Spin: Goo Goo Dolls Reveal New Album Miracle Pill’s Release Date, Talk ‘Connections’

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:



Miracle Pill

Money, Fame and Fortune

Step in Line

Over You



Life’s a Message

Autumn Leaves

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.

Cincy Magazine – 6 Questions with John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls

The Goo Goo Dolls will be at Riverbend Music Center on July 24

by Danielle Cain

The Goo Goo Dolls are coming to Riverbend Music Center next week on July 24 at 7:00pm for their summer tour with Train! We had a chance to chat with lead singer John Rzeznik about touring, their new single and what he likes about Cincinnati.

Q: How is the tour going so far?

A: The tour’s been going great! We’ve been having a good time with Train. The crowd has been amazing—it’s like a big sing-along every night. Everybody knows every song! Well, almost every song…

Q: Right, your new single! You’ve said “Miracle Pill” is about instant gratification and quick fixes. Do you have concerns about young people coming of age in this environment?

A: Yeah, I think that their living standard is going to be lower when they grow up. The 18-to-20 year-old kids that I know are amazing. They seem less surly than my generation, the Gen Xs, when we were that age. I think they’re more conscientious of the world. But I also think that they’re lonely and isolated in many ways. And I believe live music is one of the ways you can keep and strengthen human connections.

Q: What can we expect from the other tracks on the upcoming album?

A: There’s really only one sort of ballad on the album, so it’s kind of up-tempo. They’re just songs about being human. It’s fragile, it’s beautiful, it’s terrifying. Those are all things you have to face and cope with everyday, but also enjoy.

Q: Do you enjoy that fans bring black balloons to your concerts?

A: Yeah, they should start bringing bigger black balloons! We always blow up a bunch of beach ball-sized ones, and I like that. Except that one will hit me in the face once in a while. I won’t see it coming because there’s a spotlight in my face, and bonk!

Q: You’ve been to Cincinnati a few times (Rzeznik says it’s been over 150 times!), do you have time on tour to enjoy any of the city?

A: I think we have a day off. I’m not sure! But if I do have a day off I’ll go cruising around. There’s some really great architecture in Cincinnati! And when you go across the bridge, to Covington, that’s a cool area. There are a lot of cool things to do there. I love that building downtown, the Carew Tower. There’s something about it. That building’s got a good soul to it.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

A: The single is out and you can get it anywhere on the internet! The full album comes out in September, and we’re going to be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in August. Come on out and see the show, man!

Billboard – Goo Goo Dolls Find the Antidote in ‘Miracle Pill’ Video: Exclusive

by Bryan Kress

Definitive alt rock duo Goo Goo Dolls have a bright idea to solve what’s ailing modern society in the paint-splattered visual for their latest single “Miracle Pill,” premiering exclusively on Billboard today (July 16).

Directed by Ed Gregory and Dan Cooper, the visual finds frontman-singer John Rzeznik and Goos co-founder and bassist Robby Takac in a sensory-deprived void that reflects the song’s meditation on instant gratification and human connection. The band tempts the white room’s equilibrium with a few spills of paint before willfully descending into unrestrained colorful chaos. With a chance to take it all back during the song’s pivotal bridge, the band makes a decisive choice and leaves a lasting impression with their unmatched swagger.

The visual brings the song’s lyrical and sonic contrast to life as the deeper message of the resonant romp is animated by a clash of dull white and bountiful brightness.

“We wanted to do something vividly colorful and chaotic, and I think we achieved our objective,” Rzeznik tells Billboard.

With a vibrant pairing of lyrics and visual, the band illustrates their ability as a rock force to paint with the whole spectrum.

“Miracle Pill” is the titular track from the band’s upcoming twelfth album, expected to release in the fall via Warner Records. The band is currently on a co-headlining tour with Train and will follow the summer tour with select dates in South America starting in September. More information can be found on their website here.

Check out the visual for “Miracle Pill” below.



Headline Planet – Goo Goo Dolls’ “Miracle Pill” Ranks As Hot AC Radio’s Most Added Song

“Miracle Pill” tops this week’s hot adult contemporary add board.

