Author: AG Crew

Columbus Dispatch – Goo Goo Dolls: Fast-moving, enjoyable show allows for surprises

By Margaret Quamme

Elegantly simple may not be the most precise way to describe a concert that involved two well-armed confetti cannons and a mammoth balloon release, but musically, it fits the Goo Goo Dolls’ fast-moving, thoroughly enjoyable concert at the Palace Theatre last night.

Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takac have been making music together since the eighties, and their familiarity with each other and comfort with the music made for an easy-going concert, one in which song followed song in quick succession, with only the briefest of pauses to swap one instrument for another.

The two were accompanied by only three other musicians, on guitar, keyboards, and drum, which made for a stripped down rather than bombastic sound.

Takac, grinning gleefully, played the role of cheerleader and clown when he wasn’t playing the bass, encouraging the crowd to clap and sing along. He also took the lead on a few of his own songs, with his distinctive nasal, stacatto voice and bursts of energy giving a unique twist to the new “Life’s a Message.”

Rzeznik, who moved fluidly between electric and acoustic guitar, did the majority of the show’s vocal heavy lifting, and though his voice was at times a little hoarse, it gave a welcome edge and depth to the songs.

While many of those were from the group’s hit albums from the nineties, including a buoyant “Slide” and a dynamic “Broadway,” quite a few from their latest album slipped in easily and were received appreciatively by the audience in the packed theatre. New ones including the boisterous title track from “Miracle Pill” and the anthemic “Fearless” have an energy and rhythmic complexity that indicate the pleasures of the group’s evolving sound.

While it clipped along at a brisk pace, the concert also felt loose enough to allow for surprises, as when Rzeznik accidentally dropped his mic into the crowd and had to giddily attempt to regroup, or when he invited an audience member who was holding a banner asking to be allowed to play “Name” up on the stage, handed him his guitar, and threw handfuls of confetti at him as he played a creditable version of the song.

The concert ended, as expected, with the Dolls’ biggest hit, “Iris,” in a version that both showed surprising depth and allowed for a cathartic singalong.

But the real showpiece of the concert was the song that preceded it. “Autumn Leaves,” one of the songs from the new album, which starts simply, almost mournfully, and then ebbs and flows in richly dramatic currents.

Philadelphia-based Beach Slang opened with a set that was part classic punk rock and part slightly demented performance art piece, during which lead singer James Alex stumbled out of his pants, tangled verbally with a heckler, said, “I’m so drunk. What’s the next verse?” and sang a presumably ironic version of “Wonderwall.”–goo-goo-dolls-fast-moving-enjoyable-show-allows-for-surprises

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Atlantic City Weekly – Goo Goo Dolls bring new hits to new tour


The Goo Goo Dolls may have established a comfortable niche as a well-respected rock band with pop leanings reflected by the 12 million albums they’ve sold worldwide and much-loved hit singles like “Iris,” “Slide” and “Name.” But as far as founding member/lead vocalist John Rzeznick is concerned, they’re never too far from their Upstate New York roots. This blue-collar mentality continues to be the guiding moral compass for Rzeznick and longtime friend/bassist Robbie Takac.

“We’re from Buffalo and we always carried that pride of the hometown that we’re from — and we still do,” Rzeznick says.

With a fall headlining tour getting under way, including a stop at Tropicana Atlantic City 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, the band is ready to introduce fans to material from their 12th studio outing, “Miracle Pill.” It’s a collection of songs Rzeznick was working on just as he and Takac were coming off the road from a string of fall dates last year.

“I was already writing songs and collecting material for the record. The title and concept for the album just came to me at once. It hadn’t happened to me in a long time, but I just got hit over the head for “Miracle Pill,” Rzeznick recalls. “It was sort of a metaphor for the instant gratification. Are you sad? Take a pill. That’s sort of the culture that we live in. Are you fat? Take a pill. Everybody is looking for some easy, short-cut way to find happiness and fulfillment and there just isn’t. But it’s work. It sucks, it’s hard and it’s consistent. I’ve been working out with this trainer and he said if I can be 70 percent consistently, then I’m going to be further ahead than if I’m 100 percent once in a while. There’s a line in ‘Miracle Pill’ where this guy asks this girl if she can be his miracle pill and I can be somebody else/I’m so sick of living inside of myself. It’s like trying to find something external that will cure you. And we all know that it’s an inside job.”

In addition to a sampling of new songs, Rzeznick said he and Takac will give fans just what they want — well-loved gems from the Goo canon.

