The Goo Goo dolls have contributed songs to many soundtracks, including the soundtrack of a filmed-in-Oklahoma movie. The wicked weather depicted in that movie (“Twister”) did not make the band want to avoid Oklahoma. Proof: The Goo Goo Dolls are performing Oct. 29 at the Brady Theater.
“We braved a couple of tornadoes in the past,” bassist Robby Takac said during a phone interview. “We have seen them on the horizon. It’s crazy when that happens. You are driving in a bus and you can see them in the distance.”
The Goo Goo Dolls’ song on the “Twister” soundtrack was “Long Way Down.” Takac recalled that the song is heard only briefly in the film.
“I believe we were on a truck radio as someone was pulling into a gas station or something,” he said.
“We did do a video for the movie, though, and the director put us on this turntable, this huge turntable, and turned us in circles for like nine hours. About 45 minutes into the shoot, we were like why didn’t you just (rotate the cameras?) It probably would have been a little bit easier, you know?”
How did the guys in the band keep from getting motion sickness during the video shoot?
“We didn’t keep from it,” Takac said. “We had to stop like every 15 minutes and take a break because everybody was getting vertigo. It was crazy.”
If only there had been some kind of miracle pill for the occasion.
Fast forward to the present, and the Goo Goo Dolls’ new album is “Miracle Pill.” Released in September, it’s the 12th studio album for a group that has sold more than 12 million albums.
“We’re pretty happy to have some new music to go out and play for people,” Takac said, indicating that material from the new album was received positively during a summer tour with Train and during a recent South America trek with Bon Jovi.
If it sounds like the Goo Goo Dolls are still on the “go go,” that’s because it’s true.
“I’ll tell you, man. When you’ve been making records for a few decades and you are seeing people are still interested, your heart won’t let you stop,” Takac said.
“We are dudes from Buffalo. We took every opportunity possible our entire career because you never think anything is going to amount to anything, so that’s just how we were brought up. We still have sort of got that mentality. Right now the record is doing pretty well. It is getting on the radio. We had a great tour this summer. … It’s pretty exciting to see this happening after all this time. A lot of bands are winding down and figuring out how to get their butts into the casino circuit at this point. For us, it really seems like there are still some mountains to climb, so we are out doing it.”
Formed in 1986, the Goo Goo Dolls were initially a punk band. Takac said punk rock was pretty much dead and buried by the time the band got its start, but the Goo Goo Dolls rose from the ashes and evolved into a group that earned heavy airplay on “regular” and alternative stations in the 1990s.
“We just felt that we could play harder and faster and louder than anyone else in town and still have songs, still have a melody that you could follow,” Takac said.
“That’s what we were born from. Most bands don’t get a chance to see what they grow into after a few decades and we have been lucky enough to be able to live that out a little bit and see ourselves develop as people and see music change and resources change and the industry change and most importantly our lives change as people. I think the albums kind of follow that trajectory probably.”
“A Boy Named Goo” from 1995 was the group’s first multi-platinum album. The song from the “Twister” soundtrack was on it. But the big track from that album was “Name,” which went to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in addition to topping the alternative chart.
“Everybody knew that song, but I don’t think everybody knew who did it really, especially because for the most part we were still a pretty heavy band back then,” Takac said.
But music listeners couldn’t help but know who the Goo Goo Dolls were after a song for another movie soundtrack exploded. Johnny Rzeznik wrote “Iris” for the film “City of Angels” and it was included on a Goo Goo Dolls album (“Dizzy Up the Girl”) while the song was booming. The album went four times platinum.
“I would say the way that all happened was beyond belief,” Takac said. “It all just kind of lined up.”
“Iris” trivia: “If you watch the movie, that version of the song is not even in the movie,” Takac said, indicating that it was rejected by the movie folks in favor of an acoustic version by Rzeznik.
Meanwhile, the version you’re familiar with wound up on the soundtrack and, in 2012, was ranked No. 1 on a Billboard list of top 100 pop songs from 1992-2012. The list ranked songs from the first 20 years of the Mainstream Top 40/Pop Songs chart.
It was weird, said Takac, that the song was initially deemed not good enough and then it became the biggest song of the Goo Goo Dolls’ career.
“It’s like our ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’” he said.
The phone interview ended with Takac saying this about the Goo Goo Dolls’ upcoming show in Tulsa: “One of the great things about our musical situation these days is the streaming services are all out there and we are finding that people are knowing the songs when we show up. You release a single and they know it that night. It’s pretty amazing. So please come ready to sing. It’s way more fun when everybody is singing.”