By Brian Cantor

The new Goo Goo Dolls single received a healthy amount of support in conjunction with this week’s hot adult contemporary radio impact.

Picked up by 19 Mediabase-monitored Hot AC stations, “Miracle Pill” ranks as the format’s most added song.

Jonas Brothers’ “Only Human” narrowly follows in second place. The new “Happiness Begins” single landed at 18 new stations.

Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello’s “Señorita” follows in third with 17 pickups, while an add count of 14 slots Ellie Goulding & Juice WRLD’s “Hate Me” in fourth.

X Ambassadors’ “Hold You Down,” which landed at 9 stations, takes fifth place on this week’s add board.

This week’s other notable Hot AC options: Ed Sheeran’s “Beautiful People (featuring Khalid)” (6th-most, tie), Rob Thomas’ “Can’t Help Me Now” (6th-most, tie), Billie Eilish’s “bad guy” (8th-most), MAX’s “Love Me Less (featuring Quinn XCII)” (9th-most, tie) and Khalid’s “Talk” (9th-most, tie).

Cincy Music: Interview: Robby Takac of Goo Goo Dolls

By Jon Calderas

The Goo Goo Dolls were formed in 1986 and were shaped by a lot of my favorite bands from that era– Husker Du, Soul Asylum, and most of all, The Replacements. Strong songwriting, passion and drive resulted in them breaking through with the extraordinary “Name” and the smash “Iris”.  Strong work ethic and a no-nonsense Buffalo mindset have kept them in the game ever since. Like all those bands, their songwriting and sound has continued to evolve over their catalog. There’s not a lot of similarities between Husker’s Land Speed Recordand Candy Apply Gray, but I dig them both. The Goo Goo Dolls’ latest single (“Miracle Pill”) was just released and a new album is coming this fall. They are on the road with Train and Allen Stone for another month and they’ll be stopping at Riverbend on Wednesday, July 24th.

We chatted with bassist and founding member Robby Takac about how digital tools have changed their songwriting, what continues to drive them after all these years, paying back their community, why it’s a smart idea to play QVC and whether the future looks any brighter these days.

Catch Goo Goo Dolls with Train & Allen Stone at Riverbend Music Center on July 24!

You guys are really busy lately, you’re in the middle of your U.S. tour with Train, then you’re heading off to South America later in the year for Rock in Rio. How are the dates with Train going so far? That feels like a good match up of styles and audiences.

Yeah, it’s been even better than I had anticipated. We had a feeling, like, it was gonna be cool.  And Allen Stone is on this tour as well, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Allen or not. But the combination of these three bands is like, amazing. It really is, it’s a great show, man.  And I think the three bands are just different enough from each other to where it feels, I don’t know – there’s a great vibe throughout the night. Sometimes it feels like you’re getting your head bashed in all night – you know, sometimes it feels like you’re watching the three bands and it’s the same band three times or whatever. I feel like the vibe of this show is really, really nice, man.

Right, so it’s more of a complementary thing where the bands are working together…


I’ve been at some of those shows where the bill’s really similar and it feels like I saw the same band three times, I want a little changeup. 

Yeah, exactly.

That’s great. I was listening to your new single (“Miracle Pill”) several times because it’s super catchy. That was just released. It’s an interesting sound because it’s really piano-driven and it has what sounds like either string sections or you guys have simulated string sections. As I listened to it, it almost felt Beatlesque with a bit of “A Day in the Life” vibe with that intro with the piano. But when you guys started out, you were pretty much drums, bass, guitar. So, I’m really curious how you’re approaching new compositions, especially on a song like “Miracle Pill” where piano is such an integral part of it. How do you approach that composition? Do you start with the piano, or do you start with that great chorus or are you still building up from guitar?

