Academy Music Group – An Interview With: Goo Goo Dolls

Ahead of their headline tour and as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of their seminal album, Dizzy Up The Girl, we had a chat with Goo Goo Dolls vocalist, Johnny Rzeznik to talk all about the band’s career and his favourite things about coming to the UK.

It’s not long now until you return to the UK, other than the shows, is there anything in particular you’re excited for?

Well, I’m really excited about the shows. I love being over there. I could use a little break from the non-stop news coverage about Trump for sure. I like being over in the UK though, especially in the summer, it’s so nice, it’s great there.

You’re coming over at the right time then, hopefully it’ll be hot and sunny for you!

Yeah, well hot there and hot here [California] are two completely different worlds haha.

This is true! So what’s your favourite memory of touring the UK over the years?

I remember the first time we sold out O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, even though it’s not that big, there was just something so amazing about that room, I loved it so much and it’s always been a good room for us. That was something I was really amazed with.

Just getting on a bus and going for a ride in London was pretty outstanding, it’s pretty incredible to me. Kinda terrifying, but fun. Going to the Imperial War Museum, that was insane, I didn’t realise just how aggressive you people are haha.

That’s one way to put it! And you’re celebrating 20 years of Dizzy Up The Girl this year, can the UK crowds expect to hear some of their favourites live?

Oh absolutely! We’re going to play some real deeper, older cuts and I want to work more of the deeper stuff into the sets.

How does it feel now knowing that the album is 20 years old?

It makes me feel old haha. I’m really happy that we got to achieve something like that, in that people still actually want to see us play after this much time and we’re still doing well. There are so many bands that came up around the same time as us that are gone.

Looking back, is there anything you’d change about that album, if you could?

Not so much about that album. I think it’s fine the way it is, I mean is it perfect? No, and maybe if I could change the sound of a guitar here or there, or do something like that, would I do it? Yeah, but it is what it is, if I changed one tiny little thing I might not be doing a 20th anniversary tour.

That’s a good way to look at it.

Yeah, I could be selling cars!

Do you still feel an emotional attachment to some of the songs, even after 20 years?

Yeah, definitely. I feel an emotional attachment to them because, they’re all songs about people and places and there’s a sort of cryptic autobiographical thing going on. Sometimes I’m a little more attached to them, sometimes I still get a little emotional when I think about what was going on in my life at that time.

Is it weird remembering where you were at that time?

I was at this super intense, creative point in my life and our band had sort of broken with Boy Named Goo, but that album [Dizzy Up The Girl] blew up really big. It was really cool, but it was also kind of a sad time too. I was going through a divorce and moved away from home for the first time, we moved to California and it was fun, but it was always tinged with a little bit of sadness.

A lot of big personal changes all happening at the same time…

Yeah and if you have a creative outlet, it helps you to deal with a lot of changes. Your work is always going to affect what’s going on in your life.

Well at least you had somewhere to pour all the emotional energy and create some amazing albums over the years.

Thank you! I’m so grateful for that and I get the question, “Aren’t you sick of playing ‘Iris’?” a lot, and it’s like, no because that song, along with a few others is the reason I have a career, so of course I’m not going to get sick of it. I’m grateful that I have anything that anybody wants to listen to.

Exactly! So how do you pick the perfect setlist?

First for us, it’s the rule of y’know, you’ve got to give people what they paid for, so there’s a list of about 12 songs that were all hits and you’ve got to play those. People are expecting to hear songs they know. I hate it when I go to a show and I’m like, “Come on can you just play at least one song I know?”

So there are those and then there are the songs that the band enjoys playing, and the ones that weren’t commercially successful, but really popular with the fans, so we’ll dig in there. It’s not always easy and that’s a luxury problem to have, to have too many songs that people know… we’ll just have to play longer and I’m not going to complain about that.

You must have experienced a lot in your career, so what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?

