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
Where: O2 Academy Brixton
When: July 26
How: Short walk from Brixton rail and tube station