Tune in on Tuesday to see the band on Stephen Colbert. Check your local listings for the channel. The show starts at 11:35PM EST.
After 12 million album sales and four Grammy nominations Goo Goo Dolls remain at the top of their game. That’s very much in evidence on their brand new instant grat track ‘Indestructible’ with accompanying lyric video taken from their forthcoming twelfth album ‘Miracle Pill’ (out September 13th). The song received its UK premiere on The Zoe Ball Breakfast show on Radio 2 this morning.
The band will perform on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, August 13th at 11:35pm EST / 10:35pm CST delivering their first late-night TV performance of lead track “Miracle Pill”, which is currently at #34 on Billboard’s Adult Top 40 chart and rising.
‘Indestructible’ is brimming with the insistent melodies and driving energy which are the hallmarks of Goo Goo Dolls’ finest work, and opens the album in anthemic style. John Rzeznik’s emotive lyrics offer a reminder that there’s hope in the most challenging of circumstances. It’s a theme that’s prevalent throughout the album.
“Things may look dark or dire, but there’s a chance to make a connection, nevertheless,” says John. “I’m writing from as honest of a place as I can at this time in my life. That’s something I want everyone to understand about the album. A lot of our fans have grown up with us. I think they’ll be able to relate to where we’re at in our lives, because they tend to be at the same place. We’ve still got a lot to say.”
Rzeznik and bandmate Robby Takac recorded ‘Indestructible’ at Gold Diggers Studio in Hollywood with producer Sam Hollander (Panic! At The Disco, Weezer) and Grant Michaels (Sia, Serena Gomez)
Drawing on over three decades together, Rzeznik and Takac supply a real sense of hope and a whole lot of heart on the new album. After a 20thanniversary tour in support of their smash hit album ‘Dizzy Up The Girl’, the pair immediately hit the studio late in 2018. Always aiming to stay fresh and moving forward, the result is a collection of songs which delivers musicianship that is as engaging as ever, with lyrics that reflect the current landscape of instant gratification and relief that everyone seems to be seeking.
Pre-orders for the album are available HERE, and each pre-order purchase unlocks “Indestructible” as an instant grat track along with the previously released songs “Money, Fame and Fortune” and “Miracle Pill”.
Currently winding down a huge North American amphitheatre co-headline tour with Train, Goo Goo Dolls will play the main stage of the iconic Rock In Rio Festival on September 29th. They have also just announced a headline tour in October and November visiting 20 US cities before heading to Canada. Go to www.googoodolls.com for a full list of tour dates.
In addition to their recording and touring the band have been busy with other projects; last year Rzeznik showed himself to be a natural interviewer when hosting his own show on SiriusXM VOLUME and Takac continued to release songs by new and established artists via his Good Charamel label.
2019 Tour Dates
August 9th – Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion #
August 10th – Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion #
August 11th – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena #
August 14th – Cuyahoga Falls, OH @ Blossom Music Center #
August 16th – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center #
August 17th – Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center #
September 22nd – Recife, Brazil @ Estádio do Arruda~
September 25th – Sao Paulo, Brazil @ Allianz Parque~
September 27th – Curitiba, Brazil @ Pedreira Paulo Leminski~
September 29th – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil @ Rock in Rio 2019~
October 2nd – Lima, Peru @ Estadio Monumental
October 25th – Austin, TX – Bass Concert Hall^
October 26th – Corpus Christi, TX – American Bank Center – Selena Auditorium^
October 27th – San Antonio, TX – Majestic Theater +
October 29th – Tulsa, OK – Brady Theater^
October 30th – Wichita, KS – Orpheum Theatre – Wichita^
November 1st – Rapid City, SD – Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Arena^
November 2nd – Sioux City, IA – Orpheum Theatre – Sioux City^
November 3rd – Des Moines, IA – Hoyt Sherman Place^
November 5th – Peoria, IL – Peoria Civic Center Theater^
November 6th – Davenport, IA – Adler Theatre^
November 8th – Kalamazoo, MI – Kalamazoo State Theater*
November 9th – Appleton, WI – Fox Cities Performing Arts Center*
November 10th – Madison, WI – Orpheum Theater*
November 12th – Louisville, KY – Palace Theatre*
November 13th – Huntsville, AL – Von Braun Center – Mark C. Smith Concert Hall*
November 15th – Chattanooga, TN – Tivoli Theatre*
November 16th – Knoxville, TN – Tennessee Theatre*
November 17th – Charleston, SC – Charleston Gaillard Center*
November 19th – Richmond, VA – The Carpenter Theatre*
November 20th – Columbus, OH – Palace Theatre*
November 25th – Toronto, ON – Queen Elizabeth Theatre*
^With The Unlikely Candidates
*With Beach Slang
+Special Guest TBC
#Co-headlining dates with Train
~Supporting Bon Jovi
Hey Hey In Rockers, coming to you today from the windy city of Chicago as Goo Goo Dolls are in rehearsals for a big Summer Tour with the band Train and singer/songwriter Allen Stone which runs through August of this year. We’ve just returned from a short tour of Mexico, which was the very first time in 33 years that we’ve been able to make a tour happen down there. It was really great, great food, the friendliest people and truly amazing crowds. We played in Monterrey, Mexico City and we did The Corona Capitol Festival with Chemical Brothers, The Yhea, Yhea, Yheas, Tame Impala, OMD and a whole bunch of other amazing acts in a dusty field in Guadalajara with over 20,000 of our newest friends from Mexico! I happened to have some relatives who are in Mexico City, so I got to spend some time catching up with them as well, it really was a great trip and we look forward to our return.