Don’t let your ego get in the way of keeping things together, that’s a big lesson. Robby Takac (Bass) and I have both had our moments where we’re egotistical a**holes to each other. Listen to people and respect each other’s boundaries and define everybody’s role clearly. The band’s that make it and stay together aren’t a democracy, it just doesn’t work.

Those are some very wise words. Are there any goals or dreams you’d still like to achieve with Goo Goo Dolls?

I think I would like to have one more record that has one solid, big hit on it. It’s so different these days. We always do pretty well on radio over in the US and we get to like, number 15 on the chart, which I’m grateful for, because everything here is so factory pop music. It’s very R&B driven and at some point it has to burn itself out, but it doesn’t appear to be that way.

There’s also the question of like, I’m fine, but there’s so much great music out there and it doesn’t get a fair chance because radio has become nothing but real estate. There’s a lot of great music that never gets heard because it won’t generate more money for the stations. I understand it, but I think it’s incredibly unfair.

What about the future of Goo Goo Dolls? Is there more new music on the way?

Yeah actually, we sorted through 100 shows, picked 22 songs and mixed them to become a two-volume live album. I’ve also started writing for the next album and I think I have about four or five songs in the can for that. Right now I’m taking a week off to be with my daughter and then I’ll get back at it.

Well we’re glad to hear there’s more new stuff on the way and we can’t wait to have you back in the UK!

If you want to experience the pop-rock legends live, then you better be quick as there are only tickets left for their London show at O2 academy Brixton! See below for full details:

O2 Academy Bristol: Tuesday 24 July – SOLD OUT

O2 Ritz Manchester: Wednesday 25 July – SOLD OUT

O2 Academy Brixton: Thursday 26 July

An Interview With: Goo Goo Dolls

Global News – TLC, Ma$e and Goo Goo Dolls headline Edmonton’s new Soundtrack Music Festival

By Emily Mertz
Edmonton is known as festival city and on Saturday, its newest addition will transform Kinsmen Park into a 90s-themed music event.

Soundtrack Music Festival runs from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the river valley park and features performances from Ma$e, Blind Melon, TLC and the Goo Goo Dolls.

The festival will also have an on-site nanny service, a slew of food trucks, live mural painting, and is entirely licensed for those 18 and over.

“Nobody is going to be hungry at Soundtrack! We’ve got some of the best food trucks in Edmonton on-site including Bubba’s Grill, Divine Crepes, Explore India, Hot Mess, Irie Foods, Lemon Heaven, Poutine World, Preserve, Rapscallions and The Purple Perogy,” a news release from organizers said.

READ MORE: 2018 Edmonton Folk Fest headliners: The Decemberists, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Shakey Graves and more

Soundtrack will even let you leave the park for a bit and come back easily.

“You are welcome to come early, leave to drop off your kids, and come back! We don’t want to restrict your exerience because of other obligations.”

For tickets and to view the full Soundtrack Music Festival schedule, click here:

Organizers said they hope the festival becomes a “flagship donation generator for the Kinsmen Club of Edmonton.”

HR Scene – Goo Goo Dolls Among Headliners Announced For 25th American Music Festival

By Kevin Green

Virginia Beach’s annual American Music Festival will feature two bands who have performed there previously: ZZ Top and Goo  Goo Dolls.

Those are two of the bands that will headline the Oceanfront 5th Street Main Stage for the 25th Annual American Music Festival, which runs August 31 – September 2.

Festival organizers announced Monday that Ziggy Marley and SOJA (Soldiers of Jah Army) will co-headline the first night of the festival on Friday, August 31.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show each night — with Preferred Viewing tickets priced at $50 and $60 day-of-show, depending on availability.

Goo  Goo Dolls will take the stage Saturday, September 1, with ZZ Top rounding out the festival on Sunday, September 2. Ana Popovic and The Josephines will open the show on Sunday.