You know that song itself, John just had the idea of the chorus and went in and worked with a guy named Sam Hollander – he’s done some stuff with Panic! at the Disco and a whole bunch of other bands, you can look him up – the list is crazy. He’s like a songwriter/producer type. So, they sort of worked from a chorus with that song. But you know, it’s interesting, we’ve been writing with guitars for so long, like an unbelievable amount of writing went on for this record that didn’t involve guitars. There’s probably a lot less guitar on this record than many of our records, honestly. I found myself doing the same thing – I think some of that has to do with the process of making records these days. Like with MIDI and such, working in digital forms. It allows you to do so many different types of things and experiment with so many different types of sounds that a lot of the stuff you end up doing when you’re trying to figure out what the song is, is stuff that you end up keeping along the way because these electronic parts become such an integral part of your song. A lot of the stuff you end up putting together as you’re sitting around kind of making you’re demo ends up on the record. And a lot of that stuff tends to be synth-based. It’s based on the idea of wanting things to sound a little bit different and you know, the way technology goes, I think we just sort of veered that way naturally a little bit.

It’s an interesting adaptation to tools, because 25 years ago, we all barely had computers and now we’ve got these amazing digital tools

Yeah, we were literally doing our demos on a cassette recorder with a microphone at the beginning, so it’s just a lot different now.

Is that better or worse?  It seems like in some ways it might be worse- it gives you more chances to revisit things and rethink them.

Yeah, yeah, it’s maddening, that’s for sure. You know, you’re never done. We were at a meet and greet the other day and this kid, singer-songwriter kid, you know, young kid came up and said to John, [chuckling], “When do you know when you’re done with your idea?” And I laughed and said, “Dude, you are asking the wrong guy.”  You know when we’re done?  When they tell us we need to deliver the master. You know? That’s when we’re done, we’re going to mess with it until then [laughing]. So, you know it really is pretty amazing, you know, for us having made records for all these years now, it’s like, every time we go in to do it there seems to be like a new way of going about looking at making music. As long as you can keep your head in your game and kinda know what you’re doing and keep the sensibilities that make your band what it is, using all these technologies and all these new ideas, bringing in new ideas from people – it can only make for a more exciting progression for your group, I think.

For sure – I have two questions/comments kind of related to that. I saw a quote from John recently that I thought was really beautiful and striking. I’m a photographer as well and I do a lot of portrait photography. And this really resonated with me, he said, “I just want to make a real connection with real people in real time.”  I’ve been a fan of you guys since I saw the video for “There You Are” years ago, then saw you open for Soul Asylum when Superstar Carwashcame out.  Those albums brought me a lot of comfort, I felt a connection with them. And I still remember, I had just got married and I was away from my wife working in the Middle East for my job and I would fall asleep listening to Hold Me Upand  “Two Days in February “ would come on and I’d go, “Man, this makes it better and it makes it worse at the same time”…

[Laughs] Yeah, yeah, right.

A lot of bands have the same technology, a lot of bands can write catchy songs, but you have this unique ability to connect with people emotionally as well and kind of find that emotional core. How do you go about finding that? The chorus is one thing, but then being able to connect and go, yeah, that’s not just catchy, there’s something that’s resonating with the listener…

I think in our case there’s a lot of avenues to every goal. I guess our thing is, we just try to write about things that really either mean something to us or we can see really, really means something to people in our lives or within our view. And I think if you speak honestly about that kind of stuff, even in the vague terms that you write a rock and roll song in, I think that it resonates with people because you’re talking about real stuff, you know? And I think in the same way that people attach to our records, you know, like a lot of that in-the-club music stuff too – that resonates with people. You know what I mean?

Right, for sure.

Yeah, like, I mean, you’re touching this thing that people go, “Yeah, that applies to me, that applies to my life.”  But when you talk about sort of like loftier concepts and the human condition and relationships- people share so many similar experiences, but, obviously played out in different scenarios.  I think if you speak of the things that have touched you deeply, chances are those things have touched some other people (laughing), those exact same things have touched some other people as well.  And I guess, that’s the idea.