In early May we celebrated The Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival over a week at The Japanese Gardens in my hometown of Buffalo, my wife Miyoko and I are on the planning committee and perform at the event every year. This year we featured The Molice, Pinky Doodle Poodle and DJ Sashimi from Tokyo as well as local Taiko groups, kendo performers, a kendama champion, tea ceremonies, traditional dancing and more as we help our community celebrate Japanese Culture during Cherry Blossom time! The weekend prior to the Buffalo event all 3 acts also performed at The Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri at The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens as well alongside singer/songwriter Kana Uemura who sang the 2010 Japanese hit “Toire no Kamisama”. We had watched her sing that song many times on NHK here in the US with emotional tears in our eyes and it was very special for us to see her perform the song in the US where she now resides.
Last week when we arrived in Chicago and had a couple of shows before we began rehearsals, one of them was a show for a charity organization Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps created a few years back called “The Golf Give Gala” which helps raise over a million dollars a year for children in the St. Charles, Illinois area. Nice guy and a very cool event, we were glad we could come and play some music for their party and help out a bit.
Our newest single, the title track from our upcoming album “Miracle Pill” is to be released in June to coincide with the summer tour, the whole album will be dropped in September with 11 new songs that we’ve been working on over the last year between Los Angeles and NY. Sam Hollander produced the song “Miracle Pill”, Sam has gained notoriety working for bands such as Panic at The Disco, Fitz and The Tantrums as well as many others. The album artwork for “Miracle Pill” was once again done by Brian Grunert at White Bicycle in Buffalo, I’m pretty sure you guys will dig it!
Oh! and don’t forget to check out the new single from Osaka’s Shonen Knife- “Dizzy” – released last month on our Good Charamel Records label in N. America and Europe as well as P Vive Records in Japan!
I’ll be checking in with you from the road next month, we will be well into the tour by then so I’ll have a ton of stuff to share with you as we make our way around the US playing our rock music for the summertime audiences. Hope you are all enjoying the Spring and I hope to see you again next months here in the pages of The Mighty InRock !!!!!
No one ever expected the Goo Goo Dolls to last this long, including the band itself. After coming up with the band name during an impromptu jam session in their in their upstate New York garage, founding members John Rzeznik and Robby Takac thought they’d give it a few weeks before finding something more permanent, a more official title to match their ambitions.
“We figured it was going to last three months,” Rzeznik admitted to the Today show in 2016. But the name ended up being a perfect fit for the band, helping them bridge the gap between 1980s garage punk and the alt-rock explosion that would follow in the coming decade. After erupting onto the national stage with their 1995 album A Boy Named Goo and its hit single “Name,” the band released their landmark album Dizzy Up the Girl in 1998, making alt-rock history with one of one of the biggest albums of the 1990s. Songs such as “Iris,” “Black Balloon,” and “Slide” became inescapable radio hits of the decade.
In 2018, the band celebrated the 20th anniversary of the album with a sold-out North American tour. It brought back memories for fans and the bandmates alike, who stress how important it was for them to look back on the era, even as more recent music has taken them in vastly different directions.
“Some of those songs are forever going to be part of our lives, you know? Because it’s become such a part of what the band is,” Takac tells SPIN over the phone from Nashville, where the band recently performed with Train. “It was fun to revisit that time, but it definitely felt like a different time. Some of the songs felt a little weird playing them. But … it was really cool to put ourselves in that headspace for a couple of months and go out and share that with everybody.”