Shows each night will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the gates opening at 5 p.m. Get more information about the festival — including where to buy tickets — here:

*** Tickets and VIP Experience Passes are on sale Friday, June 22 through all Ticketmaster outlets, including online or by phone at 800.745.3000.  Children younger than 12 are free with a paid adult.  Children are not free in VIP nor Preferred Viewing areas.  The Virginia Beach Visitor Information Center will be selling three-day general admission pass vouchers.  There is a $2 service fee.  Cash and checks are accepted.  The Visitor Information Center is located at 2100 Parks Avenue.  Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily (757.385.7873).***

Goo Goo Dolls Among Headliners of 25th Annual American Music Festival

Win a Meet & Greet With the Goo Goo Dolls in Bristol, Manchester, & London!

Do you have tickets to see the Goo Goo Dolls perform in Bristol, Manchester and/or London this July? Would you like to win a Meet & Greet pass to one of these shows? Don’t delay – Enter our lottery now, and good luck!

Reminder: One entry per person per show. Entries close 12 Noon EST 1 July, 2018. Must be 18 to enter. Meet and Greet does NOT include show ticket. Meet and Greet is for ONE person only & ID MUST match winning name.


By Joseph Diwakar
Brixton’s O2 Academy will welcome nineties rock outfit the Goo Goo Dolls in July during their European tour.

September marks the 20th anniversary of the cult band’s album, Dizzy up the girl, which included their biggest hit to date ‘Iris’.

Lead singer John Rzeznik has visited Brixton seven times, and loves it.

He said: “I just love those old London rock halls, like what’s now the Academy.

“You walk in and you’re just hit by this smell of rock and roll.”

Rzeznik is an Oasis fan, the peak of whose fame was contemporaneous with the Goo Goo Dolls’, and sings the praises of the English rock scene.

He said: “There’s a lot more energy here, I love it.

“British crowds have a lot more appetite and intensity here than at home.

“Brixton people seem just more into rock and roll than in America, where it’s all pop and hyper-pop now.”

Quite a lot has changed since the band were last in Brixton.

In 2013 he married long-term partner Melina Gallo and, two years ago, his first daughter, Lili, was born.

He admits that such massive changes naturally influence one’s songwriting.

He said: “That changes everything. Suddenly your whole world revolves around this person.

“But don’t worry. I’m not going to do one of those daddy-daddy songs.

“Not one which I’ll inflict on the whole world anyway.”

Being a rock star is not always conducive to a family life, particularly as Mrs Rzeznik works as well.

“We FaceTime every day. I’m almost religious about that.

“It gets to be pretty tough while I’m touring. But when I’m just at home writing I’ll take time to just hang out with Lili.”

Rzeznik’s writing takes place in a specially constructed shed near his home, with nothing but a rack of guitars adorning the walls.

He believes that listening is as much a part of songwriting as composition.

He uses his phone to record melodies which he’s thinking about.

He said: “I’ll hear a line and think, ‘I can better that’. I have a phoneful of recordings of me humming a melody, seeing what sounds good.”

Cheap Tricks and Pearl Jam are currently on his turntable, but he also admires Drew Pearson’s recent collaborations with Ke$ha, fusing alt-rock motifs with mainstream pop.

He said: “I love that. It’s very easy for rockers to get snobby about other so-called genres.

“Me, I’m just determined to be a great artistic songwriter.”

We cannot avoid talking about the song ‘Iris’.

The 1998 hit hugely contributed to the band’s fame and success, and, says Rzeznik, is one of the most- covered songs ever on UK shows Britain’s Got Talent and X-Factor.

The piece was commissioned for the soundtrack of City of Angels, based on a German original Wings of Desire which Rzeznik revisited.

He added: “That was project specific, so in some ways a lot easier.

“I got to see the movie and just thought: what must this guy be feeling.

“Being human is such a painful and wonderful thing.”

The song was huge, and Rzeznik is still considering similar projects 20 years on.

He said: “In many ways it was a lot easier, having this project already in front of you.