While most music fans might think of the Goo Goo Dolls as being a ’90s alt-pop band, thanks to some of those aforementioned hits, the Goos were actually looked at as Replacements lite (that band’s Paul Westerberg co-wrote the 1993 single “We Are the Normal” off that year’s Goo Goo Dolls album, “Superstar Car Wash”) and were actually college radio staples up through the early 1990s. The first decade of the Goo Goo Dolls’ existence found them sharing bills with the aforementioned Replacements, Gun Club, Cannibal Corpse and a pre-comercial breakthrough Soul Asylum. And while fame eventually came knocking, Rzeznick and Takac were quick to heed the word of an early advisor.

“The first little bit of money that we made, was kind of weird. Robbie and I literally had nothing. We had a roommate, so there were three of us living together in an attic in Buffalo. We had nothing. All of a sudden you get this check in the mail and it’s more money than my dad made in like 10 years,” Rzeznick recalled. “Then our manager scooped us up and said, ‘Listen. This ain’t gonna last forever. Put the money away, pretend it doesn’t exist, keep your head down and keep working. Forget about being a rock star. Just keep working.’ That stuck with me. Then there was the rule of (investing) — Don’t buy a bar. Don’t buy a restaurant. Don’t buy a Ferrari. We’ve been going for 25 years making a living doing this. This has been my job for 25 years, with no other job. For the 10 years before that, I’d play in the band and be a bartender. I’d play in the band and Robbie was a DJ. We always had odd jobs we had to do when we came home. I was very blessed because the local punk rock club owner would always have my job waiting for me when I came home from a tour. It was really a blessing and he was so proud of us that we were getting out there.”

It’s already been a good year for the Goo Goo Dolls. Over the summer, the group toured with Train, a band that Rzeznik admires for, among other things, the consistent songwriting of Train’s frontman Pat Monahan.

The group also got to open for Bon Jovi in South America. And while Rzeznick may have tasted multi-platinum success, he’s still grateful for previously untapped opportunities the Goo Goo Dolls are still getting to experience.

“Going to South America with Bon Jovi is so exciting to me. I can’t believe Jon (Bon Jovi) asked us to open for them,” he explained. “The last time we toured and opened for those guys, they were so good to us, man. It was a cool scene. I’ve got to say that Jon did us a real solid because he’s helping us break open a new market that we’ve never been to.”

The Chattanoogan – Goo Goo Dolls Set To Play At The Tivoli

by Patrick O’Hagan

With the recent release of their 12th studio album, Miracle Pill, and a new headlining North American tour, Goo Dolls are scheduled to play the Scenic City on Friday at the Tivoli Theater.

In anticipation of the stop, the band’s bassist, vocalist, and co-founder, Robby Takac, spoke with via telephone before kicking off the tour in Texas.

Goo Goo Dolls just wrapped up an “amazing summer tour with Train,” according to Takac and is “excited to be out on the road again” in support of the latest album.

Listening to Miracle Pill, fans will notice the growth and progression of the band. Takac commented on the group’s evolution from their early and raw punk days to their more pop-influenced sound of today. “We’re still the same band… we’ve just grown up as people.”
With that growth comes a different sound, one that fans and critics have been very receptive of. In fact, the audience on this tour can expect to hear about half of the new record live in concert, mixed in with Goo Goo Dolls classics such as “Iris,” “Slide,” and “Name.”

Doors for the Friday night show will open at 7:00 pm, with Beach Slang as the supporting act. Tickets can be purchased at the Tivoli Box Office or online at:

Richmond Mag – Q&A with Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls

by Katja Timm

After 33 years and 12 studio albums, the Goo Goo Dolls are still alt-rocking. Founding members lead singer John Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac and the band completed a 20th-anniversary tour for their 1998 album “Dizzy up the Girl” last November, and now they’re on the road again a year later.

Takac concedes that they aren’t the group they used to be, and he’s OK with that. “I don’t think you can really discern or recognize this band from our release in ’86 to the current state of the band,” he says, “but I think that’s due to the fact that we’ve gotten to see what it sounds like when a band grows up with the guys in it.” Reached via phone from Austin, the first stop on the “Miracle Pill” tour, Takac talks about keeping the band together and changes in the music industry.

Richmond magazine: How did you come up with the name “Miracle Pill” for the new album?

Robby Takac: [Miracle Pill] is a song that John [Rzeznik] and Sam Hollander wrote together, and we thought it’d be a cool title for the record. A lot of this record kind of touches on being able to make connections between people, and how it seems to be getting tougher and tougher with technology and the current sociopolitical state of the world and our country.

RM: What’s your secret for the band’s long-lasting success?

Takac: If it’s worth doing, then you work hard at making it work. We’ve put that work in, and we’ve had varying degrees of success, but it all seems to come together in the end, and we’ve got an amazing group of fans that hold us up, and people who love to come sing songs with us at our shows.

