Goo Goo Dolls Evolve with “Miracle Pill”


In light of today’s divisive political and social climate, it is very refreshing to hear the music of a new album from some old faces that can bring people together. The Goo Goo Dolls are certainly no strangers to reminding people that music is indeed what molds us — as human beings — into one unified people. It seems as if their new album, “Miracle Pill,” came out just in time to allow their fans and other listeners to escape the troubles we face today by reflecting upon the beauty and complexity of love, life and death. The album features 11 tracks that flow well together, along with three singles.

In the album’s first track (the third single), “Indestructible”, John Rzeznik and company introduce a very uplifting song about two young lovers who feel — as the title suggests — invincible together after having felt broken alone. Next, the band digs into more pop beats with the songs “Fearless” and “Miracle Pill.” Though the chorus of “Fearless” sounds light, and the song is about someone who doesn’t give up on life and fights to find happiness, the lyrics have deep meaning. The words from verse two, for example, “I can’t be myself if I’m hiding / And if I’m not living, I’m dying / I can’t feel / What I don’t know” sound very depressing and troubling. I found the title track to be, perhaps, the best in the album, because it deals with very relevant issues. It represents America’s drug epidemic — concerning opioids and Adderall — and the causes of addiction. The song sounds uplifting at first, but becomes more unsettling and even disturbing when you think about the real word significance.

The two tracks “Money, Fame, & Fortune” and “Lost” effectively mix the classic Goo Goo Dolls sound from older tracks like “Name” with the new pop touch of “Miracle Pill.” They illustrate the band’s evolution.

But this album is not perfect, or even groundbreaking. The two songs with bassist Robby Takac on main vocals are easily forgettable. They don’t offer much besides Takac’s raspy voice that may haunt you after you’re done listening. The song “Lights” is another breakup/love song that contains more generic pop than usual. I can’t help but think that the order of the final two tracks should be switched. Ending the album with “Think it Over” leaves a sort of bland musical taste that easily misses the distinct sound and flavor usually found in Goo Goo Doll’s songs. It is potentially the worst song on the entire record. Instead, the album should have ended with the ballad “Autumn Leaves,” which sucks the joy right out of you in the most elegant way. Certain lyrics like“ Life is change / We move on / And where you go I hope the summer goes along / So I wait / And I wait yeah” conjure feelings of loss someone and recovery. It really leaves the listener in deep thought.

“Over You” is the most familiar-sounding song on the album. From the guitar intro to the lyrics to the beat, it is very reminiscent of timeless hits like “Black Balloon” or “Iris” that propelled the band to stardom in the ’90s. Superb lyrics include “Haven’t seen the sun in days / Oh did you take it away with you / Might have gone our separate ways / But every night brings me back to you” and, “There’s only one truth / There’s only one you / There’s no way out / There’s just no over you.”

This splendid anthem describes a lost love and inability to get over it.

All in all, this album is really well-done. Even with a few hiccups, it still paints a great picture of the Goo Goo Dolls for the modern era and for future years to come.

Album: “Miracle Pill”

Artist: The Goo Goo Dolls

Label: Warner Records

Favorite Tracks: “Over You,” “Miracle Pill,” “Autumn Leaves”

If You Like: Alternative Rock

Shamrocks: 3.5 out of 5


Goo Goo Dolls Evolve with “Miracle Pill” Interview: Goo Goo Dolls’ Johnny Rzeznik

“Iris” hitmakers the Goo Goo Dolls are survivors – quite literally. As well as walking away from an Italian plane crash in 1999, the Buffalo, New York group also survived a number of perilous van smashes in the band’s early days. Frontman Johnny Rzeznik admits jack-knifed wrecks aren’t the only perils facing your average rock star: unhinged fans practising witchcraft are just as dangerous.

“We’ve had a few run-ins with mentally unstable fans and it’s a little bit scary,” Rzeznik explains. “I had to get a restraining order after someone broke into my house. They broke in through the gate and did some crazy ritualistic shit in my backyard. I found these candles burning and this weird little altar and a box of strange objects. I was like, ‘Okay, this is not going to happen’ and I had to get lawyers involved.”

Did you have to move?

“No, I didn’t have to move… but I did!” Rzeznik laughs. “There are a lot of sick people in the world and a few of them happen to gravitate towards me. That’s part of the deal though: I decided I was going to be a musician out in public and say things, so sometimes you have to deal with unfortunate circumstances. Thankfully it all worked out.”

Some 21 years since “Iris” topped the Australian singles chart and parent album Dizzy Up The Girl went platinum, the Goo Goo Dolls’ new album Miracle Pill is an expertly executed wolf in sheep’s clothing. While the catchy melodies and pop production give the songs a joyous spirit, Rzeznik’s lyrics are a dark assessment of modern times. Behind the big choruses lurk communiques on prescription medication, the emptiness of the social media sphere and the vicious political climate.