The band has since released a surprise single and announced their twelfth studio album, both titled Miracle Pill. The 11-track album, which arrives September 13, will also include “Money, Fame and Fortune,” a dazzling, synth-drenched single about the everyday pursuit of the good life.
“[The album] is sort of a comment about everyone needing an instant fix, an instant cure for everything,” Rzeznik says. “We’re living in this incredibly tumultuous time, and I think that people are starting to lose their hope. That was something that just started spilling out of me when I was writing.”
Those song titles and the track listing for Miracle Pill? The band is sharing them with SPIN first:
Money, Fame and Fortune
Step in Line
Life’s a Message
Think It Over
Like its song titles might suggest, the album finds Rzeznik and Takac reflecting on the chaos of social and political life in the 21st century, and how music can help bring people together in the face of national uncertainty.
“Live music right now is just so incredibly important to help unite people in the country,” Rzeznik says. “We’re living in a very divided, divisive society at this point in history. But music transcends all these warring factions. You can just lay it down, come out and take a break, and get back to the barricades afterwards.”
Whether they’re working out lyrics in the studio or posing for photos with fans on tour, the band stress the importance of making meaningful connections with their audience through their new songs. And what could be more powerful and necessary in the current moment than that?
(This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.-Spin)
So last year was the 20th anniversary of Dizzy Up the Girl, and that was obviously a big event for you guys. How was the anniversary tour? Were you excited to play those songs again after such a long time?
John Rzeznik: It was a lot of fun, I enjoyed playing the album from start to finish. It brought back a lot of memories of that time. But it also felt like we were closing the door in a good way. Sort of like saying, “OK, we acknowledge this and that’s great. Let’s move on and go forward.”
I started writing this record immediately after that tour. I just felt really inspired. Like, “OK, I paid my respects to that time and now I’m ready to move on.”
So when this new stuff started taking shape, where did you begin?
JR: I wanted to collaborate with different people and I had a bunch of ideas that were on my iPhone. I’d sort them, we’d sit down and start playing and try to form these basic musical ideas and melodic ideas. We’d meet up with someone like Sam Hollander and we’d just hang out.
Collaboration at its best is when someone changes your way of doing things and you’re enjoying it. So we had a good time. We traveled all over the place making the record. We did some in New York, some in New Jersey, some in Los Angeles.
You mentioned Sam Hollander. Did you come to him with ideas you wanted to flesh out? How did that collaboration begin?
JR: Yeah. Well first, we wrote a song called “Indestructible.” We just sat down cold together and just started riffing ideas back and forth. And then “Miracle Pill,” which was just this little riff I was playing on the guitar. I was scatting a melody over the top.
But in terms of the album itself, I always wanted to work with some gospel singers and I finally had the chance to do that. We went to the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles and recorded this massive pipe organ. Or “Autumn Leaves,” there’s just this massive, powerful organ as well. We got to play with amazing people, it was a really fun experiment.
“Miracle Pill” is the first single as well as the title of the album. How did that take shape sonically?
JR: Yeah, like I said, we got in a room with Sam. The song started on the guitar. It wound up being a sort of piano-based song. Sam added his “thing” to it. It was just really exciting to hear it from another writer’s perspective. Like, “Hey I’m gonna take this idea. Check out what I did with it.” We’d go back and forth; it was a lot of fun.
In the process of writing songs, I’ve gotten to a point in my career where I’m gonna work with people that I like, I’m gonna write stuff that I like. And out of a big pile of songs, I’m gonna pick the eight or nine songs that I like the best, and hopefully people like them too.
To me, I enjoy it because I learn from these people. I want to surround myself with people who are better than I am so I can keep learning. This is my 12th album. You really start to repeat yourself if you don’t collaborate.
Were there any moments on the album where you felt yourself pushed out of your comfort zone by Sam or other collaborators?
JR: Yeah, definitely. And I think we did that to each other in a certain way. You know, my roots are in the garage playing punk rock and Sam used to do hip-hop.
So “Money, Fame, and Fortune” is going to be the next single, and with that one there’s a lot of synths and just this really clean production. What was the process like in the studio there?
JR: I mean the songs were all written before we got into the studio. Derek [Fuhrmann] and I worked on the demos and sort of redid it in the studio so it’d sound better.