“I’d do it again; I reckon have seven or eight movie scores still in me.”

Fans can expect to hear some new work in Brixton in July, plus some deep cuts.

“We’ve got to play all the hits though,” said Rzeznik, “mostly this’ll be about rocking out and having a great time.

What: Goo Goo Dolls
O2 Academy Brixton
July 26
Short walk from Brixton rail and tube station

Goo Goo Dolls Delighted to Return to Brixton


Goo Goo Dolls to Play the Fillmore in San Francisco on November 6th!


Goo Goo Dolls have added a new date to their Dizzy Up The Girl 20th Anniversary Tour;

San Francisco at the Fillmore on November 6th!

Inner Machine member? The fan club pre-sale will begin today, Tuesday, June 12th at 10am local venue time and end on Thursday, June 14th at 10pm local time. There will be VIP Packages available at the time of purchase. Public onsales begin this Friday, June 15th, 10am local.



Do you have tickets to see Goo Goo Dolls perform in Madrid and/or Barcelona this July? Would you like to win a pair of M&G passes to one of these shows? Don’t delay – Enter our lottery now, and good luck!

Reminder: One entry per person per show. Entries close 12 Noon EST 17/6/18. Must be 18 to enter. Meet and Greet does NOT include show ticket. Meet and Greet is for ONE person only & ID MUST match winning name.

Goo Goo Dolls to perform at the Island Resort Showroom in Harris, MI September 14th & 15th!

By:  Mollie Hollebeke

HARRIS — The Island Resort & Casino has announced that the Goo Goo Dolls are coming to the Island Showroom this fall.

Scheduled to perform September 14 and 15, the multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated Goo Goo Dolls are an influential force in popular music. The band has sold more than 12 million albums since 1986. They have scored 14 Top 10 radio hits, 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 full length studio albums. On May 12, 2017, they released their first 5 song EP, You Should Be Happy.

Tickets are on sale now for $45. You can get them at the Island Ticket Office, or online by clicking here.

Goo Goo Dolls at the Island Resort Showroom


Heyhey In Rockers and Welcome to The Lobby, a Springtime version of the monthly column here in the pages of The Mighty In Rock, but here as i sit in Buffalo, NY, it’s been freezing (and I hear it was also cold on the first day off Spring in Tokyo) and just a short distance from here in NYC they were hit with a huge storm on the very first day of Spring. So, let’s think some warm thoughts as we make our way through our journey this month, let’s generate some heat here and look ahead to the warm and sunny days of Cherry Blossom time.

Goo Goo Dolls headlined The Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia this month! A 31 hour total flight from Buffalo to NYC to Jakarta through, you guessed it, Narita Airport. This was surely my shortest trip ever to Japan, but I did manage to get a nice Curry lunch during my layover. I felt like I wanted to run out of the airport just to scream KONNICHIWA and kiss the ground before I got onto the plane for another 8 hours, but once I had some rice and Curry i felt a little better about things and made my way to the gate my 3rd plane.

Having never been to Indonesia I spent most of my short time there wandering around Jakarta visiting the National monument and just walking around the city taking it all in. This year was the first time we had ever been to Southeast Asia having visited Manila ands Thailand late last year, Jakarta was very reminiscent of these places, lots of motor bikes, tuk tuks and people rushing around in a chaotic blend of different kinds of folks making their way through their every day lives. Wish we could have stayed longer to see more of Indonesia, but most of our short time there was filled with press conferences, sound checks and just trying to keep our jet lag at bay long enough to have a great show.

The Java Jazz festival was a eclectic mix of bands from every genre imaginable quite honestly, tons of regional acts as well as Jazz legends like famed guitarist Lee Rittenauer and living legend Dionne Warwick as well as Vanessa Williams, Relish, Incognito, pop newcomer Lauve from San Francisco and many others to make up one of the most diverse mixtures of musical acts i believe we’ve ever been involved with. The audience was amazing, the people we met around the city were so friendly and happy to have us visit for the first time, but as quickly as we made it over to Indonesia it seemed like were just as quickly back on an airplane to the US. A crazily busy few day, although the saving grace was it did mean another one of those ultra short visit to Japan and another awesome bowl of Curry (but this time beef)!

