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Goo Goo Dolls News & Info / Indestructible
« Last post by Leo Dalton on August 09, 2019, 06:51 AM »
What are we thinking of the new single Indestructible? I love it! Definitely the best of the three songs released so far, although I do really like both Miracle Pill and Money, Fame & Fortune too. This one seems to be getting a lot more love than the other two!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Frmd-qqFv2I
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Robby Takac of Goo Goo Dolls on JessMessin Broadcast 1 Year Anniversary Episode!

Join us for a casual conversation between visual artist Jess! Pfohl and musician/entrepeneur Robby Takac.  Jess and Robby discuss the Goo Goo Dolls, new work and tour, our current social climate and how that effects creative process and turnout.

Robby Takac - founding member, bassist and vocalist of the chart topping, award winning musical group Goo Goo Dolls.  Owner of GCR Audio Recording Studio in Buffalo, New York.  Founder of Good Charamel Records.  Founder and proprietor of Music Is Art.

NEW ALBUM ALERT!  MIRACLE PILL OUT SEPTEMBER 13th, 2019!

https://www.blogtalkradio.com/lyonsradionetwork/2019/08/08/robby-takac-of-goo-goo-dolls-on-jessmessin-broadcast-1-year-anniversary-episode
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Win tickets and a meet & greet with the Goo Goo Dolls on their Fall tour and support a great cause at the same time!

Musicians on Call (MOC), a nonprofit that brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities, has launched its annual online auction, offering music fans the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind music and entertainment experiences.

https://www.charitybuzz.com/catalog_items/meet-goo-goo-dolls-with-2-tickets-to-an-upcoming-show-1834506

https://www.looktothestars.org/news/19213-musicians-on-call-launches-annual-online-celebrity-charity-auction
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ONE OF THIS SUMMER’S HOTTEST TOURS AT MUSIKFEST: TRAIN / GOO GOO DOLLS

Review & Photographs by Diane Fleischman

On day five of Musikfest The Windcreek Steel Stage presented a triple bill, opening the evening was Allen Stone, originally from Washington state, who describes himself as ‘a hippie with soul’. The perfect opener for the evening, Stone brought his R&B influences, his enthusiasm to get everyone in the audience engaged, and a whole lot of soul.  He covered the stage well, he threw in some rap style dance moves when not strapped to a guitar.  Stone brought the integrity and clarity of amazing talent, he certainly is an artist on the rise to follow.

The one thing I know to be true about The Goo Goo Dollsis that they love to tour over the summer.  With a catchy new single “Miracle Pill”, and a new album release in September, The Goo Goo Dolls will continue to tour into the fall.  It was great to see them back at Musikfest.

For many, the surprise of the evening was that The Goo Goo Dolls opened for Train. Even though the tour is advertised as ‘co-headline’, Train took the stage last, and has done so consistently on this tour. One would think that the more established group would be the headliner, but as this review continues, you’ll understand why.

The drums pounded as “Stay With You” (Let Love In), kicked off their set.  Robby Takac and John Rzeznik greeted the crowd, both appeared trim, lean, and without a doubt, ready to rock.  “Big Machine” (Gutterflower), followed, then “Slide” (Dizzy Up The Girl).  Rzeznik joked with the full arena, “I thought you might remember that one.”

The hits continued with “Rebel Beat” (Magnetic), “Here is Gone” (Gutterflower), “Free of Me” (Boxes), and the black balloons were traditionally sent into the crowd for (you guessed it) “Black Balloon”.

There was a feeling so empowering and declarative as Rzeznik powerfully belted the lyrics to “So Alive” (Boxes), and yet so humble with “Name” (A Boy Named Goo), their first hit, as Rzeznik gratefully commented, “Thank you for remembering that one.” After their 20th anniversary tour of Dizzy Up The Girl, it may have provided the realization that this group has in fact turned another corner, a career span now over several decades and still continuing to thrive, all supported by their fans, and Rzeznik and Takacappeared completely appreciative.

The fifteen-song set winded down with “Over and Over” (Boxes), which was full of energy, and one of Rzeznik’s most poignant songs, “Better Days” (Let Love In).  Next was “Iris” (Dizzy Up The Girl), a crowd favorite, and “Broadway” (Dizzy Up The Girl) closed their show.