Robby Takac: It’s amazing how you get your ideas together working in ProTools. You put your initial ideas up in the studio and start to work in there. The process has really changed a lot. A lot of the little sketches play a pretty major role on what it actually ends up sounding like. With the digital format, there’s so much availability for programming and using cool textures and loops and stuff. A lot of that ends up on the record and the demos. That really helped to shape some of the production on the record too.
JR: I’m extremely into vintage recording equipment. I have a lot of vintage recording gear, a lot of crazy microphones and amps and stuff like that, and I love to mutilate sound. Like, I’ll go back and use a piece of studio gear from the 1940s and then use some digital technology to mutilate the sound of it. Then you layer that in to create textures.
Were there any songs that made it onto the record with that kind of mutilated, warped sound?
RT: I mean, most of them.
JR: Most of them. I go through every song and am just like, “Let’s run this guitar through this broken tape recorder.” It’s nothing that’s very obvious, but when you take it away, the song sounds a little flat.
RT: It makes it sound a little different than everybody else, you know? It just changes the texture a little bit.
JR: It was very much a spirit of experimenting. But it’s like the most important thing with production is the music and the lyrics—trying to connect with people. I felt very much like, “What is my mission here on this album?” And then I just need to write songs about connection. I’m at a point in my life where connections are the most important thing.
Yeah, you can really feel that on “Miracle Pill.”
JR: Right now I feel like the world is very polarized, scared, uncertain, in a state of flux, and I think that all of us are suffering from a kind of low-grade anxiety. I mean, if you look at the 21st century, from the beginning of it to right now, what have we gone through? We went through 9/11, we’ve had two endless wars, we’ve had the financial collapse, and then the rise of Trumpism.
I don’t talk about politics at all—I’m not making a comment about whether I’m for Trump or against Trump. All I’m saying is that he’s definitely whipped the country into some kind of frenzy. We’re living in this incredibly tumultuous time and I think that people are starting to lose their hope. That was something that just started spilling out of me when I was writing.
So I guess this image of the miracle pill is about the false promise of things like social media, mental health drugs, and that sort of stuff?
JR: Eh, not so much mental health drugs because I think that people get a lot of benefit from them. But we live in a world where it’s like every problem is just supposed to be solved by technology, science, and medicine. It’s just not going to work.
Yeah, I think this is something that a lot of musicians I talk to have issues with. Being a musician in the 21st century means you have to deal with this kind of fake intimacy sometimes with your audience on social media and be constantly promoting yourself on all these platforms where people want to be your friend and want to follow your music.
JR: Yeah, I think it’s become a kind of necessary adjunct to trying to write music. What bothers me is that sometimes it feels like the social media presence and the peripherals of what you’re doing become almost more important than listening to the music. So I avoid a lot of social media. I have to do some stuff, so I try to do something creative. We do these little things called 10-second tour, where we’ll just, like, show the bus. Something like that.
And we have awesome fans. A lot of them have been with us for awhile and now we’re sort of on our second generation of them. I think mostly people just want to be acknowledged and that’s OK.
RT: We got involved very peripherally in the online culture because we as a band really weren’t that deeply involved in it. I mean, we understood it existed, but I think our fans really kind of found each other there. As we were coming up, the internet was kind of growing and becoming more and more popular as we were. I think the people were pretty intimate with this group. Like, a lot of them share a lot of benefit from meeting each other online and have made lifelong friends. That’s the other side of the double-edged sword that is technology. That’s just the way things happen. But at the same time, there’s going to be people who take advantage of it and use it for weird things.
How did that play into the songwriting? I know “Miracle Pill” obviously, but is it fair to say that this theme runs through the album in a broader sense?
JR: Yeah, I mean when you’re in it, you’re in it. And I like the song, I like that it’s leading. It gets to a certain point where it takes on its own life and I have to follow it and keep up with it and keep writing. Like I said, I think most of the songs are about connections and trying to have some sort of a genuine connection with people. I think that that’s something that’s really lacking in the world, you know?
I think the song “Lost” kind of stood out to me in that way.
JR: I was listening to it after we finished it and I was like, “Wow, that’s like something I could say to my daughter.” The chorus is like, “Sail away to the sun / I hope you find a little truth in a world full of pretty lies.” It’s like all the lies that we’re fed every day that are so enticing and so trapping.
The line that’s like, “Wide away in a world full of lullabies,” and it’s like once again, it’s all this cheap, empty stuff that’s attempting to lure you into it at all times—just to be aware of the bullshit. That’s basically the message of that song. And I’ll be there for you. That’s really my mission in life. I need to be here for people.
I think that this is something that music in the 21st century is particularly suited to do. In light of all the bullshit, music can really cut through the noise and bring people connection.
