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.

Goo Goo Dolls’ Johnny Rzeznik Reflects on Unexpected ‘Iris’ Success and ‘Drunken Brawl’ Tour with Sugar Ray

As Rzeznik prepares to hit the road for a Goo Goo Dolls anniversary tour, he looks back at the record that changed everything for the band.

This week, the Goo Goo Dolls will do something they’ve never done before: play their hit 1998 album “Dizzy Up the Girl” in full on stage.

Yep, to mark “Dizzy’s” 20th anniversary, the band is hitting the road for a a tour where they’ll play all 13 tracks from the album, some of them for the first time ever. And what an album it was. Not only did “Dizzy” include the supernova of a hit “Iris,” but also incredibly popular singles “Slide,” “Broadway” and “Black Balloon.”

Speaking with TooFab about the tour, frontman Johnny Rzeznik said he was inspired by Cheap Trick, who played one of their first four albums in their entirety at four different shows in Chicago in 1998. After presenting the idea to Live Nation as just a handful of shows, the promoter suggested an all out tour, which kicks off Sunday night in Phoenix, Arizona.

“I think 20 years later I’m a little more proficient on my instruments,” Rzeznik told TooFab. “So, it may lack some of the naiveté of the original, but I’ll do my best.”

While they’ve played the bigger hits from the album in recent years, the now-52-year-old rocker admits that “there’s songs on that album that we’ve never performed … and there’s definitely a reason why we didn’t perform them, I think.”

He said the tour is for the band’s “hardcore fan base,” and will also include “obscure old material, from when we were a quote-unquote ‘punk rock’ band,” going as far back as their fourth record, “Hold Me Up.”

Though the guys had their first hit with “Name” off of “A Boy Named Goo,” it wasn’t until “Dizzy” — their sixth album — that the band really broke through.

“When that album came out it was, you know, we weren’t kids anymore,” Rzeznik said of their evolving sound. “The first two records were all balls and no-brains. I developed more than one feeling. It was nice to get to express that. It was scary too, people were used to seeing a much more quote-unquote — I love using smart quotes — ‘punk show.'”

“I started writing songs that I felt like reflected who I was and where I was at, at that time,” he continued.

Their career totally changed when Rzeznik wrote a song for a little Meg Ryan/Nicolas Cage film called “City of Angels,” their insanely successful “Iris.” While the song was written for the movie and on the film’s soundtrack, Rzeznik put it on “Dizzy” as well, because he really didn’t think anyone would hear it otherwise.

“They accepted it for the soundtrack, and I was like, ‘Ok, good, I’m putting it on my record too,'” he explained. “I didn’t expect that song to be a hit, because of where we were in the lineup on that album. Peter Gabriel, Alanis Morissette, U2 were on it. And it’s like, who was going to listen to us when you have all of those people on there? We were the dark horse in that race and that’s arguably the biggest song of our career.”

Rzeznik said the song’s success “definitely changed the course” of the band’s trajectory and it’s a song he’ll never tire being asked about.

“I’m grateful every time somebody comes to see me to play that song, or every time I hear it in the supermarket or in an elevator, or on the radio, or on XM; I’m really grateful for it,” he said. “I change the channel, but I always pause for a second and go, ‘You could be working in a supermarket right now.’ Never, ever get sick of that. As long as somebody wants to hear me sing it, I will, because it gave me a life.”

When asked whether a particular fan encounter about the song stuck out, Rzeznik had one ready to go, too. “The one guy I remember is a guy working at Home Depot and I came in there and I was looking for something and he recognized me. He said ‘That’s mine and my girl’s song,’ and then he said to me, ‘Do you know how much you got me laid?’ and I was like, ‘Well I hope it was enough!'”

“I’m just grateful and if I’m not grateful, then I’m a jerk,” he added.

In the 20 years since “Dizzy” was released, the music industry has become a totally different place than it was in 1998. Nobody buys physical albums, sales have dropped dramatically and touring is where all the money comes from these days. Rzeznik sees the streaming age as both a blessing and a curse.

“One thing I love about it is, on a level, with the internet, cyberspace and all that it has democratized what people get to hear,” he said. “On the other level, on the other side of that coin, it’s more difficult to get paid, which I think is being worked out but it’s not as though I’m going to get a retroactive check.”

“I think the interesting thing that’s going on now, a lot of people are just doing it for the love of it,” he added. “Not for the money, because it’s incredibly hard to make money now.”

Another thing that’s changed over the years: their after-concert routine. When the band hit the road with this album two decades ago, they did it alongside Fastball and Sugar Ray, who really knew how to party.

“I’m going to put this on the record and I’m gonna say this as best as possible, because it’s meant in the best possible sense of the word, ok?” Rzeznik explained. “Never in my life have I met bigger rockstars than Sugar Ray. They lived it, they lived it to the hilt. They were also the nicest guys, just really unaffected, but they were like, ‘F–k it, we’re doing everything.'”