That’s beautiful. This is kind of relates to a comment you made before about keeping your head straight. I used to watch 120 Minutes (on MTV) all the time on Sunday night…


And you guys were hosting, A Boy Named Goo had just come out and I remember John introducing the top albums of the week and he just kind of laughed to himself and said, “Don’t look for us there” [laughs]…


…and then not long after “Name” took off, and the album really took off and things just exploded for you guys. I always remember that really interesting self-deprecating comment and it sounds like success really took you genuinely by surprise. And you guys have kept it going for, as an overall band, 30-plus years. How in the world do you keep your head on straight and do that? And the other thing I think is awesome is that a lot of those bands from the ‘80s and ‘90s aren’t even around anymore or they’re not putting out new material, they’re touring on their back catalog. You guys are still making a lot of new material. You’re continuing to drive that.  Is it artistic restlessness that keeps you creating?

Yeah, that’s probably part of it.  Part of it is Buffalo.


Like, we’re dudes from Buffalo, man and if we don’t get up and go to work every day, we don’t know what the hell to do, you know?  And I think…(chuckling)…there’s this thing in the back of our heads, maybe a little bit more with John than with me, but this thing in the back of our heads where we’re pretty sure every day the bus is going to pull in and there’s just gonna be nobody there.


There’s this fear we have in our minds and I don’t know if that’s part of how we were raised or whatever.  But when it’s happening, do it. Make it work. Get on. Get on to the next thing, let’s do it. Let’s keep moving. I guess the one thing, you were saying that we’ve been consistently doing it, it was never a question of ‘if’ so much as it was just a question of ‘how’.  How were we going to make this work? I think as long as you keep that in mind, then you keep moving forward. So, one of the differencesbetween us and most of the bands that are out there right now from when we started is that – we didn’t decide to like move on, decide, hey man, this wasn’t working for us anymore.  Move onto something else, spend seven years, then decide to get back together to make a little bit of money, relive that glory time again.  That was never in our vocabulary at all, you know?  I think moving forward is just sort of the way we go about our day, you know[laugh]. We never thought about anything other than that, so I don’t think it was a conscious decision in any way, other than, like I said, to just figure out how to keep it moving and hope you’re making the right move so you know, you’ll still have some people there, you can still play your songs and we don’t gotta get a job at a shoe store or something.

[Laughing] That was a lot of my motivation to go to college and work hard at it. I grew up near Cleveland and I thought, I don’t want to be working in an auto factory or steel mill, you know that was the drive, you know, that’s really hard work.

Yeah, yeah – you know, I think our band was pretty willing to try things that a lot of bands wouldn’t do when we first kind of broke. Once again, I go back to this Buffalo thing. Like, when we got offered something, we’d be like, of course we’re going to do that. Back then, like in ’95, bands all the time would get offers to do county fairs and stuff like that. Nobody would ever do them, I don’t know – they were like, “We don’t want to go out and play in the middle of a field for a bunch of hayseeds” that was their view of it. But to us, we were like, “Well, it’s worth a shot” and we started doing them and we realized that that’s the place people let their kids go. And all of a sudden, there were like five thousand more people there. And we were like, oh wow, this is great. QVC came to us at one point and we were like, “Oh, God, this looks horrible doesn’t it?” And we were like, let’s give it a whirl. And like, dude, I’m telling ya it was one of the greatest things we ever did. I don’t know, it’s weird, you just gotta open yourself up to these opportunities that come your way. I think, not be too set in your ways as to “this is what we need to happen.” So many opportunities are going to come and if you don’t accept those opportunities and make them work for you, you’re wasting energy, good energy that could be coming your way. So, I think that’s another thing – that we’ve always tried to do whatever – someone comes along and asked if we want to play on Home Garden TV, we’re in man. You know?  

[Laughing] Nice…

Yeah, yeah – you know?  Who woulda thought? Who woulda thought when we were playing at Maxwell’s and CBGB’s that we’d be having a discussion on Home and Garden TV, you know, but you know, that’s what happens.

You and the band have been really generous in giving a lot back to the community.  I know you have your own charity, the Music is Art Foundation and you guys are doing work with folks like USA Harvest, food banks and performing at Artists for Autism, which I thought was incredibly generous way of giving back your time. Is that a way of paying back some of the good karma that’s come your way?