After returning home my wife Miyoko and I began preparing for a string of releases from some of the bands on our Good Charamel Records label over the next few months including the single Sakura Sakura by Tokyo’s DJ Sashimi, she will be performing along with Tokyo’s The Molice at Brooklyn’s Sakura Matsuri celebration. The Molice has a new DVD maxi single being released next month to accompany their US tour which will begin in April and run through August including a string of Cherry Blossom Festival dates across the Northeastern US. And lastly, but certainly not least, the legendary Shonen Knife from Osaka will be doing a tour of Europe in April supporting a new live DVD/CD set called “ALIVE! In Osaka” which will be released in May worldwide! So as I said, busy, busy, busy; but still making it happen

Goo Goo Dolls will be releasing a live album “The Audience is This Way”” later this year, we are putting the finishing touches on it now and we’ll be touring all over Europe / The UK this summer, and some pretty special stuff coming up in the fall too, stay tuned, promise that I’ll frill you in! Have a great Spring and I hope to see you all next month here at The Lobby. …


Robby’s Lobby – June Edition

Billboard.Com – ‘Dizzy Up the Girl’ 20 Years Later: The Goo Goo Dolls’ Improbable Journey From the ‘Cracks of Society’ to the ‘City of Angels’

By Chris Payne

This week, Billboard is celebrating the music of 20 years ago with a week of content about the most interesting artists, albums, songs and stories from 1998. Here, Billboard talks to ’98 alt-rock mainstays the Goo Goo Dolls about their blockbuster Dizzy Up the Girl album, their memories of their late-developing stardom, and their feelings about revisiting the LP on their upcoming anniversary tour.

In 1986, the Goo Goo Dolls formed in Buffalo, NY, and Jim Kelly became the Buffalo Bills’ starting quarterback. By the start of 1998 — nine months before the September release of sixth album Dizzy Up the Girl — Kelly was already retired, Hall of Fame résumé intact, having guided Buffalo to four consecutive Super Bowls; the Goo Goo Dolls were on the heels of their very first crossover hit, in a pop-rock era littered with one-hit wonders. Much younger one-hit wonders.

Long before breaking through with “Name,” the Goos began with a self-titled debut album in 1987, one which bears no practical similarity to the platinum-certified band the public would come to know. It’s a crude, gnarly punk record that features bassist Robby Takac snarling out lead vocals on every song, including a two-minute cover of “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” just because. Two subsequent LPs — 1989’s Jed and 1990’s Hold Me Up — dropped on Metal Blade Records (alongside releases from Anvil and Lizzy Borden) and refined the Goo Goo formula, with guitarist John Rzeznik assuming the majority of lead vocals and Warner Bros. Records eventually taking notice of their spit-shined, workmanlike choruses. But by their early 30s, Rzeznik and Takac (as well as now ex-drummer Mike Malinin) were tired of living in a Buffalo attic.

“Warner put us on what I call rock and roll welfare,” Rzeznik, now 52, reflects to Billboard on a recent phone call. “They would send us a check for a couple hundred bucks each month, so we could pay our rent and dedicate ourselves to music full time. Lenny Waronker, who was running Warner, came to a gig in Los Angeles after we made [1993 Warner debut] Superstar Car Wash: ‘Just keep going and we’re going to break you — it’s just a matter of time.’ Those words will never be uttered by a record executive in 2018.”