“I was allowed to go along for the ride a couple of times and that was plenty for me, but man, that was the most fun I’d ever had,” he said. “When we talk about it, we call it the drunken brawl, which it kind of was. It was a drunken brawl that went around the world. It was so much fun.”

“20 years later, I think after-show is going to be a little bit quieter, we’re all gonna call home, you know, get sleep,” he added. “But it’s going to be fun. I’m really looking forward to it.”

The Dizzy Up The Girl 20th Anniversary Tour kicks off September 30 in Phoenix, Arizona — for info on tickets visit!

Goo Goo Dolls Add a Third Night in Buffalo to the #dizzy20 Tour!

Due to overwhelming demand, Goo Goo Dolls have added a third hometown performance in Buffalo for their Dizzy Up the Girl 20th Anniversary Tour! Shows at Shea’s are sold out for 10/19 & 10/20, but tickets for 10/21 go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. As per “We’ve just added a third night in Buffalo on our Tour on Sun Oct 21! Fan Club pre-sale begins Tue 9/25 @ 10am ET – Thurs 9/27 @ 10pm ET. Public on-sale is this Fri 9/28 @ 10am ET at .”


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.

Stereogum; Goo Goo Dolls/John Rzeznik Dizzy Up The Girl Interview

You don’t have to have been alive in 1998 to instantly recognize that jangly mandolin, swelling strings, and those crisp acoustic chords. The Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris,” a single written for the late-’90s Nic Cage-Meg Ryan cryfest City Of Angels, continues its ubiquity, even 20 years after it first dominated the airwaves. Turn on any soft-rock station, hit the grocery store, or visit a dentist’s office — you might just hear lead singer John Rzeznik’s gravelly croon.

And if it’s not “Iris,” it could be one of a string of other Clinton-era classics, many of which show up on the Buffalo group’s sixth, breakout record, Dizzy Up The Girl, which turns 20 years old tomorrow. Rzeznik, who has faithfully put out album after album since the band’s inception in 1986 (their 11th effort, Boxes, came out in 2016), has nothing but profound appreciation for the music that made him and his Dolls partner, bassist Robby Takac, famous. Not only is he more than happy to play songs like “Black Balloon,” “Slide,” and “Broadway” (among others) as many times as audiences want to hear them, but he’s still positive that every show he plays is going to be his last.

“A lot people don’t remember that Robby and I put out five records before that record came out,” Rzeznik tells me, referencing the band’s earlier, edgier material, like 1989’s Jed and 1993’s Superstar Car Wash. “[So] I’m convinced every time I walk out on stage [that] this is the last dollar I’m ever going to make. So I’d better do it right.”

“The good part about being a pessimist is, when something bad happens, you’re never really devastated by it,” he continues. “And when something good happens, it’s such a bonus.”

Contrary to his fatalistic outlook, Rzeznik will hit the road again, and soon, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Dizzy Up The Girl. The band will play the album in full at a series of North American concerts beginning 9/30. But first Rzeznik chatted with me to reminisce about Dizzy; feeling awkward around Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, and Bruce Springsteen; playing the MTV Beach House; and why he never expected to start a family or even live past 50.

STEREOGUM: Tell me about the live album, The Audience Is This Way, you released this summer.

JOHN RZEZNIK: We recorded 100 shows, then we had to go dig through all of them and find the best ones or eliminate the worst ones. Then we kind of put it together. It was over the course of a few years. So it’s interesting to hear some of the audiences are really big and some of them are small. That was something that the record company wanted us to do. We’re going to put it out just on vinyl. It goes back; all of our tours go back. We always play new music, but you know you have to play all the hits. I always think that’s really sort of an insult to the audience if you don’t play them the songs that they know.

STEREOGUM: It seems like you have an especially good relationship with your hits from the ’90s and early ’00s.

RZEZNIK: Yeah. My god, a lot of people actually liked a few songs I wrote. I mean that’s pretty amazing.

STEREOGUM: You and the band are preparing to go on tour for the 20th anniversary of Dizzy Up The Girl. But the Goo Goo Dolls were putting out records for a decade prior to that. What do you think about when you look back at 30 years of Goo Goo Dolls?

RZEZNIK: “Holy shit, I’m old” is the first thing I think of. It’s like, my god, I’ve never done anything else in my life. I’ve been in this band longer than I haven’t been in this band. It’s pretty crazy to think about that.

STEREOGUM: What keeps you invested in it?

RZEZNIK: You know what, it still feels good to do. It still feels right and people still want to come see us. It would be silly not to do it, you know? It beats working for a living.

STEREOGUM: That’s the dream, when your work never really feels like work.