RM: How has the way that you reach your fans changed over the years?

Takac: You can dramatically see a change in the crowd reaction to a new song since streaming services have come around. When I grew up, you would hang out in the record store and talk to people, and it would be a cool experience, you’d learn about the music. And then the record stores went away, and that conversation went away. I think it’s amazing having that vast collection of music at your disposal, but on the other hand, it did upend the music business for a while.

RM: How has the music of the Goo Goo Dolls evolved over the years?

Takac: Well, we started as a punk-rock band. If you listen from one record to the next, it makes sense, but if you skip a few records in the middle somewhere, it doesn’t even sound like we’re the same band sometimes. I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re still able to do what we do, because we’re still trying to do new things, and we’re not trying to go out there and act like those guys who put out records in 1993, because we’re not those guys anymore. You’ve got to grow up with what you do.

Columbus Dispatch – Goo Goo Dolls’ new album examines lack of connections

By Margaret Quamme

After turning 50, it’s hard to be a boy named Goo.

So when John Rzeznik, 53, writes songs today, they’re not trademark Goo Goo Dolls songs.

“I don’t go by that rule anymore. I thought about that maybe 20 years ago. I had this hit, ‘Iris,’ and everybody was like, ‘That’s awesome! You’ve got to write another “Iris”!’ No, I don’t. I’ve done that,” he said, speaking by phone from Austin, Texas, where the band was scheduled to perform a concert.

“I don’t worry about being a Goo Goo Doll anymore. I just write music that I really enjoy. And then I hope like hell that everybody else likes it.”

Vocalist and guitarist Rzeznik and vocalist and bassist Robbie Takac make up the core of the band, which will be performing on Wednesday at the Palace Theatre. Along with a rolling cast of other members, they’ve been together since the 1980s, when the Goo Goo Dolls started as a punk-influenced band in Buffalo.

For the past few albums, Rzeznik has taken on the role of principal songwriter, although Takac also contributes songs. These days, songwriting is where his heart is.

“As long as being a songwriter is more important than being a singer,” he said, “then I think the balance is right for me.”

The Goo Goo Dolls released a new album, “Miracle Pill,” in September, and longtime fans might be surprised to see how relatively minor a role that guitar plays, compared with past albums.

“There are other interesting instruments out there,” Rzeznik said. “I’m especially fascinated by voices.”

For this album, he worked extensively with gospel singers.

“It’s unbelievable how talented they were,” he said. “They’re so far above where I’m at, just the vocabulary they have musically.”

He also collaborated with other songwriters.

“I like getting together and seeing what I do through their lens. Sometimes it’s really good, and sometimes it’s not. If it’s not, it’s ‘Thank you very much, this was an interesting afternoon, but I’m out of here.’”

Notable among his collaborators was Sam Hollander, who co-wrote the title track of the new album.

“He’s amazing, man. That guy’s from another planet.”

To Rzeznik, the album is about “connections, or the lack of connections.”

“I think we’re all becoming more isolated. What’s wrong with getting off your sofa, getting in the car, going to the grocery store, buying all your groceries, and driving home and putting them away? I love getting out of my house. I have a little kid now. We go to the playground, run around, walk the dog, be together.”

During shows, songs from the new album will show up, but so will the more familiar ones.

“I say to myself, ‘These people pay money to see you play a bunch of songs. So make sure you play the songs they want to hear. Try to keep it like this might be the last time you ever do a show,’” he said.

“Live music to me is one of the last ways that people are connecting to other people, in groups, and being human beings. It’s hot, it’s sweaty, you’re smashed up against people, it’s loud, everybody’s singing along. And people need that. We’re pack animals.”

Badger Herald – The Goo Goo Dolls work experience, classic hits to advantage at Orpheum Theatre

The Goo Goo Dolls made their veteran presence known at the Orpheum, playing classics from their 12 albums

by Georgia Ansley

The Goo Goo Dolls performed a sold-out show at Madison’s Orpheum Theatre on Sunday night. Lead vocalist Johnny Rzeznik summed up the night best when he jokingly threatened the audience by saying “don’t let this feel like Sunday, people.”

The audience was, at first glance, all die-hard, day-one fans clad in the band’s old merch and singing along with every word. Upon further inspection, the crowd hosted a fair share of college students, who I assume were reliving the sounds of their childhood.

The opener “Beach Slang” was an unexpected pick, with metal and punk influence, that matched the “look” of the Goo Goo Dolls, but contrasted the sound. The band successfully riled the audience with some of their bigger hits as well as a fair share of covers, such as The Pixies’ “Where is My Mind,” encouraging some positive outbursts from the crowd.