JR: Absolutely. I agree with that. Live music right now is just so incredibly important to help unite people in the country. We’re living in a very divided, divisive society at this point in history. But music transcends all these warring factions. You can just lay it down, come out, and take a break, and get back to the barricades afterwards.
Do you guys prefer that live music aspect? Does it feel good to get back in the studio or do you prefer life on the road touring?
RT: I just think personally it’s a different experience entirely. In the studio, it’s a very introspective thing. Then you’re out in public doing this and it’s exactly the opposite: You’re sharing this with a huge group of people. I like ‘em both, man. They’re equally as exciting.
JR: Yeah, because when you’re in the studio, you’re sort of cocooned in complete isolation and safety. I enjoy that. Because you’re absolutely free to create and no one can judge you.
RT: Because no one has to hear it. [laughs] You can just erase it and move on to the next thing. When you’re in front of people onstage, everyone stares.
JR: And then you sort of flip the coin and you’re out, you’re in front of thousands of people every night and you’re just like, “Well I just gotta bring it. I really gotta connect with these people here.” And I enjoy that too. I’m proud of everything we’ve done.
RT: Nobody had camera phones back then. [laughs]
JR: I just enjoy that. I love when we meet people. Everybody’s got a story about their connection to us. And I love listening to those.
One of the songs that really stood out to me was “Autumn Leaves.” How did that one come together?
JR: We were just sitting in a writing session. I was working with Drew Pearson and he was showing me this instrument that he has called the una corda. It’s a crazy-sounding thing. It’s like a piano, but every note has one string instead of three, so it sounds very weird. And it’s sort of this melancholy goodbye to someone.
It feels like one that would translate well to a big arena on tour.
JR: I hope so!
Miracle Pill arrives September 13 via Warner Records. Check out the Goo Goo Dolls’ new single, “Money, Fame, and Fortune,” and pre-order their upcoming album here. The band is also currently on tour, with dates available on their website.
When I saw Train was going on tour with Goo Goo Dolls, my music world exploded. These two were some of my favorite bands growing up and still are up to now. This concert definitely did not disappoint.
Starting the night off was Allen Stone, who took the stage as the crowd was filling in at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in the Woodlands, Texas, which is just north of Houston. Stone warmed up the crowd with his soulful and R&B sound, singing a few of his hits including “Unaware” and “Brown Eyed Lover.”
Next is Goo Goo Dolls who came out to a loud and energetic audience. Lead singer and guitarist Johnny Rzeznik’s vocals were sounding as great as ever, especially during crowd favorites “Slide” and “Name.” Everybody was up on their feet singing every word and dancing along to songs that have stood the test of time and are still jams today. They also sang “Miracle Pill,” a song they just released on June 21. Always rocking and energetic bassist, Robby Takac, took lead vocals for a couple of songs as well. Last but not least, it would not be a complete Goo Goo Dolls concert without hit song “Iris,” which sounds even better live surrounded by thousands of fans singing the lyrics out loud.
Just seeing Goo Goo Dolls alone in concert is already a worthwhile experience; however, the night is just getting started in this case. The sun has finally completely set, and there is not an empty seat in the amphitheater with the lawn fully filled as well. Everyone is up on their feet as Train comes on stage opening their set with “Calling All Angels.” Lead singer Pat Monahan greets the Houston crowd with a roaring response back. Just as with Goo Goo Dolls, Train’s setlist is filled with a mix of songs, new and old, that fans love and adore such as “If It’s Love,” “Save Me, San Francisco,” “Drive By,” and “Hey, Soul Sister.” Pat Monahan is such an amazing entertainer and vocalist and is backed by an outstanding band as well. Things slowed down when Train performed back-to-back emotional songs “When I Look To The Sky” and “Marry Me.” During “Marry Me,” many couples across the crowd were showed on the big screen, making it one of the highlight performances of the night. Train capped the night off with “Drops of Jupiter,” which is one of my favorite songs of all time. Hearing this song live is definitely one of my top concert moments ever. The crowd sang the lyrics back at the top of their lungs while confetti and sparklers lit up the stage, ending the night the best way possible.
If you get the chance to see these amazing bands live, you would not want to miss out!