RZEZNIK: Yeah, my job is really pretty awesome, actually. I mean it’s getting a little more difficult at times; it tries my patience a little bit more because I just want to be where my daughter is. She’s so much fun, man, and I don’t get to see her all the time. We FaceTime every day. It’s sweet but it’s kind of heartbreaking at the same time. This kid is so cool. It’s so strange to be talking about that. I mean, I never would have thought about that 20 years ago when this record came out.

STEREOGUM: At what point did you start thinking about kids?

RZEZNIK: I didn’t think about start having kids until like I was 48, 49 years old. I was just sort of like, “Why do I want this?” I mean, I spent 10, maybe like 12 or 13 years being completely soused all the time. I was a very selfish alcoholic/addict kind of guy just kind of doing my thing and I had no room in my life for anything or anybody except my music and my drinking. After I got cleaned up and stayed that way for a while, it just sort of naturally fell into place.

STEREOGUM: I was going back and reading some interviews you did around the time that Dizzy Up the Girl came out.

RZEZNIK: I can’t imagine what kind of bullshit came out of my mouth.

STEREOGUM: A lot of it was pretty introspective. In a 1999 interview for Teen People, you were talking about your upbringing and your dad and getting out of Buffalo. You talked about how you found music as a late teen and how it saved you from being drunk all of the time and how you never wanted to end up like your father.

RZEZNIK: Yeah, and being like everyone I grew up with. I mean my mother always wanted us to be individuals. She always instilled that into our brains which was incredibly painful for an adolescent to deal with. But I mean I started life as the odd guy out because I was the only boy in my family. My dad wasn’t around a lot so it was like from day one I got carried in the door and I wasn’t like anybody else. It put this kind of distance between me and them. I’m close to my sisters but I would never be as close as they would be with each other.

STEREOGUM: But then in more recent interviews, you’ve talked about the fact that you still spent a lot of years not being sober.

RZEZNIK: There was a point in time where I really believed that I was supposed to die like my father, which is basically prematurely and very drunk. I thought my destiny was to drink myself to death. I didn’t think I would live past 50 because he didn’t live past 50. It took me a long time. I was sober three years by the time I said, “I’m not my father. I don’t have to live his life.”

STEREOGUM: It’s interesting that you would think that even when your life became so radically different from your father’s.

RZEZNIK: My life was nothing like my father’s. But that was one of the main reasons that two of my sisters and I never thought that we would have kids. I think a lot of it had to do with the chaotic upbringing that we had. [But] you know, I met the right person.

STEREOGUM: It’s remarkable that you and Robby Takac have been playing together, and truly remained friends, for this long. I think that’s a rarity in the music world. Egos tend to get in the way.

RZEZNIK: Yeah, it’s pretty rare. Robby and I, we definitely had a lot of fights. Everybody had to learn how to respect each other’s boundaries and just not get into any of this peripheral bullshit rock star behavior with each other. It’s like, you hear about all these bands that are huge and they have to walk in separate doors, they can’t talk to each other, they’ve got to fly on different planes. It’s like, I understand we all need a break from each other, but I’m actually glad to see [him]. I still have breakfast with Robby every morning when we’re working or on tour. He and I get together and discuss what’s going on and have some coffee and hang out. It’s a good thing.

STEREOGUM: I thought that video you and Robby produced to announce the Dizzy Up The Girl anniversary tour, where you’re poking fun at yourselves and “Iris,” was pretty funny.

RZEZNIK: Yeah. You know, you have to. I don’t think it was tongue-in-cheek enough. I watched it and I went, “Uh I hope nobody will take this seriously.”

STEREOGUM: I hope no one DOES take it seriously.

RZEZNIK: It was definitely meant as a joke. Neither of us are actors. It was fun doing it. You’ve got to take the piss out of yourself.

STEREOGUM: It was endearing. Speaking of “Iris,” it’s a bit of an understatement to say that it was played a lot on the radio upon release, and years later. Did there ever come a point where you just couldn’t listen to it anymore?

RZEZNIK: No, no, no. Honest to god. I never once got sick of playing that song. People used to come up to me all the time and go, “I love that song man but I’m really sick of hearing it every two minutes.” I had to think to myself, I mean I was just trying to be modest with myself or whatever, but I’m grateful that something like that song came into my life. That song really literally changed my life and it certainly was a part of a lot of other people’s lives. To experience a gift like that is pretty amazing.

STEREOGUM: When all of this was going down, when Dizzy Up The Girl really hit it big, was there ever a point where you looked back and you were like, “Jesus, I can’t believe this happened?”

RZEZNIK: Yeah, it was pretty crazy. Like, standing in a room with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts having a conversation with them like normal people and then thinking about it and going, “Wow, that was weird.”