The Goo Goo Dolls are currently touring their 12th album, “Miracle Pill.” They did not forget any of their classics, however, with “Slide,” “Black Balloon” and “Name” all featured throughout the show. Everyone in attendance that night will remember the lights dimming and Rzeznik discarding his black lightning bolt electric guitar for his simple acoustic as the opening chords of “Sympathy” filled the silent but wide-eyed auditorium.

Rzeznik said that this was not the band’s first tour stop in Madison, as they performed years earlier in a hole-in-the-wall venue. The Goo Goo Dolls were able to replicate this same intimate setting on Sunday through candid conversation with the audience.

“Don’t make me come up there,” Rzeznik joked with the balcony. Their goofier side was reflected with his fusion of a hardhat, leaf blower and harmonica in the 90 minute set.

Years of touring were evident in all aspects of the band’s performance, but there was nothing routine about their show. The band’s bassist, Robby Takac, could not hide his genuine love for his music if he tried, with a grin from ear to ear that didn’t waiver the entire show.

Unlike many concerts I’ve attended recently, the Goo Goo Dolls had nothing to prove to the audience on Sunday. They cater to their base, know what they want to hear and look good doing it. As predicted, the band finished with their Billboard #1 and overwhelming crowd favorite, “Iris,” providing a perfect end and a simple reminder that sometimes there is nothing better than a golden oldie.

Courier Journal: Goo Goo Dolls ‘Slide’ into Nostalgia

By Maggie Menderski

For two decades the Goo Goo Dolls have been the easy listening, upbeat music America blares on the radio and requests at karaoke bars.

Tuesday night at Louisville Palace they were back in the limelight on tour with their new, yet remarkably familiar sounding, “Miracle Pill” album. It’s lively, anthem-like tracklist blended well with the hits that made founding members John Rzeznik and Robby Takac famous at the turn of the new millennium.

It’s been 23 years since the alternative rock band exploded onto the national stage with its “A Boy Name Goo” album and the hit single “Name.” Last year the Goo Goo Dolls celebrated the 20th year anniversary of their biggest album, “Dizzy Up the Girl” and all the pop-rock smash hits that made them famous — “Slide,” “Iris,” “Broadway” and “Black Balloon” — which all lingered at the top of the Billboard Charts in the late 90s.

But we’re far from the late 90s, and Tuesday night exemplified what happens when a duo like Rzeznik and Takac stay together after all these years — a dozen studio albums on the shelves and a loyal following in the audience.

And sure, most of that crowd didn’t know the cutting lyrics in Miracle Pill like they belted “Yeah, you bleed just to know you’re alive” from “Iris” and “See the young man sitting in the old man’s bar, waiting for his turn to die” in “Broadway.”

But there was that familiar sense of rock poetry laced in the two-month-old album, and it brought the crowd to its feet with a deafening cheer as the band stormed the stage with Miracle Pill’s “Indestructible” and then rolled into another new title “Home.”

The album’s title track is reportedly a metaphor for the instant gratification we seek within our own circumstances. The new songs nod to the importance of connections and loneliness with “Miracle Pill” telling the crowd “I could be somebody else, so sick of living inside myself” and “What I need is to feel incredible, what I need is a true love edible.”

As with any band that peaked 20 years ago, their fans needed some help with the new additions.
“So we’re going to do some of that old cliche rock-and-roll shit because we know you love it,” Rzeznik told the crowd as he led them in clapping motion.

With a few “hey, hey, eh, eh, yeahs,” he eventually had the few folks that had lulled back into their seats on their feet and chanting back the “You can make it on a wish if you want to” line in their song “So Alive” as though they knew it as well as “Iris.”

Part of what makes this band so remarkable is Rzeznik and Takac largely escaped that drama that comes with topping the charts. Goo Goo Dolls fans haven’t had to read about the band breaking up or had to watch a member spin-off on a solo career. Their sound is still reminiscent of the hits that made them famous, and their overall mission is still largely about the music.

Tuesday night’s performance wasn’t about synthesizers and computers. It was about talent, the next chapter of their music and yes, nostalgia.
That showed tenfold when Rzeznik took the stage with nothing but a single guitar and hundreds of voices singing back to him for the first verse of “Name.”

“Thank you for remembering that one, and thank you for keeping this band going,” he told the crowd.

But they remembered so much more than that one. As the setlist continued with old favorites “Let Love Love In,” “Broadway” and finally “Iris” it became clear why the Goo Goo Dolls still dominate at karaoke bars all these years after they dominated the Billboard charts.