It became crystal clear why Train is headlining this tour from the very first song.  They brought all the toys, bells and whistles for an arena tour. The use of pyros and confetti guns exploded as they opened with “Calling All Angels” followed by “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” set the tone of what would continue through their set, a high energy performance.  Front man, Patrick Monahan, had several tricks up his sleeve that ensured the crowds’ attention as he brought out his cell phone and asked the fans to scream their loudest as he recorded.  There were also Train tee shirts thrown into the audience, one shirt autographed by everyone in the group for one lucky fan to catch.

Like The Goo Goo Doll’s set, Train’s selection of songs was also a greatest hits collection.  “Save Me San Francisco” got the crowd on their feet as they danced and sang along. Show opener, Allen Stone, was invited back on stage for “Bruises”, and the dancing and singing ensued during “Meet Virginia”.

Train also threw in several cover songs, Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind”, “American Girl, Free Fallin’ “ by Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker” with a snippet of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” tacked on the end, andQueen’s “Under Pressure”.  All were performed well, but it seemed the latter was the best received by the crowd.

Monahan reached deep down for that emotional loss in “When I Look to The Sky”, and as he introduced “Marry Me”, he reminisced of forgetting to call his wife on their anniversary. He described a conversation he had with Goo Goo Dolls bassist, Robby Takac, with a most spot on imitation of Takac I ever heard, it was a good giggle.

The last four Train songs were the most successful and loved by the crowd, the pyros and stream guns made a return visit for “Drive By”.  “Hey Soul Sister” followed, and then “Play That Song”, with “Drops of Jupiter” closing the show.

The Goo Goo Dolls/Train tour continues on through the summer.  These combinations of bands compliment each other and showcased their hits and crowd favorite songs making this tour one hot show to catch.

http://www.thevalleyledger.com/?p=94414
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REVIEW: Train and Goo Goo Dolls follow single(s) path to success at Musikfest

By JOHN J. MOSER

Both late 1990s alt rockers Goo Goo Dolls and 2000s radio-rockers Train made their careers through hit singles.

And both also followed that path to success at Musikfest’s main Steel Stage on Tuesday, giving the festival’s first sold-out audience of the year pretty much everything it expected to hear, and the way it expected to hear it, in a co-headlining show.

Goo Goo Dolls, which played first, opened with hits: “Stay With You,” which, now more than a dozen years since it was a Top 5 hit, sounded a bit more mellowed and reserved before soaring -- perhaps even better capturing the song’s promise of fidelity. And then right into a more muscular “Big Machine,” a Top 10 hit in 2002.

The songs’ familiarity was almost comforting. When, without hesitation, the band jumped into its hit “Slide,” a twitter went through the crowd, and singer Johnny Rzeznik remarked, “I figured you’d know this one.”

But like that song, some of Goo Goo Dolls’ hits now are more than 20 years old, and the band couldn’t help but let them evolve in the way the band has.

“Here is Gone,” for example, sounded heavier and more ominous. Rzezznik started its breakthrough 1995 hit “Name” alone on acoustic guitar in a spotlight before the band kicked in behind him -- still gentle and almost bluegrass.

“Better Days” took on new meaning -- a plea for the future in uncertain times -- and the group’s biggest hit, “Iris,”was triumphant. Rzeznik asked the crowd, “come on, sing it with me," and it did, loudly and emphatically.

And 1999′s “Black Balloon” was wonderful -- sweeping, majestic and, yes, also more mature.

Aside from the hits, the balance of Goo Goo Dolls’ 15-song, hourlong set also was very good. That includes its more recent songs: 2013′s “Rebel Beat” was thumping and upbeat. “So Alive” from 2016, even if it doesn’t measure up to the standard of the hits, was OK, and Rzeznik made it an audience call-and-response.

The same was true for 2016′s “Over and Over,” which for a late-career song was a standout, and its lyrics, “Turn it up/And start again” sounded like a lyrical manifesto for Goo Goo Dolls.

Two songs sung by bassist Robby Takac (who from the stage called Musikfest “one of the coolest things going on in this whole country”) also were good. “Free of Me” from 2016 was a nice switch-up because of its rock approach. Four songs later, Goo Goo Dolls approached “Bring on the Light” similarly, and with similarly good results.