“Politics in America is just shit,” Rzeznik sighs. “Politicians would contact us to raise money for them, but I got to the point during the last election where I was just like, ‘Nah, it’s not going to happen’, because the entire system is broken on both sides. The Democrats are as bad off as the Republicans. We are living in really scary, tenuous times. In America now, discussing your political opinion can actually be really dangerous, which is bizarre. I’m a bleeding-heart liberal and I’ll always be pro-union because I grew up in a blue collar family and that’s what we were. That hasn’t changed about me, but if you mention, ‘Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could go and see a doctor?’ suddenly you’re branded a socialist who’s ruining the country. Forget it, I don’t need that shit.

“I think everyone in our country is just fatigued and slightly shocked,” Rzeznik laughs wearily. “There’s an epidemic of gun violence and it’s sad. We have the potential to be so great, yet we shit all over each other.”

Rzeznik identifies the September 11 terrorist attacks as the point when the United States descended into a bleak phase of history. Eighteen years ago this week, the Goo Goo Dolls frontman joined Limp Bizkit on stage for a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” at the America: A Tribute To Heroes charity event in the wake of the Pentagon and World Trade Center attacks. He recalls going into the recording of the one-off collaboration in a state of numbness.

“Oh, I just felt this whole empty feeling,” he says. “I was saying to myself, nothing is ever going to be the same. I truly felt that. I felt we were about to head into a very crazy time that we’d never experienced. That was the real push for the surveillance state. I realise we need to be safe, but we’ve given up a lot of our rights and civil liberties in the name of security. It breaks my heart, because since 9/11 Americans have been sort of traumatised. It culminates in the last election and people are going, ‘What the fuck is going on?’. It’s better to just lay back and do what I’m good at, which is play music and be part of people’s lives, if only in a small way.”

Taylor Swift is one of the Goo Goo Dolls’ many fans who have been inspired by the band’s music. Introducing Rzeznik in front of her sold-out Madison Square Garden audience in 2011, Swift stated, “In my opinion one of the greatest songs ever written is a song called “Iris””.

“Well I don’t know if she was inspired by it, but all I know is that I got to play with her at Madison Square Garden and she was very smart and very nice to me,” Rzeznik humbly notes. “I don’t know if she’s a fan as I can’t speak for her, but I know she loves “Iris”. That song is still really, really special. It amazes me, the fact that it has lasted so long. I’m grateful that song came into my life.”

Kicking off with the line, ‘And I’d give up forever to touch you’, “Iris” feels like listeners are joining the song partway through a dialogue between lovers. It joins Talking Heads’ “Once In A Lifetime”, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs Robinson” as hit songs with ‘And’ as the unlikely opening word.

“There weren’t any other lyrics before that line, I just have a bad habit of putting ‘and’ at the front of sentences!” Rzeznik explains. “It’s just some stupid quirk in my writing and I have been reprimanded for it many times, but fuck you, I’m writing it how I want to write it! I’ve done it in a bunch of songs other than “Iris”, but it just felt right.”

More than 30 years since the Goo Goo Dolls released their debut album, Rzeznik holds hope music has the power to bring people together, no matter how dark the times.

“I think it can be a start, just like bowling could be a start or a football match could be a start,” Rzeznik says. “I was out on stage the other night and there was about 12,000 people at the show. The whole audience was singing a song with me and I thought, theoretically, in a vacuum, half this audience voted for [Donald] Trump and half voted for [Hillary] Clinton, but everyone in the room is singing in a room together. We don’t appreciate the similarities we have, so maybe that’s the place to start.” Goo Goo Dolls Prescribe an Aural Miracle Pill


When budding songwriters finally connect with their muse, the moment is a literal gamechanger — and it’s something that might just make the difference between being part of a permanent cult-level outfit or transitioning into a superstar act that can fill arenas and stadiums on a consistent basis.Such is the case with Goo Goo Dolls, the pride of Buffalo, New York whose lineup’s backbone for over 33 years and counting consists of a pair of lifelong friends — guitarist/vocalist John Rzeznik (at left under the umbrella in the above photo) and bassist/vocalist Robby Takac. Once the Goos moved somewhat beyond their punk-centric roots and were able to tap into said muse, a string of economically named hits followed in their 1990s wake — “Iris,” “Name,” “Dizzy,” “Slide,” and “Black Balloon” among them, to name but a few — and they’ve been able to mine that prime songwriting vein ever since. Current evidence of their aural-prescription mastery can be found on Miracle Pill (Warner Records), released on September 13. The band’s 12th studio album, Miracle Pill is a fine mixture of declarative intent (“Indestructible”), wary lament (“Money, Fame & Fortune”), and undeniably Beatlesque ear candy (“Think It Over”).

Rzeznik ascribes the Goos’ inherent audience connectivity to a combination of being true to one’s self as a writer while also being able to embellish each tale without alienating the listener’s relationship with it (and them). “I suppose a certain amount of what I do is always autobiographical — and then it completely switches to fiction!” Rzeznik concedes with a laugh. “It’s amazing. A lot of my songs are based on a true story, and then they sort of weave their way out into becoming something else.”