Yeah, and I think any time you can lend your name or spend an afternoon and raise a half a million dollars for a hospital (laughs) you know, if you don’t do that then you’re just some kind of jerk (laughing) you know, right? You know, I mean really [laughing]. We get offers from people and then you start to feel that, start to see the things you can do and so it gives you ideas to do other things. We’ve got an incredibly amazing fanbase of people who have been with us for a really long time that support the things we believe in and the things we do. So, it makes it easy.  I guess if it was a struggle, we probably wouldn’t do it because it would be a struggle and we’re in own struggle here, as is everyone. But it just feels like a natural part of what we’re doing. Every year we try to do something. We’re actually in the midst of, we in the past have worked with this organization that does swabs for bone marrow transplants. We’re in the midst of putting that together to bring along on our fall tour. 

That’s fantastic

Yeah, yeah, there are a just lot of organizations out there that have figured out how to take this kind of thing and mobilize it for good, so why not, you know? [laughing]

Amen, that’s really amazing and generous of you. One last one, and this may be a quick answer. I was always struck by this lyric on “Only One.” So, 25 years ago, almost, John had this great lyric: “The past is a bully and the future’s even worse”.

Yeah, yeah, right [laughing].

So, you’ve lived a bit more of that future now. What’s your take looking back on that lyric, looking at your past and your future from that point of view? Has it been worse than expected or better?

Uh, [amused voice], I think that, uh- I’ve known him for thirty-five years and he feels the same way today

[Laughs hard].

[Laughing hard] That’s fantastic, that’s a great line to end on. Beautiful

The Sarasota Post – Goo Goo Dolls and Train Roll into the Tampa Mid-Florida Amphitheater

By Vicky Sullivan

Train and the Goo Goo Dolls, along with opening act Allen Stone, closed out the July 4th weekend on a rainy Sunday in Tampa Bay. The crowd of 11,500, didn’t seem to care about the weather but, the people on the lawn came prepared with chairs and rain gear! Nothing was going to stop their good time.

Buffalo, New York’s Goo Goo Dolls have been around since the mid-80’s, when they were playing punk, are still rockin’ it in their 50’s! After a slew of 90’s and early 00’s hits, John Rzeznik and Robby Takac are still running back and forth on the stage like they did when I first saw them over 20 years ago. Making their entrance to the opening notes of “Stay with Me”, the crowd was on their feet, moving right into the rocker “Big Machine”. RZ, wearing a black tank top, brought out an acoustic guitar for 1998 “Dizzy Up the Girl’s” hit “Slide”. Another tune from that album “Black Balloon” which has been a staple on the Goo setlist, complete with the audience bouncing black balloons around as John tells the sad story of a friend with a heroin addiction. Robby was doing his usual antics of running around but also took to the microphone for a great version of “Bringing on the Light”.

A great rockin’ anthem coming from the 2016 album “Boxes” was so “So Alive”. The GGD may be known for their 90’s hits but they continue to make new music. They gave us a sample of their new record due out in September with the recently released single “Miracle Pill”. One of the songs that put them on the map more than 20 years ago, “Name”, had Johnny humorously telling the audience that he wasn’t sure what he was going to do with his life at that time. He was bartending and working in a convenience store. It turned out alright since “Name” was nominated for a Grammy in1995. The encore was that still amazing musical emotional extravaganza of “Iris” and New York themed sing-along “Broadway”. The Goo Goo Dolls are still one of the best live bands around!

Pat Monahan with Train at the Tampa Mid-Florida Amphitheater on tour!
The band from the bay of the west, San Francisco, Pat Monahan and Train opened with their hit “Calling All Angels”! Following with “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” had the audience up and singing along! Pat Monahan’s voice is as good as it gets with that killer falsetto. Their anthem to San Fran, “Save Me, San Francisco”, came with balloons and images of the Golden Gate Bridge on the big screen. For a fun part of the show, Pat brings out opener Allen Stone for a duet of the hit “Bruises”! I will get to Allen Stone I promise! Stone’s voice is an amazing soul sound! He and Monahan really shine on this collaboration.

