Gregory Lamberson,

The soundtrack for the upcoming Red Hill Movies LLC horror thriller Johnny Gruesome, featuring a score composed by Armand John Petri and Joe Rozler, will include an original theme song performed by Robby Takac, co-founder of the bestselling rock act the Goo Goo Dolls. He, Petri, and Rozler co-wrote “Dyin’ Tonight,” which was recorded at Takac’s Buffalo, New York studio, GCR Audio.

Johnny Gruesome was written and directed by Gregory Lamberon (Slime City, Killer Rack), based on his award-winning novel, also called Johnny Gruesome.

Johnny Gruesome tells the story of a murdered high school student who returns from the grave as a vengeful monster. Petri and Rozler signed on to compose the score following their work in the same capacity on Killer Rack, and enlisted Takac to collaborate on “Dyin’ Tonight.”

“Johnny Gruesome is a rock ‘n roll monster, and we needed a score that reflected that vibe,” says Lamberson. “Armand, Joe and Robby are among the most talented music pros in Western New York, and since Johnny Gruesome is a Buffalo production, it’s fantastic to have them involved in such instrumental roles. Horror fans are going to love this score, it’s full and lush, not just synth.

An independent record producer and manager, Petri has worked with the Goo Goo Dolls, 10,000 Maniacs, and Sixpense None the Richer. Rozler is a renowned keyboardist and studio musician who has written string arrangements for Manowar and 10,000 Maniacs.

In addition to his Goo Goo Dolls role, bassist and vocalist Takac owns the record label Good Charamel Records and serves as president of the nonprofit Music Is Art Festival. All three have been inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.

Mary Ramsey of both 10,000 Maniacs and John & Mary fame played viola and violin on the score, accomplished conductor Bryan Eckenrode played cello, and Virginia Croft, honored by Miramax Films with their “Music of the Heart” award, plays violin.

The soundtrack for the film also includes songs created by Dean Italiano and Giasone Italiano for the “Gruesome” rock CD released 10 years ago to promote the novel. The film’s co-star Aprilann, who portrays Johnny’s girlfriend Karen, performed the song, “Not You” for the soundtrack.

Johnny Gruesome is now wrapping post-production, and Lamberson will soon seek distribution. “Dyin’ Tonight” will be available on iTunes before the film is released. The “Gruesome” CD by the Italianos is currently available on Amazon and iTunes.

Johnny Gruesome Facebook page:

Robby Takac/GCR Audio


Robby Takac/Good Charamel Records

Robby Takac/Music Is Art Festival

Armand John Petri:

P.I.C Publishing/Dean Italiano and Giasone Italiano:



Filmmaker Gregory Lamberson’s horror films: KILLER RACK now on VOD and DVD
Amazon Author Page:

“Johnny Gruesome” Soundtrack Scored by Robby Takac