Rzeznik (53), Takac (54), and I all got on the line together not long before Miracle Pill was released to discuss finding analog sounds in a digital world, how to make albums that are immersive experiences, and what the secret to their longevity is. We’re so ready for the better things to come. . .

Mike Mettler: The breadth of the Miracle Pill recording palette seems to lend itself more to the vinyl listening experience, would you agree?
John Rzeznik: I think so, because we did so much old-school stuff in terms of how we recorded it. Ironically, a lot of the recording of that album was done by a kid who’s only 28 or 29 years old, and he’s so into the old-school way of doing things from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. He and I had been investing in this rack of gear, microphones, and old amps. We were scouring the internet and talking to older guitar techs and engineers. We had a conversation with the great producer and engineer Al Schmitt about how to mike an acoustic guitar the old way, you know? The old-school way.

So, we would get these beautiful sounds, and then we’d put them in the digital realm. And then what I like to do is mutilate the sounds with digital plug-ins. (chuckles) What I found as the biggest thrust of this world of making plug-ins and doing everything “virtually,” or whatever you want to call it — the main focus of all of that technology is trying to make the recordings sound like they were done on analog gear. They’re creating digital algorithms and impulse responses to make everything sound old, and shi–y!

Mettler: And real.
Rzeznik: And real! It’s like, instead of putting sugar in your coffee, you put in saccharin. I like recording into the digital realm just for the convenience of it, because tape’s a real pain in the ass. And what is it, Robby — you’ve only got 12 or 13 minutes per tape?

Robby Takac: Yeah — it’s around 13 minutes, which costs about 400 bucks.

Mettler: It’s a labor of love when you’re doing it that way. Have you thought about going all-analog at some point anyway?
Rzeznik: Yes. But I think it would always hit the digital realm, because I love being able to manipulate and mutilate sounds that way — especially keyboards. When we were making this album, we got into this thing where we had found this box where you could take a pedalboard like the one you have on the floor with all of your guitar pedals, and it would change the impedance of everything. You could plug it right into the console. We would be using distortion pedals on shakers and tambourines, plus wah-wah pedals and stompboxes — all this crazy analog stuff we’d use to make sounds on the album.

Takac: I often compare the differences between that and making a record on tape like we used to. It would begin like you were given a word processor and all the programs and plug-ins you could put into it, but then you’ve gotta go back to the typewriter again. I think sitting there without all the advantages of the digital technology would just be so unbelievably limited, to go back and record directly to tape. You’d miss all these awesome opportunities to do things if we were just living in that [tape] world.

Rzeznik: I’m on the flipside of that. It would be kind of fun. At some point, I’d like to get the whole band in the room at once, and just roll the tape and play live.

Takac: It’s funny — we did what John said, once. We went into a studio with this guy up in Washington where we set up and played in a room as a band. And it did sound like a buncha guys playing together in a room, but it didn’t sound like something you’d hear on the radio. Does that make any sense?

Mettler: Yeah, it does — it sounded more like a jam session, is what you’re saying.
Takac: It was almost like a jam session, right — but it wasn’t like a record, so we ended up pulling it back again. You’d really have to do so much pre-production to do that type of thing.

Rzeznik: Well, you should do pre-production. You really should.

Takac: Or just a little amount.

Rzeznik: It’s interesting. You’d have to bring in extra musicians. I think it’d be kind of fun to take the time, prepare what you’re going to do, get together with five or six people, and learn the song down, cold. And even if you’re still using a digital platform, when the drums, the bass, and the guitar are playing together, there’s a push and pull between the instruments. And that’s fantastic, rather than recording it all individually.

The one thing we always say, because it is digital technology, is that you can manipulate timing and being in tune, and all that stuff, so much. It’s more like, “Listen — don’t cut the drums to the click! You can play to the click, but don’t edit the drums to the click. Let ’em breathe and go back and forth and rise and fall in a human way.” That’s still pretty important.

Mettler: At the beginning of “Lights,” where it sounds a little bit sampled and there’s some surface noise going on there too — would that be an example of “being human” with it?
Rzeznik: Yeah, in just messing around with stuff. What’s really fun is we were running a lot of vocals and other instruments through the filter sections of pedalboards. And the bass guitar too — we were running it through an old Moog synthesizer, using the super-low-end stuff and playing along with it. It’s exciting to do that.

Mettler: It sure sounds like it. And then there’s the beginning of the title track “Miracle Pill,” which reminds me of a John Lennon solo track where you have a little bit of echo on your vocal. That gave me a very Lennonesque feel there.
Rzeznik: Well, I’m a huge fan of that Lennon style. We did a song called “The Pin” on the last record [May 2016’s Boxes] — and I loved that song, because we used a big tape echo on it and an old spring reverb that we had that’s the size of a refrigerator (laughs), and then this piano thing. And Lennon, he hated the sound of his own voice. On a lot of that Lennon solo stuff, they used this really heavy slapback on his vocal, and I thought it was really interesting because, to me, “The Pin” was sort of this cross between Lennon and [David] Bowie, production-wise. I wanted to try to do that again on this album where we could, because I love that.