“Meet Virginia” is another Train crowd favorite before bringing out John Rzeznik on a cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl with some “Free Fallin’” thrown in. The Goo Goo Dolls have had “American Girl” on their setlist for many years and has become a favorite at Goo shows! Monahan and Rzeznik are clearly having fun on this homage to Petty. The beautiful wedding song “Marry Me” shows a backdrop of wedding scenes rolling along with the song. A real treat is the cover of Queen’s “Under Pressure” with Train guitarist, Tampa’s own Luis Maldonado and bassist Hector Maldonado. “Hey, Soul Sister” has the crowd dancing in the aisles! The Finale was the 2001 “Drops of Jupiter”, with Monahan in flying position for the atmosphere! A great summer tour of music, don’t miss it!

Soul singer Allen Stone opened for Goo Goo Dolls and Train concert at the Tampa Mid-Florida Amphitheater.
Soul singer Allen Stone opened this show! Mr. Stone has appeared on “Live from Daryl’s House” and opened for Hall & Oates on their 2017 tour. His fan base has been growing as people have been discovering his sound. Stone is a modern soulster with an amazing R&B voice. Be sure and check him out on Facebook and YouTube!
Photos included – click the link below

Photos by Vicky Sullivan / The Sarasota Post

HTX VOX Houston, Texas Show Review

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]


Rocket Sports & Entertainment – Train Pulls Into Tampa With The Goo Goo Dolls and Allen Stone


Allen Stone, Goo Goo Dolls, Train 07-09-17

MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre Tampa, FL

Serving up a ‘Miracle Pill’ filled with ‘Drops of Jupiter”

The tumbling grey clouds covered the sky over the MidFL Credit Union Amphitheatre, as anyone would expect for Tampa this time of year. The little bits of thunder could be heard faintly in rhythm with Allen Stone’s music.

Playing through a six-song set, Allen’s take on ‘Is This Love’ from Bob Marley was a great middle cover. Dancing in sync with his bassist and guitarist, their routine was a great way to get the intro to the show going.

Playing through ‘Unaware’, ‘Taste of You’, and ‘Voodoo’, the set was short, but entertaining. His smooth vocals, and audience participation helped to warm everything up.

Playing in the middle were the Goo Goo Dolls. Originally formed in Buffalo, NY they have been around for over 30 years, and remain largely unchanged. Their stage presence and energy has kept long-time fans coming back for more and take people ‘just there for the headliner’ and turns them into fans.

Literally jumping onto the stage in front of a red ‘curtain’ on the LED boards, lead guitarist Johnny Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac (the two original members still playing), and their touring musicians. Robbie was playing in his unconventional barefoot and rolled up pants attire and had more energy than I have seen from him in ages.

Opening up their 15-song set with ‘Stay With You’ from Dizzy Up The Girl Johnny definitely had on his singing shoes. Getting the audience on their feet dancing, and singing along, it was a great way to say ‘Hi Tampa!!’

Up next was ‘Big Machine’. Another stellar song, and had both Johnny and Robby trading out for different guitars. This was something you usually see a few times per set, not nearly every song. It just goes to show how intently and how passionately they play.

‘Slide’ rounded out the first three songs and wrapped up an opening trio from Dizzy. This greatly loved, and deeply personal song got the few stragglers out of their seats and on their feet. They started taking full advantage of the LED boards behind them, and showcased galactic backgrounds, and other things that gave a feeling of being a kid again.

During ‘Black Balloon’ they released about 30 different sized black balloons and beachballs. They were being tossed around the crowd for the next few songs too. Watching people straining across rows to get a shot to pass them along was a great sight considering how serious people take life these days.

‘Name’ elicited the biggest crowd reaction so far during the set. As their first break through song, and their first real step away from their punk roots, it’s a tune that nearly everyone over the age of 30 has a memory of. Filling the audience in on a little history, Johnny shared “this song was written as I was trying to decide what to do with my life”.

A great way to introduce new singles is to use them to follow up your top hit. ‘Miracle Pill’ is that new single. While the tone of this new single might sound familiar, the subject matter and tempo are new. It still fits their style of music perfectly. You could see some fans singing along, but many were content to just move to the groove.