Only the new song “Miracle Pill,” from a new album Rzeznik said is coming out in fall, was weaker -- a middling, stuttering rocker.

For such a short set and one so focused on its most popular material, Goo Goo Dolls skipped its chart-topping, gold 2004 hit cover of Supertramp’s “Give a Little Bit.”

But it closed with its 2000 “Broadway,” closed the set, and for how much the 2000 hit was ominous and dour, on Tuesday, it seemed far more enthusiastic and, unexpectedly, more hopeful.

That’s how a hit can evolve.

Train also opened with a hit -- one of its biggest, 2003′s chart-topper “Calling All Angels,” and it, too played the songs as if they still meant something.

That was especially true for vocalist Pat Monahan, who wailed on the song as if his life depended on it more than 15 years later on the lyrics “I won’t give up/You don’t give up,” and rarely let his enthusiasm wane throughout the 18-song, 85-minute set.

“Lets fill this place with love and positivity," he told the crowd. "Throw those hands up to the sky.” And they did.

Monahan changed the lyrics on the 2010 No. 1 gold hit “If It’s Love” to say, “I’m not in it to win it/I’m in it for Pennsylvania.” And far more than Goo Goo Dolls, Monahan engaged the crowd, reminding them he is from Erie and, when he asked them to sing along and they did, responded to cheers, “So much better than Jersey ... Man, it’s great to be back home."

Monahan even wailed with urgency on lesser hits such as “50 Ways to Say Goodbye,” and “Save Me, San Francisco,” during which there was over-sized beach balls bouncing around the crowd. “Angel in Blue Jeans” chugged along and soared.

Monahan, backed by a seven-member band (including two female singers), seemed to give his most to “When I Look to the Sky,” which he said was a song he wrote after the death of his mother.

He followed that with an equally beautiful song, the platinum “Marry Me,” which was lovely and heartfelt, even if his voice seemed to have not recovered from the previous song.

But it was telling that, beyond those big hits and a few deeper cuts -- 2012′s “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” and 2005′s “Get to Me” -- Train had to fill its set with several covers.

It brought out opening act Allen Stone for a short version of Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind” before Monahan duetted with him on a great “Bruises,” Train’s underappreciated shot at Americana. Stone sang far better than he did any song in his set.

But while Train’s cover of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ “American Girl” with a snippet of “Free Fallin” was very well done, it seemed apropos of nothing. Same with David Bowie and Queen’s “Under Pressure" -- a gutsy song to cover, and one on which Train did great, with guitarist Luis Maldonado singing Freddy Mercury’s part, even the scream at the end.

Train got back on track with a fun and playful turn on the hit “Drive By,” but unlike the way Goo Goo Dolls evolved its songs, Train’s breakthrough 1999 hit “Meet Virgina” was played with a far more rock approach, and not necessarily for the better.

Train wound down its set with its biggest hit, “Hey Soul Sister.” Every band should have a six-times-platinum hit like that to wrap up a show, and Train played its best, even adding a snippet of Drake’s “In My Feelings.”

A sweet, wonderful “Play That Song,” with Monahan again singing seemingly with all he has, was the spot at which the band would have ended its main set, but Monahan simply told the crowd to stay with them, and Train launched into a cover of the hard-rocking early Led Zeppelin song “Heartbreaker,” ending with a snippet of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion.”

Train’s show closed with its second biggest hit, “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me),” and the audience seemed satisfied the band had played all of its biggest songs.

Stone opened the show with a six-song, 28-minute set of blue-eyed soul, succeeding when he kept songs in a lower range to sound like Gavin DeGraw or Daryl Hall but having less success when he sang falsetto.

Regardless, Stone, backed by a four-man band, was fearless in his singing, even when his intention outreached his talent.