Mettler: Well done, I’d say. Robby, for one of the songs you sing, “Life’s a Message,” I wrote down that it had a “Kate Bush-like intro” to it. Does that assessment sound right to you?
Takac: Yeah yeah yeah. I wrote a lot of stuff on synthesizer, and we ended up carrying a lot of that over to the finished tracks, and often in an unpredictable way. A lot of that stuff sounded pretty unique, and we ended up using a lot of it.

Mettler: There’s a very ’80s kind of feel to some of the background stuff on that track too, which sounds like it was your intent. It’s vintage but modern, in how you put it all together there. Just like you planned it!
Takac: (laughs) Right, exactly.

Rzeznik: It seems like a lot of people are looking backward to find the new sound.

Mettler: Sure does. Here’s a question for each of you guys. When you were growing up in Buffalo, what was the first record you bought that still has some impact on you today, one of those audio talismans from back in the day?
Takac: I was given a cassette copy of The Rolling Stones’ psychedelic greatest hits, [September 1969’s] Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits, Vol. 2). For me, that was kind of the soundtrack to my childhood. [Through the Past, Darkly included some of The Stones’ “trippier” songs of that late-’60s era, such as “2000 Light Years From Home,” “She’s a Rainbow,” and “Dandelion.”]

Rzeznik: And, oddly enough, the first album that I was really exposed to, and really deeply loved, was [December 1971’s] Hot Rocks, which was The Stones’ greatest hits from, what was it, ’64 to ’71? Do you remember that one?

Mettler: Yeah, I do. It was a double album, and it came with a black sticker on the cellophane wrapper that I actually put across the top of the front cover, because I didn’t want to lose it since it listed all the song titles. That’s the cover that has their five heads within each other, right?
Rzeznik: Yeah, the five heads within each other. And the gatefold is that big collage of all the photographs — so cool!

Mettler: That was when you picked up an album and realized that it was a real experience, the whole ritual of it. Will we get a similar tactile kind of experience with the Miracle Pill vinyl?
Rzeznik: It is going to be cool, because it comes in a lot of different color choices. I mean, I remember when just opening up an album was exciting, and the artwork was so important. It became an immersive experience.

When we first started doing the digital thing, I thought to myself, “Wow, this is going to be incredible, because you’ll be able to go so deep with the digital booklet. You’ll have videoclips and crazy art, a lot of interactive sorts of things and all your lyrics, and everything!” But, I don’t know — that all seems to be overlooked now.

Takac: Your record cover has become that size of your pinky now, you know? (all chuckle)

Mettler: Another thing I like about Miracle Pill is it comes in at a nice, concise 40 minutes. That must be a conscious decision in that you feel that’s about the right length for an album-listening experience these days.
Rzeznik: I think that these were just the best songs, and they just happened to come in at that time.

Takac: Maybe subconsciously, from us growing up, that that’s how we hear how long an album to be.

Mettler: You just wrapped up a summer tour with Train, where you did shorter sets than when you headline. Will we get a 90-minute set or longer from you in the fall?
Rzeznik: Yeah, we’ll go 90-plus. I guess we could play for about three hours, but it would devolve into a lot of extended jam sessions and cover tunes, you know?

Takac: And we’d only be able to tour for like two weeks! (both laugh heartily)

Mettler: I did see you guys at CBGB in New York and Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey back in 1991, and during those sets, you did do some of those really fast, punk-style covers.
Takac: That was fun, man.

Rzeznik: Yeah, it was fun. But, believe it or not, at the time, we were like, “Wait a minute — you gotta do a cover tune. Why?” They wouldn’t play you on college radio unless you had a punked-up cover of a classic song, you know? (chuckles) So we would do a couple of those, and they would play them on college radio stations around the country.

Mettler: And then maybe they’d play “Laughing” [the lead track from the Goos’ third album, 1990’s Hold Me Up] after they played your take on [The Plimsouls’] “A Million Miles Away” [also from the same album].
Takac: That was the hope! (all chuckle) You had to be introduced through a cover song.

Mettler: Do you have tapes from those days in your archives? Have you thought about going back and releasing any of that material at some point?
Rzeznik: You know what’s crazy is that I was just with my manager in his office, and he said, “I was cleaning out my storage space,” and he brought out this enormous box of DAT tapes — remember those? And he goes, “I can’t listen to any of them because I don’t have a DAT player, and I don’t even know if you can get them anymore.” I went online to Reverb [an online marketplace for new, vintage, and current gear] and I bought him a DAT machine — a big old Sony DAT player — for $200. The thing was like $2 grand when it was new. Since then, he’s been sifting through live shows, demos, and all this stuff I didn’t even know existed.