But if the band had a song like “Name,” they’d at least have their ear. The aching acoustic ballad off 1995’s A Boy Named Goo, their second album for Warner, was a radio mainstay, topping Billboard’s Alternative Songs and Mainstream Rock charts, and breaking the Hot 100’s top five. While the Goos plotted their next move, the producers behind the blockbuster City of Angels soundtrack came calling, looking for Mega Ballad Number Two. With the immortal “Iris,” the Goo Doo Dolls and their reluctant heartthrob frontman could nix the car washes and focus on the superstardom.
The trip there was paved with dive bars and Our Band Could Be Your Life; their path since, adult contemporary airplay and all the “mom rock” sneers that come with it. Dizzy Up the Girl is the sweet spot in between. The Rob Cavallo-produced album sold over 4.2 million copies (according to Nielsen Music) and produced five singles, of which there are two legitimate contenders for the song: “Iris,” the orchestral magnum opus, and “Slide,” the luminous jangle-rocker with Benmont Tench from Tom Petty and the motherfuckin’  Heartbreakers guiding its bridge home with a sublime keyboard masterstroke.

Dizzy Up the Girl’s 11 other tracks generally follow one of these two models, with four offerings from Takac — the decidedly less-dreamboaty songwriter — keeping the Pleased to Meet Me embers burning, if only faintly. Lyrically, the songs are achingly earnest, painting love in melodramatic, direct strokes and reflecting their down-on-its-luck hometown after the factory jobs fled. (Tellingly, when the British film The Full Monty was Americanized for Broadway around the same time, the unemployed Sheffield steelworkers-turned-chippendales were made to be from Buffalo.)

But as their careers soared, the Goo Goo Dolls had to come to terms with some realities. Critically respected for the Replacements-inspired rock of their earlier years, they now had to grapple with petulant “SELLOUT!” accusations and negative album reviews. Pitchfork once nailed Dizzy Up The Girl with a scathing (since scrubbed from the site) 3.2 review in which he’s lambasted as John “Bon Jovi” Rzeznik.

Living on a prayer or living in Buffalo, it’s hard to imagine Rzeznik (currently a Jersey resident) taking that as an insult. The Goos got their fill of punk’s romanticized grit and reinvented themselves through one of the longest of long games the music biz has seen. The payoff was Dizzy Up the Girl — a critically underrated, commercially properly-rated, box office smash of a career milestone.

Just last year, the Bills made the playoffs for the first time since the Dizzy Up the Girl tour wrapped. Everything’s made to be broken.

See our conversation below.

You’d toughed it out for so long before “Name” became a hit. For the follow-up album, was there a sense of urgency?

John Rzeznik: There was definitely a sense of urgency about it; of course you don’t want to go back to bartending. But everything moved so quickly. There were a couple of years between those albums. We did a lot of touring and the writing just started to flow. That was one of the peaks of my writing. But there was no pressure from the label, nothing like, “Oh you gotta write another hit.” But I wanted to.

Robby Takac: For Dizzy Up the Girl, John and I spent some time in Buffalo, then came out to L.A. to record, and to live. I don’t know if we were nervous; I was just kind of amazed it was actually happening.

Rzeznik: Our manager [Pat Magnarella] was very much a taskmaster: “Keep your head down. Keep working. Keep writing. Just keep going. Forget about all the bullshit.” But we only forgot about half of the bullshit. We got to have some fun…. It’s funny because Warner Bros., at the time, they didn’t even want to work “Iris.”

Takac: It came out on Reprise, actually, at first.

Rzeznik: Yeah, the song was released on the City of Angels soundtrack — which came out on Reprise — and that’s how the song became a hit. I didn’t think it was ever going to be a hit because we were on the album with U2, Peter Gabriel, Alanis Morissette — the big ones. It’s crazy.
Take me through the writing process of “Iris.”

Rzeznik: I was definitely trying to match the storyline of City of Angels: “If I were this guy, what would I say to this girl?” Then I thought to myself, “What an incredible thing. This guy is willing to give up his own mortality just to feel something.” It’s a really beautiful allegory about the uncertainty of being human, but all the excitement that goes along with it.

Takac: The movie actually declined the version of the song that we turned in — the version that is on the soundtrack and on the album. But the version they used in the movie was just an acoustic version.