These are truly anthems for their fans, and that crowd knew every word.

Click for photo gallery:

Chattanooga Times Free Press – Rx for Boredom: Goo Goo Dolls’ Miracle Pill Tour

by Barry Courter

It isn’t every day an employee is asked, or actually demanded, by his boss to hit him in the face with a big glob of paint. But that’s what John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls wanted during filming of their latest video for “Miracle Pill.”

The clip ends with Rzeznik, fellow Doll Robby Takac, and their set being splashed with multiple colors in gallons of paint.

“It was at the end, and there were about eight or 10 passes of us getting splattered,” Rzeznik said. “It was fun, but you can see in the video — I don’t know why it’s still in there — but you can see me pointing to my face and they wouldn’t throw it. Finally they did.”

Rzeznik said the song is an observation on life, how ignorant we have become about the world around us and what is important, and how people seem to simply want a miracle pill to do and fix everything for us.

“Not ignorant in the usual way,” he says, “but in the way we just ignore things that are going on around us. And I’m not talking Trump, either. But things like how automation is taking over. What are people supposed to do with themselves when robots deliver and do everything for us?”

The band will perform Friday night, Nov. 15, at the Tivoli Theatre. Rzeznik said the album is the result of his moving into a new house that left him feeling isolated and stir-crazy.

“I moved to a house way out on Long Island. I mean way out. I felt like I was in a witness-protection program, and I thought ‘I can’t sit here all by myself anymore.'”

He called a friend, and they sat around laughing and telling stupid jokes and started writing songs. He said he likes to record with a variety of producers because, “When I work with one, I burn them out and they wind up being miserable.”

He said he loves tinkering and trying new things and that tends to overwhelm just one producer. He also enjoys learning, and having different voices and input lends itself to that.

“I love experimenting and trying one more, one more, one more. I’ll say, ‘Let’s try it with this microphone.'”

His is the final word on things, however, and “I’m there to make it cohesive. It’s my job to find the common thread and make it all fit together. And I have one guy mix the whole thing.”

Post and Courier – ‘We never stopped being that band’ Goo Goo Dolls say of ‘Dizzy up the Girl’ days

By Kalyn Oyer

The Goo Goo Dolls’ original band name was just as goofy but not so G-rated.

Back in the early days, the band was known as the Sex Maggots.

“We were 19, 20 years old,” founding band member, bassist and vocalist Robby Takac explains. “We were kids playing punk rock at the corner punk rock bar, waiting to meet college girls and drinking lots of beer. I wouldn’t say we were a great band, but we were the most positively exciting band.”

That was 1985, when Takac was the lead vocalist and Johnny Rzeznik, now lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls, was his backup man and guitarist. The sound was completely different from the band’s latest ultra-pop disc “Miracle Pill,” which dropped in September.

The first step in the group’s sonic transformation came in 1995 with the release of “Name,” the only acoustic track on the band’s Warner Bros. record “A Boy Named Goo.”

“We were still this really loud rock band, but we were known for this one kind of acoustic song, so it was a little bit of a weird place in our career,” Takac recalls. “We would show up at radio shows and literally blow everyone against the back wall for 35 minutes, and then we’d play ‘Name’ at the end and everyone would go, ‘Thank God!’ ”

Three years later, the Goo Goo Dolls’ sixth studio album “Dizzy up the Girl” was released, with yet another step in a softer direction. “Slide,” “Black Balloon” and the band’s greatest achievement “Iris” were radio hits.

Rzeznik’s vocals rose to the occasion of the emotional soft rock ballad: “And I’d give up forever to touch you / ’Cause I know that you feel me somehow / You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be / And I don’t wanna go home right now.”

Takac says the band actually recorded “Iris” between albums but not specifically for “Dizzy up the Girl.” It was thrown into the mix as an afterthought, and the resulting whirlwind led the Goo Goo Dolls in a new direction.

“Without that bridge, this band wouldn’t be what it is now,” Takac says, adding with a chuckle, “If you listened to our first record and now our 12th record and told an alien it was the same band, he would not believe it in a million years.”

Now, 33 years later and with help from four different producers, “Miracle Pill” indeed sounds like the work of a different band. The Sex Maggots have faded into a dusty memory; a pop band has risen.

Yet coming off a 20th anniversary “Dizzy up the Girl” tour, Takac says the Goo Goo Dolls are still, at heart, the same project they were when punk rock was the mainstay and tracks like “Iris” were the exception.

Live, the Goo Goo Dolls revert, perhaps more than expected, to their bygone days of hard rock with Takac’s gritty lead on the mic and power chords radiating from Rzeznik.