Train & The Goo Goo Dolls // Summer Tour
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion // The Woodlands, TX // 6.28.19
[Review by: Marti Mendoza]
By Jocelyn Murphy
For two decades, when John Rzeznik needed to write a song, the frontman for alternative rock outfit Goo Goo Dolls would lock himself in a room to write alone. That method turned out indisputable hits of the ’90s and 2000s like “Name,” “Slide,” “Let Love In” and, of course, “Iris.” But after 10 albums, some personnel (and personal) changes and a band coming up on 30 years together, the process had begun to get a bit depressing, he admits.
“You can’t create in a vacuum, you know? You can’t learn in a vacuum. You can’t grow in a vacuum. Exposure to people who have different skills and different worldviews and different creative processes is really, really such an enjoyable thing,” the lead guitarist and singer says of changing his approach for the Dolls’ last album.
The 2016 release “Boxes” was Goo Goo Dolls’ 11th studio release and a departure for Rzeznik in the writing department; the entire project was created in the spirit of experimentation, he shares.
“I decided that I was at a point in my life and my career where I could push the walls out,” he says. “If one day I wanted to sit down with some guy who does EDM music and mess around and try to write a song with him, I could do it. I decided, ‘OK, I’m not going do anything that’s not fun. I’m not going to work with anybody who’s going to bum me out. We’re just going to have a good time, and we’re going to find new people, and we’re going to experiment.'”
In 2017, Train lead singer Pat Monahan expressed a similar feeling to What’s Up! about his band’s latest album “a girl a bottle a boat” ahead of the group’s visit to the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers. Now, the two music icons return to the AMP on a co-headlining tour that Rzeznik promises will be a “BIG night of big hits.”
“I’m sure Pat would tell you the same thing; he and I are both sort of anomalies in the fact that we’re still putting records out from our generation of music — the class of ’95 or whatever the hell you want to call it,” Rzeznik muses. “From that whole situation we grew out of, the whole post-grunge thing, for us and them to still be making records and still playing big places, and having a career as long as he’s had and I’ve had, that’s pretty astounding to me.”
When John Rzeznik and Robby Tabac started the Goo Goo Dolls in 1986, they’d pile into a van and hit the road, spreading their power-poppish punk around the country DIY style.
Thirty-three years, and multiple hits later, Goo Goo Dolls touring life is far different than four or five smelly guys stuck in a van for hours and sleeping on floors or in a single hotel room.
“Every guy in the band, four of the five of us, has a daughter,” Rzeznik said. “The other day in Chicago we were all in the swimming pool at the same time, having fun. I was saying to Robby, ‘I didn’t think we’d ever live long enough for something like this to happen.’”
Rzeznik is happy to have his wife, Melina Gallo and their 2-year-old daughter along when they can go out on the road. And he’s just as happy to welcome the other Goo Goo Dolls’ families anytime they want to jump on the buses.
“Touring is hard when there are kids and dogs and wives,” he said. “If somebody wants their wife and daughter to come out, of course. It’s good. And it’s a lot of fun when the kids are out. They get to do cool things. And you put them to work — ‘here, count the backstage passes’ They think that’s really cool for a few days, then it’s ‘whatever.’ It’s always better that they’re out with you.”
The kids and wives hit the road most often on Goo Goo Dolls’ summer tours, which annually hit amphitheaters across the country.
“I’ve been lucky enough to do it every summer for the past few summers,” Rzeznik said.
“It’s been great. Over the past three, four years, I’ve had a pretty big output of material. I like touring a lot.”
This summer, their tour is a co-headlining affair with Train, each band playing a full-set. It will stop at Stir Concert Cove in Council Bluffs Tuesday.
The show, Rzeznik promises, will include “Name,” “Iris,” “Slide,” “Better Days,” “Broadway” and the rest of the Goo Goo Dolls’ hits.
“I always get pissed off at bands when you go see them and they don’t play their biggest hit,” Rzeznik said. “It’s like ‘What? Come on man, I spent all this dough for the ticket and you’d didn’t play that.’ You’ve got to play them. You’ve got to be there for the people. That’s why we’re out.”
The show will include a few songs from “Boxes,” their 2016 album and at least one brand new song, “Miracle Pill.”
“I certainly hope people like the new material,” Rzeznik said. “Playing a new song before an audience when they’ve never heard it before, it’s scary.”
Rzeznik, who received the prestigious Hal David Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008, wrote “Miracle Pill” and a handful of other songs in the last year using his standard composing method.
“Everything always starts on guitar,” Rzeznik said. “Everything starts on a sofa either alone or with someone who I want to write with. We’ll start throwing ideas around, or I’ll start coming up with some ideas. I have a little recorder on my phone. I’ll put down some ideas there and start working with them. It’s pretty much the same process since the beginning.”