Mettler: Cool. Would you put together a box set of that stuff, or maybe come up with a subscription series through your website that people could buy it all from? Or maybe do some Best of Live and Best of the Demos volumes that you could release on vinyl on, say, Record Store Day?
Rzeznik: Wow, I never even thought of that! That’s a pretty cool idea.

Mettler: Sorry, I didn’t mean to give you more work to do. (chuckles)
Rzeznik: No, you’re giving me good ideas!

Mettler: (laughs) Okay, good! Do you recall that nexus point where you knew things had changed? There are a few touchstones, of course, but what’s the one where you guys really felt like, “Okay, now we’re really at the next stage in our career”?
Rzeznik: I think it started early, with [February 1993’s] Superstar Car Wash. That was the first sort of shift, because that’s when I was like, “Oh wow! I think I can really write songs” — instead of just writing “goofs,” you know what I mean? A lot of the music on the first couple of albums was just goofy. We wrote those songs in under an hour. It wasn’t like a ton of thought went into most of it.

Mettler: Sure, but I still like “Out of the Red” [another track from Hold Me Up].
Rzeznik: Well, there were messages in there, but we were young and we were going, “What’s the brass ring we’re trying to grab? I don’t know — playing a weekend at The Continental?”

Takac: Yeah — and for a case of beer, and a couple more fans to talk to, you know?

Rzeznik: Those were the things, but when I hit the age of 23 or 24, I just started to go, “I think I can really do this!”

Mettler: I remember Superstar Car Wash getting that Paul Westerberg seal of approval, which kind of reminded me of when John Mellencamp shifted gears from his pop roots to where you realized, “Okay, this guy is a major songwriter.” He was a great singer of pop stuff, but now an added depth was there where you could see the seeds had been planted for him to get there. That sounds like the same thing for you guys. You had the seeds already.
Rzeznik: I was also told by producers and guys I respected, including Westerberg, “You’ve gotta write. You’ve gotta write until you freak yourself out.” You try to find that thing inside you. [Westerberg, the acclaimed singer/songwriter/guitarist of the notable Minneapolis band The Replacements, co-wrote Superstar Car Wash’s “We Are the Normal” with Rzeznik, a track that made it to No. 5 on the Modern Rock chart.]

The thing I loved most about Westerberg and [Hüsker Dü’s] Bob Mould — and I never really cited him, Bob Mould, as an influence, but I’d go back and listen to those earlier records of ours and go, “There’s so much Mould here, it’s ridiculous!”

Takac: Well, you played guitar a lot like him.

Rzeznik: Yeah. And, you know, Bob Mould is just pure, raw emotion. That is a man with a big, deep soul who’s just baring it for the world. And lyrically, how clever he is.

Takac: And how interesting it all is too, yeah.

Mettler: Just what he did on [Hüsker Dü’s October 1983 EP] Metal Circus alone — it still blows me away. Let’s finish by talking about your long-term friendship. What is it, like 33 years now that you guys have been friends?
Takac: It’s like we’re family.

Rzeznik: It’s been 20, 25 years. 25 years.

Takac: So, what, we’ve only been friends for 25 of the 33 years? (both laugh)

Rzeznik: Yeah! (chuckles some more)

Takac: Well, we’ve been doing this together our whole lives. We’ve been doing it together much longer that we haven’t, you know?

Rzeznik: It’s strange, because we got together when I was, like, 19, and we’ve been going for that long. For the first 8 or 9 years of the band, we would go out and do a tour, become homeless (Takac laughs) and have girlfriends who would let you stay with them. And then you’d go back out and hit the van and go, “I swear to God, this is the one where we make it, baby! I’ll see you in a year!” (both laugh heartily)

Forbes; Johnny Rzeznik Of The Goo Goo Dolls On Pushing The Music Forward With New Album Miracle Pill

For Goo Goo Dolls singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Johnny Rzeznik, the seeds to the band’s twelfth studio album Miracle Pill, now available via Warner Records, were planted on tour last year in celebration of the band’s most successful album.

“I got done doing the Dizzy Up the Girl 20th anniversary tour. By the end, that tour really informed me a lot about where I need to be as a writer, as an artist and as a performer. Because every night it took me back to that time,” said Rzeznik. “We were playing all those songs and then the second half of the show was playing later songs, more obscure songs, and the evolution of who I am became really obvious. And it kind of emboldened me to get off that tour, get right to work and get a new album out.”

In 1995, the Goo Goo Dolls broke through to the mainstream with their fifth album A Boy Named Goo, thanks the the once unthinkable crossover success of the song “Name.”

The album sold two million copies in America and suddenly left the group with the task of figuring out how to follow up a type of stratospheric success that’s left many artists in its wake.

But they didn’t just follow it up, they topped it. Dizzy Up the Girl doubled sales of A Boy Named Goo and the song “Iris” became the most played song on the radio in all of 1998.

For Rzeznik, the challenge since has been how to grow as a songwriter and continue to evolve more than 30 years in.

