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.”