Rzeznik: That moment when that song was given to me was a gift. Times like that just fall out of the sky. We were really uncertain. All the critics loved us until we wrote “Name.” We had a pretty loyal fanbase of like 400 people in every city in America. Then we finally got a hit and instead of rooting for us, they were like, “Fuck you, man, you guys suck now. You sold out.”

Are there any reviews you remember that just really turned you off?

Rzeznik: Anthony DeCurtis wrote one that was particularly nasty. But whatever, it doesn’t matter.

Was it a review of Dizzy Up the Girl?

Rzeznik: I don’t remember what it was about, but I remember feeling like, “Wow. That was a little personal” [Laughs].

Robby [pointed out], “Look, if nobody knows who you are, the only people that write about you are people that like you.” But then when the boss comes in and says “Hey you gotta review this record,” then you start getting some negativity thrown at you. Sometimes it hurts, but you learn to develop a thick skin.

Editor’s note: Rzeznik is likely referring to this Rolling Stone review of 2002’s Gutterflower.

​“Name” and “Iris” were ballads that really didn’t sound like most of what the band had done before. Do you think they reshaped what came after?

Rzeznik: I was just growing and developing as a writer. I didn’t want to write punk rock songs anymore. I felt like, “Well I played that out; It was fun.”  Why do I have to be a 50-year old punk rock guy? I think that’s kind of silly.
Robby, your Dizzy songs like “January Friend” and “Full Forever” are a bit more punk-ish than what’s on the rest of the album. Did you feel like you were keeping some of the spirit of the earlier years alive?

Takac: I don’t know if I was necessarily keeping it alive. I think people progress at different paces, different things influence them. I think I was a little slower to leave that vibe behind.

The Replacements were such an influence on the earlier albums; when you started to leave the punk world behind, who were the artists you looked up to?

Rzeznik: We had started looking backwards. A band that nobody ever mentions as far are as our influences go was Hüsker Dü. If you listen back to our early records, they’re more akin to Hüsker Dü: the tempo of the songs and the really sordid guitars. I thought Bob Mould was really brilliant — lyrically and his guitar playing.  And I love all those early Soul Asylum records. Minneapolis was my Seattle.

But everybody for 20 years just called it up, “Oh you guys love The Replacements.” I was into a million bands, you know? All I know is [Paul] Westerberg wasn’t the first guy that wrote a lot of those songs. We all borrow.

What are some other misconceptions people have of where the Goo Goo Dolls came from?

Rzeznik: We shoved it down everyone’s throats that we were from Buffalo. We were living in an industrial ghost town at the time and for some reason, we were incredibly proud of that. We found a building that was condemned and set up our rehearsal room in it. You get this sense of, “You better play the fuck out of that guitar because that’s about the only way you’re getting out of here.” And that’s what we did.

In “Broadway,” the “young man sitting in the old man’s bar”– that has a lot to do with the people of Buffalo, right?

Rzeznik: That’s where I grew up, on the east side of Buffalo. The main artery was Broadway and it was dying as soon as all the factories closed. The demographics were changing and that whole part of town — the people I grew up with, the generation before me, there were some really great people but there were also some unbelievably ignorant… It was a blue collar, immigrant community so everybody’s fighting for a scrap of bread. That was my take on what I saw growing up: very Catholic, very blue collar, lots of poverty, lots of drugs and alcoholism, lots of domestic violence. It was built into the fabric of what that community was all about.

The other big hits on the album, “Slide” and “Black Balloon,” also deal with really heavy subject matter.

Rzeznik: I was thinking a lot about the neighborhood I grew up in. “Slide” is about a teenage boy and girl. They’re trying to figure out if they’re going to keep the baby or if she’s going to get an abortion or if they’re just going to run away. They’re dealing with these heavy life choices at a very early age. Everybody grew up way too fast.