‘Better Days’ was played two songs later (at 13) and this song is the ‘unofficial anthem’ of the City of Buffalo, and in particular its sports teams. For many though, it’s a song to inspire hope in ultimately more dire circumstances. Fighting cancer, facing divorce, etc. this is a song that just says it all for these big moments people face in life. Looking around the audience I caught a few people wiping away tears as they sung along.

The tears kept flowing for some as ‘Iris’ was up next. Now I’ve heard Johnny sing this as he strums his Taylor acoustic numerous times, but this time it seemed to have more passion than ever before. It really felt like he had made that connection emotionally with the audience that every fan hopes to get, and every musician needs to feel. Closing the song with an extended solo, it was a great touch.

You can’t walk off stage on a note like that though. Closing with ‘Broadway’, the band ramped back up the energy for the crowd. The sing along was louder than before, and that energy blistered through the fans as the set ended with Johnny blowing the audience a kiss before leaving the stage.

“Choo-Choo” that famous train sound roared across the arena as Train hit the stage very suddenly. As people raced back to their seats from the beer stands, ‘Calling All Angels’ came across the speakers with force. A song that still is on the grocery store playlists across the globe had people dancing in the isles and singing aloud.

Ending the song with light sparkler pyrotechnics, they rocked right into ’50 Ways to Say Goodbye’ as the second song of the 15 song main set. With a mariachi band playing on screen with sugar skulls, and red, white, & green in the background, they solidified the Mexican influence the song has on it. Capping the song off with a shower of red and white confetti, it felt out of place. These effects are usually reserved for the end of a show.

After a drum solo ‘It its Love’ played as Pat Monahan took time to encourage fans to light up the amp for him to take a video to share with everyone. Looking back, the number of lights and lighters in the sky was simply amazing.

Following up with ‘Get to Me’ a challenge was laid out; could the Tampa fans dance better? Later on it was announced that the fans danced better than the fans in Georgia. The prideful roar in response to that news was nearly deafening.

What good is one challenge without another? Pitting section against section, the first lines of ‘Save Me San Francisco’ became an audience participation contest. With no clear winner, more beachballs made their way out to the audience. Naturally of course they stayed going for quite some time.

Allen Stone made his way back on stage for his rendition of the Alicia Keys chorus of ‘Empire State of Mind’ as an into to ‘Bruises’. Pat and Allen really sing well off one another and their chemistry is terrific. Announcing the hometown performance for guitarist Luis Maldonado, he was given a shot at a solo and was just a bit less than expected. Pat gave him another shot later on, and he nailed it.

Taking advantage of this solo time Pat came back out wearing a Train shirt. While performing ’Meet Virginia’ he brought out a bunch of other shirts to toss out. Walking around he had the whole band sign the Train shirt he now had on, as he tossed it out to a kid in the front row.

Johnny Rzeznik came back out to sing ‘American Girl’ and the audience sang along as best they could. It was obvious that as much as people may love this song, many of us only know the chorus. Before Johnny walked off, they took the time to take a selfie together with the audience.

Luis took up the majority of the vocals for ‘Under Pressure’ after a small sing back and forth with the audience from Pat ala Freddy Mercury. He even joked about how we all had seen the movie and knew how this worked.

Featuring a snippet of ‘In my Feelings’ as an intro, ‘Hey Soul Sister’ and ‘Play That Song’ rounded out the main set. Pat’s voice was noticeably suffering by this point, but he was still with it. He walked off the stage first as the song ended. While some people were heading for the exits as the music went away, most people stayed and cheered for more.

Coming back out, they played a two-song encore; ‘Great Escape’ (a Pat Monahan track), and ‘Drops of Jupiter’ to end the night. As it was their biggest single, it was a great tune to end the night with.

Talking with fans on the way out, they were excited to have seen the show. One woman said “I’ve seen Train 4 times, and the Goo Goo Dolls 7 times. I’ve never heard either band better.”

The tour continues on to Alpharetta, GA on 10JUL19 and goes on through 17AUG19 in Mansfield, MA.

Click through for photo set: