By Thom Jennings
"Robby Claus" is virtually coming to town this Friday at 7 p.m. Robby Claus is the alter ego of Goo Goo Dolls founding member Robby Takac. The Buffalo native will be online Friday for what he has dubbed “Robby Clause's Streaming On The Web Sing Along Thing,” which will benefit Takac’s Music is Art foundation. It’s a “pay what you can” event on Stageit.com.
Takac, along with fellow Goo Goo Doll John Rzeznik released “It’s Christmas All Over” earlier this year, and fans can expect Takac to perform some selections from the album along with some other Goo Goo Dolls hits. In addition, top fundraisers will be receiving some unique Goo Goo Dolls memorabilia.
This is the second time this year Takac has hosted a livestream fundraising event. In April he did an acoustic set online to benefit Kaleida Health’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
On Tuesday, Robby took some time out of his preparation for the event to chat about the Christmas album, the future of live events, and the importance of live music and organizations like Music is Art.
“During the summer of 2019 we had started talking about reissuing our last album with a couple of Christmas songs and some new artwork. We demoed a few songs, and then it turned into five and the next thing you know we had a full album. It wound up keeping us busy during this crazy time,” Takac noted by phone on Tuesday.
The Goo Goo Dolls have been busy in spite of the shutdown. They had two major livestream events, including a recently broadcast Christmas special.
While Takac misses performing, this past summer was the first in many years he was not on the road, and he jokingly said, ‘It’s the first summer I have been home and been able to discover how difficult it is to grow tomatoes and pumpkins.”
“But the silver lining is that I was able to spend the summer with my wife and daughter. We just moved and have a really nice backyard, and I love playing with my daughter outside. There have been some challenges with virtual learning, but it has been nice to be home.”
Nevertheless, he is cautiously optimistic that the Goo Goo Dolls will be back on the road in the summer of 2021, but it will be a while before things return to “normal.”
“I think it will be different and evolve in stages. I think it will be kind of like going to a restaurant the first time after they opened back up. My wife is from Japan and they are having live shows over there at 50% capacity, but you can’t scream, you can only clap. I can’t see that working over here, but we will see what happens.”
Takac’s Music is Art foundation has met the challenges. The ever-growing annual Music is Art Festival moved online this past year, and Takac viewed it as an opportunity to grow the organization.
“For years the focus has been regional, but everything is on the web and this year we reached out everywhere through the livestream, and there is something about that which I find very groovy. So to me, it makes sense to keep that in the mix. Kind of like companies seeing it makes more sense for some people to work from home. The world is changing, and I am excited to see what the next chapter brings for Music is Art.”
In addition to Robby’s performance on Friday, the Goo Goo Dolls will be appearing at multiple televised events on New Year’s Eve. They are the perfect band to close out a challenging year as everyone looks toward a brighter 2021 for the music industry.
Thom Jennings covers the local music scene for Night and Day.