He also did his job of hyping the crowd for the headliners.

https://www.mcall.com/entertainment/lehigh-valley-music/mc-ent-review-musikfest-train-goo-goo-dolls-20190807-vmfo7ujd2vf4xnn46dejczaif4-story.html
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What a wonderful interview! Thank you Johnny for once again sharing your life with us. Congrats on five years sober; I'm very happy for you. You described the feeling of being at a concert so well. I feel like I am free for those 2 hours and I make friends and dance and scream and I love that we are all there as a collective connecting with the music and lyrics. I will be seeing you for the 18th time on Sunday and I can't wait to tell you thank you. 3rd meet and greet, 18th show. So grateful for all you do for your fans! And thank you for being honest about your alcoholism and how severe it is; it's great you can share that and accept it. You rock!!
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Check out some show photos here!
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Goo Goo Dolls News & Info / WSUM: Madison, WI Show Preview /Blog
« Last post by BulletproofAngel on August 07, 2019, 05:04 PM »
“I just want you to know who [The Goo Goo Dolls are].”
Author: Stephanie Hoff

There has never been a band I’ve vibed with more than The Goo Goo Dolls.

Their raspy lead voice (John Rzeznik) and soft easy rock (musicians Robby Takac and George Tutuska) can carry me through the roughest days. It also mellows me, grounds me, and inspires me.

I have a strong connection to this band as it was one of my mom’s favorites. I’ve listened to them throughout my childhood. The band formed in 1986, I was born in 1998, and I still listen to them almost every day!

You can imagine that when I saw this…

…that I about lost my sh*t. I have been following this band’s tour schedule since I got my license and could work to afford to go. I’ve been researching how close they were coming to Wisconsin and how I would get there. But, it looks to me that they were planning something special in secret.

“So why don’t you slide” with me to the November performance at the Orpheum.

The Venue:

Perhaps you are familiar with the iconic Orpheum sign that towers over State Street. The Orpheum has been a centerpiece of the downtown Madison community since it opened its doors in March of 1927 after a building cost of $750,000. It was originally built as a vaudeville venue, which were theatrical dramas that had a variety of entertainment like comedy and ballet all in one. It was the first building in Wisconsin to have air conditioning. It has even gained entry on the “National Register of Historic Places” in Wisconsin.

Since then, it has been remodeled in 2013, and restored to its former glory. Now, the Orpheum is home to live concerts, national touring comedy acts, and private events like weddings. As you walk towards the entrance, you’re greeted by a limestone, art deco style exterior and an extravagant French Renaissance interior that makes the space feel sophisticated and classic.

The Band

The band’s original lineup starred John Rzeznik on guitar and vocals, Robby Takac on bass and vocals, and George Tutuska on drums and percussion. The trio picked their name from an advertisement for a toy called a Goo Goo Doll before their first gig in Buffalo, New York – where they started. Their first album, The Goo Goo Dolls, came out in 1987. In 1995, Tutuska was replaced by Mike Malinin on the drums.

It was the song “Iris” that pushed The Goo Goo Dolls into the mainstream and out of their alternative roots. It appeared on the soundtrack to the 1998 romance film, City of Angels starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. “Iris” spent almost a year on Billboard’s airplay charts and 18 weeks in the number one slot. It was also nominated for three Grammys.

One of my favorite albums of The Goo Goo Dolls is Dizzy Up the Girl, and it was released during “Iris”’s craziness. The album sold over three million copies. Hits from this record were “Slide” and “Black Balloon” (mentioned below) and “Broadway” (look up after you read this).

With the turn of the century came a struggle for the band to keep their large audience. However, “Let Love In” is a fantastic song (it went gold) that came out in 2006. The Goo Goo Dolls kept pushing out albums with a hit here and there.

Today, they are a two-man band. Malinin left the band and Rzeznik and Takac decided not to replace him. Their first duo album, Boxes, and single, “So Alive”, was released in 2016. Their current tour is to promote their upcoming album, Miracle Pill, which comes out on September 13, 2019. They are doing a 21-city fall tour starting in Austin, Texas, and finishing in Toronto. Joining them are special guests, The Unlikely Candidates and Beach Slang.