“It’s very important to me. As time goes on, your worldview changes and your abilities change. You just change as a person. I find it really exciting to make a record that somebody still wants to listen to this far into our career,” said Rzeznik. “I love David Bowie. And it just amazes me how the music changed as time went on. He knew where to look, you know? He knew where to look for inspiration.”

Over the years, the music of the Goo Goo Dolls has incorporated elements of punk and alternative but Miracle Pill is a batch of songs that stands on its own in today’s contemporary pop world. None of the songs rehash old sounds as Rzeznik continues to explore new territory.

A collector of vintage recording equipment, Rzeznik has gotten deeply involved in the production of Goo Goo Dolls albums. And one of the biggest ways he’s continued to push things forward musically is by working with people like songwriter Sam Hollander.

“I love the idea of creating something new. I collaborate now a lot on my writing which I never did before. And the reason that I started to collaborate is that I started to just be in an echo chamber. And I’m like, ‘Well, look… I know what I know but I need to learn from other people,’” Rzeznik said. “So sitting down and working with those guys, you learn so much. I always want to find a new sound – even if it’s a sound that someone made popular 40 years ago. I still want to do something fresh. It excites me to hear something new, you know?”

The new album addresses the turbulent times in which we live. “Miracle Pill” hits on topics like instant gratification and the album itself addresses the world without getting political.

“I think that our country for the last almost 20 years, we’ve been living in a state of this chronic, low-grade anxiety. And I think it’s really starting to wear people down. I know there’s times it wears me down. And we’re living in an incredibly unfair society. Incredibly unfair. And I’m not talking about politics, I’m just making a social commentary,” Rzeznik explained. “The album is about connection, loss of connection, the hope of making a connection. Look, we’re turning into a very, very lonely, disconnected society. And it’s starting to rear its head in very ugly, nasty ways. If there’s no hope, there’s going to be trouble.”

In an era when it’s become difficult to monetize recorded music, a great live show has become crucial. The Goo Goo Dolls have never stopped touring. And, to Rzeznik, there’s benefits of the live music experience on a number of different levels.

“I went out this last summer and I was standing on stage and there were about 15,000 people there. So I’m standing on the stage and I’m playing these songs. And I’m thinking, ‘So almost half this audience, politically, disagrees with the other half of the audience…’ Statistically, theoretically, half this room disagrees. But both sides of the room are singing the songs, right?” mused Rzeznik. “Live music especially is what’s gonna keep people together. Because you can’t experience that on the internet. You have to get off your ass, drive twenty miles, buy a ticket, stand in line, talk to strangers, deal with people – it’s a beautiful thing. Everybody is there for one thing that they all agree on: They all agree that they want to be there. And that’s a good thing.”

During the music industry boom period of the 1990s, there was a standard cycle that existed around the release of a new album, which saw bands release a record, tour and disappear until the next one, usually a span of about two to three years.

But, today, in the era of online streaming, there’s been a gradual shift away from that toward immediacy. A catchy single is often more important than a great album and bands can’t just disappear until the next album drops. The Goo Goo Dolls have embraced that by releasing singles and EPs to streaming platforms and touring relentlessly.

“It’s just the way things are. But I kind of dig it. It’s like, ‘Well, I’ve got a really cool idea. Let me call this guy and book the studio, get in and let’s have it done next week.’ It’s kind of cool,” said Rzeznik. “I’m planning on doing that again. Miracle Pill is a piece of work – it’s a collection of songs. But if I come up with a really cool idea, I’m just gonna put it out there. It’s a matter of sink or swim.”

The Goo Goo Dolls toured in support of the Dizzy Up the Girl anniversary last year and have been on the road since, hitting amphitheatres in large markets this summer with Allen Stone and Train. And for Rzeznik, that remains an experience which identifies and informs everything the Goo Goo Dolls do.

“I see people from every walk of life in what I do. And I talk to people every single day, every city I go to. I talk to people about everything. I just talk to people every single day. And it informs me and it kind of influences my songwriting. I want to connect, man,” Rzeznik explained of life on the road. “Doing the [upcoming] tour, we’re going to be playing theatres and smaller cities. I dig it. I want to appreciate what’s going on in smaller cities. It’s very, very different than in the big cities. I’m excited,” he said of a tour which takes the Goo Goo Dolls through Texas, the midwest and northeast during October and November.

Through all of the ups and downs in his band’s 30 years, there’s been one constant for Rzeznik: his partnership with co-founding singer, songwriter and bass player Robby Takac.

“We still get along. He’s kind of a semi-autonomous unit within the band. I do my thing, he does his. But we still actually like each other,” said Rzeznik. “There’s times when we want to punch each other in the face – and there were times we did punch each other in the face – but it just feels right still. When it doesn’t feel right, I won’t do it. But it still feels right. So I don’t think I’m going anywhere.”