All of a sudden, I bet you guys had a lot more money than you’d ever seen before.

Rzeznik: I didn’t have a checkbook or a credit card until I was 30 years old. I didn’t have any money. Robby and I literally lived within the cracks of society. I was a hot dog vendor and a bartender. We lived in an attic in Buffalo and paid our rent in cash. I rode a bike to work…. Then we went out to Los Angeles.

Once Dizzy Up the Girl settled in and you had one, two, three hit singles, how did your lives change the most?

Rzeznik: Well, people were showing up at our shows [Laughs]. Robby and I looked at each other and said, “We better play as many shows as possible because you don’t know how long this is going to last.”

What changed most about our lives? Honestly, I’m not trying to be a bummer, but at the end of the Dizzy Up the Girl tour, I called a real estate agent and asked if he could find me a house that had a bomb shelter. I wanted to have an underground bomb shelter to write songs in because I just felt so overexposed.

At that point in my life, I circled my close friends around me and started doing a lot of drinking and writing… I felt like, my god, I’ve been doing this for so long, and now we have this success, and people treat you differently. And you’re not a different person; you’re the same person.

The one thing that kind of freaked me out after Dizzy Up the Girl was I didn’t get any better looking, but for some reason, the girls that wanted to talk to me got better looking [Laughs]. That comes with a little bit of success. I think women are like, “Oh he’s a rock star.” But I pretty much shunned all that stuff, except for when I was dating the actress. That just got too weird because I wanted our private life to be private, you know? That didn’t work.

Which actress was that?

Rzeznik: She was a soap opera actress, a very nice person but I didn’t want to be a “celebrity.” She wanted those things and I just wasn’t equipped for it. Like, I got to go to the opening of every envelope in Los Angeles? It’s like “Forget it, I’m staying home.”

Editor’s note: Rzeznik is likely referring to actress and musician Adrienne Frantz.

John, you came out and performed with the EDM group Cash Cash at Coachella this year. What was that like?

Rzeznik: What a freaky scene. It was just interesting to me. It was so much fun playing with them, but I was like, “Wow, things have changed.” When we were their age, it was all mosh pits and people stage-diving. Now it’s all very much like a massive light show and 30,000 people jumping up and down in time.

What did you think of the Coachella crowd?

Rzeznik: I felt like a dirty old man [Laughs]. But I got to say this: We were in this tent and there were about 20,000 people in it. I came out there and we sang “Slide” and that place went nuts. The only thing I could think of was, “Yeah, those kids grew up listening to their parents’ record.” Robby said that they were strapped in the car seats and couldn’t get away from their parents playing Dizzy Up the Girl.

What’s some newer stuff you two are listening to right now?

Rzeznik: Atlas Genius, Arctic Monkeys, I love the Arctic Monkeys. The Bird and the Bee, Fitz and the Tantrums, Flaming Lips. I love Grace VanderWaal’s voice. And I love that Harry Styles record. The new James Bay record is really good. And Polyphonic Spree, oh my god man. I like listening to them because it makes me feel like I’m on drugs without actually having to take any, you know?

Takac: A band called Superorganism. Cornelius has a new album out called Mellow Waves, which is pretty cool. Kero Kero Bonito, they’re pretty cool: two guys and a girl singer who sings half in Japanese.

Later this year, you’re touring behind Dizzy Up the Girl, playing it in its entirety. What’s it like dusting the whole thing off?

Rzeznik: This tour is really something for more hardcore fans. We’re digging back to Superstar Car Wash and there’s got to be a song off Hold Me Up we can do. Gutterflower too, there’s some cool songs on that record.

Takac: There’s one song [from Dizzy] we’ve never played, one that we played just a little bit back in the day. And a couple of John’s we probably haven’t played in 15 years.

Rzeznik: That’s going to be interesting, but we’ll work it out. People who were really into that record will get to hear it live from start to finish, the way they listened to it on their CD player.

Takac: That was one of the last true eras of album rock.