by Darren Paltrowitz
Formed in Buffalo, New York, in 1986, the Goo Goo Dolls have sold more than 12 million albums. The band — as led by vocalist/guitarist Johnny Rzeznik and bassist/sometimes-vocalist Robby Takac — has scored more than a dozen Top 10 hits, and the group’s 2016 release, Boxes, was yet another Billboard-charting full-length. The group is currently in the midst of yet another summer headlining amphitheater tour, this time gigging alongside American Idol winner Phillip Phillips.
But the Goo Goo Dolls is only one part of Robby Takac’s musical life. He has a record label, Good Charamel Records, which he runs with wife Miyoko; Good Charamel’s current roster includes Molice, Pinky Doodle Poodle, DJ Sashimi, and Japanese rock legends Shonen Knife. He owns a recording studio in Buffalo, GCR Audio, which has hosted sessions by Lil Wayne, Moe, Jessie J, B.o.B., and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. He is also the head of Music Is Art, a not-for-profit founded in 2003, which — in his words — is “dedicated to exploring and reshaping music’s cultural, social, and educational impact” in Buffalo. Takac is able to combine these passions with the annual Music Is Art Festival; its 15th annual edition takes place this year on September 9, 2017. He also finds time to write a regular column for Japanese rock-themed magazine, INROCK.
On behalf of the Inquisitr, I had the pleasure of conducting Q&A with Mr. Takac after encountering him at the St. Kitts Music Festival in St. Kitts. More on his projects can be found at www.robbyslobby.com, while his band keeps its online home at www.googoodolls.com.
You are primarily known as a co-founding member, songwriter, and vocalist for the Goo Goo Dolls, but you work on a lot of other projects. Have you always been so entrepreneurial?
Robby Takac: I think “entrepreneurial” is maybe the wrong word, but I’ve always been pretty active and generally too busy.
You run a record label, an arts-related non-profit and a recording studio. What is it that keeps you so centered on music?
Robby Takac: I guess it’s just what I do every day at this point in my life. It’s gotten to be a thing where I have a few modes I run in, but the common thread is whether music-related or not, all of these situations have been guided and influenced my life by my relationship with music, musicians, and the arts.
Did you ever consider running another sort of business? Like a restaurant?
Robby Takac: Not really. I toyed with the idea of opening a PEZ store once, but it’s probably best that never happened…
Considering that you are also a husband and a father, how do you manage to stay on top of everything? Are you big on calendars? Do you have an assistant? Do you have people to delegate tasks to?
Robby Takac: GOOGLE! Accented by lots of tea parties and an unbelievably understanding and organized spouse.
How does a day on the road nowadays compare to a day for you on the road 15 years ago? Were you also managing businesses back then?
Robby Takac: I was managing hangovers, bruised egos, payphones, and broken toes back then.
What inspired you to move back to Buffalo? Aren’t the winters harsh?
Robby Takac: A combination of two things… Having a kid, I think when I moved to L.A., I found people in that city a bit odd and saw the city’s culture having just a little bit of a different slant than my own. When I had been there for over 10 years, I didn’t notice so much of a difference anymore, and I was pretty sure it wasn’t L.A. that was changing, so it was time to go and have some grandparents around to spoil my daughter beyond imagination. The second reason was this: www.gcraudio.com.
When it comes to the creative end of your life, do you just sit down to write music? Or do you have to feel inspired?
Robby Takac: I’ll generally work on a song when there’s a need for me to have a song. Mot the most inspirational answer, but the truth…
Do you have a favorite song to perform live?
Robby Takac: “Slave Girl.”
Aside from this summer tour, what is coming up for the Goo Goo Dolls? More recording?
Robby Takac: Rinse and repeat!
Is there anything the Goo Goo Dolls haven’t yet accomplished that you are still aiming towards?
Robby Takac: Putting out our next few records!
When not busy with work, how do you like to spend your free time?
Robby Takac: I like to hang out with my family, travel abroad, spend time at the studio, fish with my daughter, and get my friends from Japan here to the U.S. to make music!
Is there something you wish more people knew about Robby Takac?
Robby Takac: I’d like more people to stop at www.musicisart.org and see — and perhaps support — the hard work these great people do on our behalf boosting the arts and music in the city of Buffalo!
Finally, Robby, any last words for the kids?
Robby Takac: Keep the shiny side up and the dirty side down, my friends… 10/4!