Then he takes that basic song and revamps it in the studio, where he’s still learning new tricks and finding new sounds.
“I’ve learned a lot about producing and sonic change,” he said. “I like to experiment with songs in the studio, using production as an instrument, making sounds with old, vintage equipment, using equipment the wrong way, all kinds of stuff like that. To me, that’s a lot of fun — the actual making of the record.”
Unlike most songwriters of his stature, Rzeznik doesn’t have a studio in his New Jersey home, where he can record what he’s written.
“All I have in my house to record with is my phone and an acoustic guitar,” he said. “I’ve got to get out of the house to work. If I don’t, I’ll play with my dog. I’ll play with my daughter. I’ll find something to fix. I’ll do anything to avoid work.”
That’s not entirely true.
About two years ago, Rzeznik picked up a side gig, hosting “Chorus and Verse,” a show on SiriusXM radio’s Volume (Channel 106), the satellite radio network’s talk channel about music.
“I was in the car and I heard them talking about this new Volume channel,” he said. “I flipped over to it and then called my manager and said ‘you’ve got to get me on this radio show.’ When I asked to be guest, they said ‘do you want to have your own show.’ I said ‘yeah, I’ll do it.’”
On “Chorus and Verse,” Rzeznik talks with contemporaries like Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 and songwriter Desmond Child about their work.
“It’s fun for me,” he said of the radio show. “I’m not out to get anybody. I’m out to have a good time and learn something about their process. I’m trying to get into not just how the process works, but the emotional part of songwriting. You’re in a very, very vulnerable state when you expose yourself, how do you get into a space where you can be fair enough, open enough to come up with something honest?”
So, how do you come up with something honest?
“Sometimes you don’t,” Rzeznik said. “Sometimes you struggle with a song because you can’t get there. You have to stop thinking about the outcome. You have to be in the moment. It’s kind of a trap, I think, if you’re looking at things and saying ‘I’m going to write a hit.’ What’s a hit? Who can define a hit when you’re writing it? It’s all so subjective. It’s time and place. You write an honest song and see where it goes.”
Where the songs are going this week are Kansas City, St. Louis, Mississippi, then Council Bluffs as Rzeznik continues a musical journey he never thought would last so long.
“I figured we would be together for three or four years and that would be the end of it,” he said. “Robbie and I have been together for over 30 years, a very long time. It’s crazy. We started the band when I was 19.”
Train and the Goo Goo Dolls seem to have brought summer with them on their nationwide tour with Allen Stone.
The rock bands’ stop Tuesday at USANA Amphitheatre in West Valley City was as bright and energetic as the warm summer night that played host to the concert.
“This has been a lot of fun touring with Train,” Goo Goo Dolls guitarist and vocalist Johnny Rzeznik told the crowd. “This feels like a good summer.”
Train performed a lively set featuring the group’s greatest hits from “Drops of Jupiter” to “Drive By.”
The set balanced upbeat tunes like “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” with slow, thoughtful numbers such as “When I Look to the Sky,” a song Train’s lead singer Pat Monahan said has reminded fans of people they have lost and helped him remember what music is about.
“When they look to the sky, they feel like they can still connect with their loved ones,” Monahan told the audience. “It’s about bringing us together, like tonight.”
Stone returned to the stage after opening the show with a powerful vocal set to perform “Cab” and “Bruises” with Train in two beautiful duets with Monahan.
“I met him … several months ago at ‘American Idol,’ and I asked him if we could be best friends, and he said yes, so he came here with us,” Monahan said of Stone.
Train guitarist Luis Maldonado of Salt Lake City got his chance to shine in an exhilarating solo during “Meet Virginia” and while doing justice to Freddie Mercury’s vocal part in the band’s cover of Queen hit “Under Pressure,” also featuring bassist and vocalist Hector Maldonado.
The group paid tribute to Tom Petty as well in a cover that fused “American Girl” and “Free Fallin’ ” together.
Monahan kept the crowd engaged throughout the night and surprised fans with an impromptu hip-hop cover of Drake’s “In My Feelings” in the middle of “Hey, Soul Sister.”
Beach balls bounced throughout the audience as Train performed “Save Me, San Francisco,” in front of a colorful skyline backdrop.
The Goo Goo Dolls likewise captured the attention of the crowd, which seemed to sing along to every word of the band’s hit “Iris,” with a series of black balloons that fans passed around while the group performed “Black Balloon.”