Robby and I used to say to each other, “This is a really nice neighborhood we’re strolling through but let’s not get used to it because we’re musicians. We’re not celebrities. We’re musicians.” Eventually the shine wears off of you and you have to go back to work. If I wanted to be a celebrity, I wouldn’t have been a musician.

I’m grateful that the success we had came later because I’m sure either him or me would’ve died, because it was really heavy. A lot of parts that [came with fame] were very disingenuous. For example, I didn’t get any better looking, but all the girls that wanted to hang out with me got better looking. All of a sudden all these girls wanted to talk to me that never wanted to talk to me before. It’s like, okay, I’ll roll with it for a little while.

STEREOGUM: It’s funny you say that — I was watching this video earlier today of you guys playing at the MTV Beach House in 1999. Was that weird at the time? I mean, I know how odd I feel as a 31-year-old walking into Urban Outfitters. Was that at all weird just being in your early 30s and playing to just a giant crowd of 19-year-olds who are triple-kissing each other or whatever?

RZEZNIK: Yeah, a little bit, but you know there are worse things I could do with my life. I don’t think anybody really paid attention to the fact that we were 10 years older than them. Whenever I got involved in those situations, I would go in, I would sit on the bus or in the dressing room or wherever I was and then I would get called to do my bit and we would get out of there as fast as possible.

STEREOGUM: At the risk of being mobbed or something?

RZEZNIK: No. Just at the risk of, I don’t know, getting sucked into a weird scene. It was about sort of sensing the weird superficiality of the whole thing and being like, “Yeah, I’m here and I’m happy that I get to be here but like these are not my friends.” I still got the same friends I had from 30 years ago; they’re still my friends.

STEREOGUM: Well that’s kind fascinating that you can keep that mindset.

RZEZNIK: [Laughs] Well, I didn’t say we kept it 100% of the time.

STEREOGUM: Ha. So when “Iris” came out, did other studios come knocking down your door to write songs for their films?

RZEZNIK: A few. The director for City Of Angels, we sort of had a disagreement. I did two songs for a Disney movie which was probably the most incredible experience in my life, getting to work with all these people from Disney. They have a way that they work. When you go work for Disney, they give you a little book and you read this little book and it kind of tells you, “This is the way we do things” and you adhere to that set of rules or suggestions. It’s really fun. I was so blown away that a couple of hundred people could work together so closely for such a long period of time and really support each other and support the project to make it a success. I got caught up in that, “Come on, team. We’re going to be great!”

STEREOGUM: One other thing I always loved about Dizzy is that there’s so much orchestration. That’s what keeps those songs feeling classic to me. Whose decision was it to add string arrangements?

RZEZNIK: I had a producer that wanted to use strings and I finally had enough money to hire the string players.

STEREOGUM: Well, there you go. Here’s something else I always wondered. In the song “Slide,” you sing to a person named “May.” Who is “May”?

RZEZNIK: No one. Just a name that came out of my mouth in the studio.

STEREOGUM: Ah. You sing that name with such affection.

RZEZNIK: Thank you very much. I appreciate that. That song is very much East Side Story kind of thing. When I say East Side Story, I just mean I grew up on the east side of Buffalo. That was a not-so-apocryphal tale about some hard choices and dealing with a very rigid culture with a lot of demands put on the people who are part of that community, whether it was religious pressure, family pressure. It was really interesting to me to examine all those things.

STEREOGUM: Did you grow up with that sort of conservationism?

RZEZNIK: Everybody was a democrat where we grew up. It was a blue-collar town and the democrats represented the working class and the unions. But very, very super-conservative Catholic, very proud immigrant community, very stoic.

I remember meeting one of my father’s old friends after I had done a long interview and I mentioned some stuff about my family. I remembered him taking me aside and saying, “Listen, you don’t talk about your family like that in public. You don’t say nothing.”

I just sort of laughed about it because it was just like, yeah, it was so old school, that’s how it worked there. You keep that in the family and you don’t talk to anybody about it because you can’t lose your pride.

STEREOGUM: Well speaking of leaving home, you’ve done so much touring in your 30 years as a band. Looking at all of the acts you’ve hit the road with — the bubblegum-pop bands of the late ’90s and early ’00s, more radio-“alternative” groups, like Collective Soul, and even some legacy acts like Sheryl Crow and Bon Jovi — who stands out to you the most, if anyone?

RZEZNIK: I actually had a conversation with Bruce Springsteen and he said, “Hi, welcome to the family” because we were doing this show. I said, “Hi” and I shook his hand and I said, “I have no idea what to say to you.” He kind of laughed about it and walked away. I was like, “Well there you go Rzeznik, you missed your chance.”

STEREOGUM: He probably gets that a lot.

RZEZNIK: That guy’s a force of nature. I don’t know what that guy eats for breakfast, but I want some.


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.