*** Miracle Pill is available now via Warner Records.

*** The Goo Goo Dolls launch an American tour Friday, October 25 at Bass Concert Hall in Austin, Texas, making their way through the midwest and into the northeast through November. Click HERE for the full itinerary.

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Pernambuco Diary – Goo Goo Dolls bassist talks about show in Recife

‘Iris will be the highlight’, comments Goo Goo Dolls bassist about show in Recife

By: Bettina Novaes Ferraz

Translated from the original

North American rock band The Goo Goo Dolls was founded in 1986, but only broke out worldwide in the late 1990s. The ensemble, originally from the city of Buffalo, New York, was already famous in its country of origin, but it was the ballad Iris that led the group’s sound to be known internationally.

The hit, made especially to compose the soundtrack for the movie City of Angels (1998), was so successful that, more than twenty years after its release, it continues to be played on the radio and remembered as a classic of that era.

On September 22, Recife will have the opportunity to hear and sing this mega hit live with Goo Goo Dolls, at the band’s presentation, which takes place at Arruda Stadium. They open Bon Jovi’s This House Is Not For Sale tour in Brazil. The capital of Pernambuco is the first city to receive the tour, which still passes through Curitiba and São Paulo. In addition, the group’s visit to the country will feature a show at the World Stage of Rock in Rio on the third night of the festival.

“I’m very happy. This opportunity is amazing because we always wanted to play in Brazil, but we never made it,” says Robby Takac, bassist and founding member of the group, in an interview with Diario , about his first performance in the country in more than 30-year career – besides him, only vocalist John Rzeznik has remained in the band since its formation. “We always hear good things about Brazil, now we can fulfill this desire to know the country.”

This is the second time The Goo Goo Dolls and Bon Jovi have been on stage. The two bands had toured 10 years ago. “We toured the United States with them. It was a lot of fun,” recalls Robby. “I think our audiences are beautiful together and I’m looking forward to seeing this in Brazil on an international tour,” comments the musician about the partnership.

New job
In addition to the songs released over the past three decades by Goo Goo Dolls, Recife will be able to check out the band’s latest work, the Miracle Pill album , whose tracks have a very pop and lyrics feel. with social criticism.

The third track, which names the album Miracle Pill , is a distress call. “Baby, would you be my miracle pill? / And I could be someone else / So sick of living inside me,” says an excerpt from the song. “I think this song says a lot about a lot of people,” explains Robby. Do you know those days when we have a problem? So you take the pill and that fixes anything. “Still according to the bassist, this need to want an immediate solution to all setbacks is linked to modern society, which lives connected to social networks.” We live in small bubbles, surrounded by people. bad, “says the bassist.

The other songs on the disc have the same theme as a starting point. Robby says this project involved the whole band and two other music producers. “We wrote the lyrics, recorded the songs and in the end we came up with a lot of different results,” says the bassist about the album creation process, which has 11 tracks in total.

But for the musician, the climax of the performance will not be with any hits of the moment. Iris , the song that opened doors for the band around the world will be responsible for the most beautiful moment of the show. “This is definitely going to be the highlight,” says Robby. “This song is a gift that has given us another 20 years of career. It’s always wonderful to play it.”

Sound the Sirens Magazine – Goo Goo Dolls ‘Miracle Pill’ Review

The Goo Goo Dolls have always just written good music for people who cared only that the music was good

One of the most remarkable things about the Goo Goo Dolls is their steadfast consistency amongst the ever-changing backdrop of popular music. Six years ago when they released Magnetic, I wrote that the band remained unchanged in the face of their supposed “waning popularity” in the eyes of pop culture and radio charts. It’s true that many of their contemporaries that made it big alongside them in the late 1990s are long gone, but for the Goos, they’ve quietly continued to be above everything else, themselves, just older, wiser, and continuingly more refined. Miracle Pill is their 12th studio album and is the natural progression from 2016’s Boxes. Like their previous release, Miracle Pill continues their musical evolution away from alternative rock to the more serene territory of adult contemporary. Sure, it may sound like a bad thing, but like everything the Goos have done over the past 25 years, it’s supremely confident and composed.

They may not write songs with the caustic bite like “Here Is Gone” anymore, but they have been finding comfort in the more introspective pop-strewn melodies found in songs like “Lights”. Similarly, in the new album’s lead single and title track, the Goos tap into bouncy, easy-to-digest pop empowerment. Songs like “Indestructible” show that the band haven’t put down their guitars just yet, constructing songs that are still fond of their alternative rock roots but have found comfort in grander, more expansive sounds.

The album’s best moments are when the Goo Goo Dolls unashamedly tug on the heartstrings like they’ve done so many times before. The quiet jangly nature of “Over You” does this particularly well, while the bigger, electronic-infused arena rock of “Lost” shows that this type of music is just done extremely poorly by bands like Imagine Dragons. “Autumn Leaves” is a throwback to the kind of songs found on Let Love In and Dizzy Up The Girl, sounding organic and wistful, while the closing of “Think It Over” is the kind of song they’ve been hinting at since Something For The Rest Of Us. It’s part quintessential Goos, but contemporary and timeless at the same time.