Rzeznik said he remembers sitting on a dirty, secondhand sofa in an attic apartment in Buffalo, New York, about nine years into the Goo Goo Dolls’ time as a band when he wrote “Name.”
“This was the first song that I ever wrote that got on the radio, so it was like our first hit song,” Rzeznik said. “We never got to be the biggest band in the world, but for one minute, we were the best, and that was amazing.”
Goo Goo Dolls members reminisced about their 30 years as a band.
“It is so great to be back here with you guys,” Goo Goo Dolls bassist and vocalist Robby Takac said. “There’s a tear in my eye. First time we played here was to about nine people up three flights of stairs, and this is amazing, you guys. Thanks for sticking with us all these years.”
303 Magazine Q&A – The Goo Goo Dolls’ Talk 30 Years of Life on the Road, Touring with Train and Colorado Memories
Since 1989, the Goo Goo Dolls have made a name for themselves as one of the bands that hit the ground running no matter how long its been. After their 1998 smash record Dizzy Up The Girl hit airwaves around the world, producing two of their biggest and timeless hits, “Iris” and “Slide,” the Goo Goo Dolls continued to create. Nearly five albums and 20 years later, this New York-based band has no end in sight. From receiving a monthly stipend from a record label to make ends meet to going on global tours – the Goo Goo Dolls are no strangers to the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. We spoke to frontman John Rzeznik on the Goo Goo Dolls’ upcoming tour with Train, three decades of life on the road and why one Colorado venue holds a special place in Goo Goo history.
303: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. Do you happen to remember the first show that you ever played in Colorado?
John Rzeznik: I think, I don’t know if it was our first one we played, but it was a bar and there was like an old motel across the street, like a block away from where we were staying. It was interesting.
303: Do you have any special memories from one of your shows in Colorado?
JR: Oh, the first time we sold out Red Rocks back in ’99 or 2000. They give you a little piece of the stone and a plaque and I still have that just sitting on my shelf. To me, that was such an awesome accomplishment because it’s like, Red Rocks, I mean, come on.
303: This isn’t your first time at the rodeo being on tour. How has life on the road changed since your first time out?
JR: Well, I’m 30 something years older. I gave up drinking and everything else, you know, smoking and all that so it’s a lot healthier. It’s a different kind of fun. We had a lot of fun when we were young guys out there. The usual, way too much partying and having fun. There comes a point where you’re just like “Ah, yeah, we’re not going to be able to keep doing this if we keep this pace up.” It’s all about bringing the music and when you’re a fat drunken mess, it’s impossible to do that.
303: We have a little bit of a speed round for you, just some rapid fire questions. What song do you wish you had written?
JR: “Even The Losers” by Tom Petty.
303: If you had the chance to play with one artist on stage, dead or living, that are living, who would it be?
JR: Probably Keith Richards.
303: Good choice, that’s a show we’d like to see. What about a favorite song that you’ve written?
JR: There’s this song called “Hate This Place” that closed out the Dizzy Up The Girl album. I don’t know what it is about that song, I just love that song and it makes me feel happy.
303: What’s your favorite song to play live?
JR: That changes from night to night. Consistently, the one that I love playing a lot is probably “So Alive.” I just love seeing the audience sing along with that.
303: Can we expect any new material from the Goo Goo Dolls anytime soon?
JR: Yes. We have a single coming out tentatively on June 18th and the album Miracle Pill is going to be out in early September. We’ll probably be playing a new single live.
303: We’re looking forward to the upcoming Denver stop on June 20th at Fiddler’s Green. What can we expect from that upcoming Colorado date?
JR: I mean, playing in Colorado is always special. We’ve played Red Rocks a bunch and Fiddler’s Green and these are iconic places to play. It’s just always really good energy up there. Denver’s got its own vibe thing going on, so it’s always exciting. It’s beautiful there. That’s one of the places that I really love to be in the states.
303: Train AND the Goo Goo Dolls? That’s a pretty stacked lineup. How exactly did this come about?
JR: It’s something that we had always been wanting to do for the past 10 years. It was like “We should go out with Train! We should go out with Train!” and “Let’s put a tour together with Train, that’d be fun” and then everything just lined up finally. So we’re stoked about it. I mean, I love Pat Monahan. I think he’s an amazing writer. He is probably one of the best singers out there right now. I just love his voice. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
303: Any words for the Colorado fans?
JR: Thank you very much for coming out. We’ve been coming here a long time and we just appreciate it and I’m looking forward to having a great night out.
The Goo Goo Dolls play Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre on Thursday, June 20. Tickets are available via AXS.