by Gary Graff
“We’re doing all these old, old songs on this tour, and it’s been fun,” Goo Goo Dolls’ Johnny Rzeznik told the crowd at the Fillmore Detroit at a recent stop on the group’s trek celebrating the 20th anniversary of its multi-platinum Dizzy Up the Girl album. “But,” he continued, “I’ve gotta be honest — I really want to go home and write some fucking new songs.”
Rzeznik and bandmate Robby Takac are doing just that, in fact, with plans to release a follow-up to 2016’s Boxes next year.
“We’re working on it right now,” Rzeznik tells Billboard. “We’re both working on stuff; We probably have half of the album written. We’re going to start putting it together soon, maybe early next year — January or February.” Rzeznik does have a few conditions for the Goos’ next project, however.
One is finding “one producer who can kind of mastermind the whole thing with me,” according to Rzeznik. That will be a change from the multi-collaborator approach of the group’s last few albums, but while he’ll continue to write with others Rzeznik doesn’t want a committee to be in the room this time. “I love the collaborators I work with, but this time I just want something to tie it all together,” he explains. Rzeznik adds that this time he’ll also “put a time limit on how long it’s gonna take me to do it. When we go in the studio, it’ll be, like, eight weeks from downbeat to the final mix. I want the band to play live, all together, which a lot of people don’t do anymore. But I want that feel with a live band again.”
Right now Rzeznik and Takac are still working out who that producer might be — as well as where the 12th Goos studio album will be recorded. “I’m trying to find a weird studio,” says Rzeznik, who lives in New Jersey these days. “There’s one in Asbury Park and one in Long Branch that are awesome, so hopefully we can get into one of those and bash this out.”
Before that, however, the Goos will continue their Dizzy tour, which runs through Nov. 10. The quintet is playing the album in its entirety, with a second set that includes a three-song Rzeznik solo acoustic set and a selection of deeper cuts over the course of two hours. “Somebody brought it up to us, and it was like, ‘Let’s do a show in Buffalo, one in New York, one in Chicago and leave it at that,'” Rzeznik recalls. “But then, of course, the booking agent and the manager were like, ‘Why don’t we do a whole tour?’ and, y’know, I can’t resist a tour, so it was like, ‘Let’s do it’ and I sat down with my laptop trying to learn a few of the songs I literally haven’t played since we were in the studio trying to get ’em down.”
Rzeznik says the 20 years since Dizzy “feels like, ‘Wow, that went by so quick.’ I mean, we were working. We were all working really hard and keeping going and everything. I’m really proud of that and record; Listening back to it there’s a few spots I wish I could change, but whatever. All in all I’m pretty proud of it. And that was an important record for a lot of people, not just us. For a lot of people, that was THEIR album, for whatever reason.”
Dizzy, of course, followed the Goos’ first big hit, “Name,” and cemented the group’s transition into the pop mainstream. Rzeznik recalls a bit of apprehension about how it would be perceived but feels the results were worth it. “Any time you do something different you’re running the risk of, ‘Am I gonna lose what I have?'” he says. “But you’ve got to take that risk. When we recorded ‘Iris’ for City of Angels, that orchestra came in and started playing and Robby and I looked at each other like, ‘I dunno, man…We’ve turned a corner and there’s no going back. Are you cool with that?’ ‘Yeah, let’s go…’ I really sort of developed this attitude of, ‘OK, I can’t think about the outside world at all.’ It scared me, but it didn’t stop me. You can be afraid if you want, but you’ve got to keep going. That’s just the way it is.”