Credit to the Robby Takac songs of the album too- “Step In Line”, “Life’s a Message”- both some of the finest songs Takac has written. He is often cast in the shadow of John Rzeznik’s more recognizable sound, but on Miracle Pill, his work is the best its sounded since Dizzy.

The Ringer recently wrote a piece titled ‘The Goo Goo Dolls Were Never the Cool Kids, but They’re Still Standing’. I echoed these sentiments in that Magnetic review years ago, but if there was anything long time Goo Goo Dolls fans know is that the band were never concerned about popularity or being “cool”. The problem with being cool in music is that it fades. The Goo Goo Dolls have always just written good music for people who cared only that the music was good. Not much has changed in that sense, and really, that’s much better than being cool.

The Daily Gamecock – The Goo Goo Dolls talk new album, perseverance


The Goo Goo Dolls are more than just the guys behind “Iris.”

In their 33 years together, lead singer-guitarist John Rzeznik and bassist-singer Robby Takac have released 12 studio albums and seen a complete transition from punk to pop rock. Their music isn’t the same as it was in the 20th century, and neither are they.

“I think when you’re younger, your whole world is — or, at least, when we were younger — our whole world was kind of about how everything was affecting us directly,” Takac said. “And then I think as we got older, we sort of started to see how things affect others and how the big picture is out there.”

The Goo Goo Dolls rose to prominence on the edge of the grunge scene. Their breakthrough album, “Dizzy Up the Girl,” featured somber power ballad “Iris,” but the album’s other tracks were just as heavy: “Slide” observed the aftermath of a teenage abortion. “Black Balloon” described a heroin addiction. The entire record was about tumultuous relationships and a hazy sense of self, nodding to the band’s dark headspace at the time.

Their latest album is a testament to just how far the they’ve come since then. Released on Friday, Sept. 13, “Miracle Pill” refers to a very different kind of drug: instant gratification in the age of technology.

“If you’re feeling sad, you take a pill. If you need approval, you go on Instagram and receive it immediately. It speaks to the second decade of 21st century angst,” Rzeznik said in a press release. “We’re inundated by bullshit, garbage, and false solutions to every problem we have. The real path is to work hard, be nice, and keep going. However, this route gets overlooked, because we’re all looking for the ultimate shortcut and escape.”

While the band’s subject matter may have changed, Takac said the lyrics are no less biting. The difference is in their perspective.

Both he and Rzeznik are now sober. They’ve settled down with wives and children, and Takac said they’re “in a pretty cool place right now.” This new chapter in their lives rubbed off on the songwriting in “Miracle Pill.”

“I’m speaking to my daughter,” Rzeznik said in a press release. “I want her to pursue what she wants, but we’re living in a scared and unfair world. You have to bravely go out and enact the changes you want to make in order for this to be a better place.”

Their evolution didn’t happen overnight, though. Takac said they’ve been careful not to jar fans with a vastly different sound from one album to the next. Instead, their music has gone on an organic, record-to-record journey. In that regard, the piano- and synth-rich tracks in “Miracle Pill” come as less of a surprise.

The Goo Goo Dolls started experimenting with new technology several albums back, allowing them to “twist and maneuver sound” in new ways. They’ve become especially partial to using vintage studio gear to smash digital sounds in compressors and preamps, dragging modern technology back into a classic sound.

“It really makes for music that feels everlasting to me,” Takac said. “A lot of electronic music and stuff, it’s so clean. I don’t know, it just feels too pristine and too clean. You get a little bit of stink on it and it sort of sounds a little bit more like our band.”

As they continue to evolve and explore new musical pathways, Takac reminds listeners that the makeup of Goo Goo Dolls hasn’t changed since the ’90s. He and Rzeznik never split up or took a break. They’ve encountered rough patches, but they always worked through them because they genuinely care about each other and want to see the band persevere. That, Takac said, is what separates The Goo Goo Dolls from other ’90s-era bands.

“We were never a band that went away, and then got big, and then said, ‘Oh, wow, we could make some money again if we got back together, played ‘Iris’ for people.’ Like, that’s never been our goal,” Takac said. “We know people love to hear ‘Iris,’ and we love to play it for people. But we’ve been The Goo Goo Dolls since the beginning, and now it’s what we still do.”

Miracle Pill is out now. The Goo Goo Dolls will have a tour in support of the album later this fall, stopping in Charleston Nov. 17.

Win a Meet & Greet for The Goo Goo Dolls in Sioux City IA, Des Moines IA, Peoria IL or Davenport IA on the Miracle Pill Tour!

Enter to win! One entry per person per show. Entries close on 9/21 at noon est. Must be 18 to enter. Meet and Greet does NOT include show ticket. You MUST have a show ticket to attend the Meet and Greet. Meet and Greet is for one person only & ID must match winning name. Cannot be resold or transferred. Please follow the AG site on Twitter, ( to enter.