Top 7 Songs as seen on Spotify (because I can’t just list 5):

1.    Iris is the most famous song. The lyric that is the most iconic is “and I don’t want the world to see me, ‘cause I don’t think that they’d understand. When everything is made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am.”
2.    Slide is one of my favorites and I mentioned it above. The most iconic lyric is “Oh May, put your arms around me, what you feel is what you are and what you are is beautiful. Oh May, do you wanna get married, or run away?” and “I want to wake up where you are, I won’t say anything at all, so why don’t you slide and slide into my room and we can run away run away run away.”
3.    Name is a sad one, but it has a different meaning for different people as fan blogs indicate. I think of missed opportunities when I hear this song. But, some people think about love. My favorite part is the instrumental part that gives off a bluegrass and old-time music vibe. The lyric that speaks to me is “We grew up way too fast and now there’s nothing to believe and reruns all become our history. A tired song keeps playing on a tired radio.” I think it’s a reminder to not let life run by you. This track was a Top Five in 1995. 
4.    Sympathy is a song that reminds me of the A Cinderella Story with Hillary Duff and Chad Michael Murray because it’s one of the songs that plays during that movie. The best lyric is “And I wished for things that I don’t need (all I wanted) and what I chase won’t set me free (it’s all I wanted) and I get scared but I’m not crawlin’ on my knees.”
5.    Black Balloon is hard to make sense of, and by that, I mean the lyrics are confusing. But, this one is great, “And there’s no time left for losin’ when you stand and fall.” It tells me to get back up when you fall down, because you literally don’t have time to lose. It was nominated for a Grammy.
6.    Miracle Pill is from The Goo Goo Dolls newest release. The most relatable lyrics are in the introduction, “What I need is to feel incredible. What I need is a real love chemical.
Wanna beat like a heart that’s painted in gold.”
7.    Come to Me’s chorus is the greatest, “Come to me my sweetest friend. Can you feel my heart again? I’ll take you back where you belong and this will be our favorite song. Come to me with secrets bare, I’ll love you more so don’t be scared, and when we’re old and near the end, we’ll go home and start again.” It’s so happy and full of love.
I encourage you to explore more of their songs and review them for yourself! You’ll fall in love, believe me.

I’ll see you at the show!

WSUM
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Train wrecks, Goo Goo Dolls keep the show on track
 
“That black cloud’s been following me the last couple days,” Goo Goo Dolls singer John Rzeznik said, looking up at the dark mass looming just north of the Musikfest grounds after the group finished playing the third song of their set, their hit “Slide.”

“F--k it, let’s keep playing.”

Almost immediately, the clouds dissipated and the rock band continued to power through the rest of their 15-song show. The night was only just beginning, though, though, as they then ceded the stage to San Francisco-based band Train for the second half of the bands’ co-headlining show in Bethlehem, just one stop on their joint summer tour.

The Goo Goo Dolls, made up of Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac, blitzed through their first few songs, and I mean blitzed.

It might have been for the best, though, as the two band members and their supporting musicians were shot out of a cannon for their first few numbers. Takac especially was firing on all cylinders with enough energy to power the entire city of Bethlehem. Oddly, he wasn’t wearing shoes — a bold move.

But the band matched their energy with their earnestness. There were a couple times that Rzeznik, who has had the same hair for the entirety of his professional life (not a bad thing!), waltzed over to my side of the stage to pander to the crowd by playing right in front of them, and he seemed to have just as good of a time as the audience members. Takac’s gusto poured over into his conversations with the crowd.

“This is one of the coolest things going on in this country,” he declared of Musikfest, citing the couple other times the band has played the festival as evidence for his statement. I don’t know if he’s this enthusiastic at other shows, but I believed him.

The most bizarre portion of their concert, which was filled with Goo Goo Dolls favorites like “So Alive,” “Better Days" and “Name,” was during their 1998 song “Black Balloons,” during which zillions of actual black balloons emerged from the crowd. I’ve never seen a group of mostly adults become so distracted with anything before. Audience participation can be remarkable, especially when that participation requires getting on your tip-toes and reaching over the person in front of you to try and swat a rubber sphere.

All in all, the veteran rock band was a zealous tornado of joy and nostalgia, with a career-spanning set that also included “Miracle Drug,” the title track from their upcoming album.

If there’s one disappointing thing to take away from the first show of the night, it’s that Rzeznik didn’t play his all-time Disney classic.

During the brief intermission while the stage was being turned over for Train, the video screens to the sides of the stage were playing a rotation of ads. The one that really caught my eye featured Patrick Monahan, Train’s lead singer. I had literally no idea what it was an ad for until I saw a slow-motion shot of Monahan swirling a glass of red wine followed by a close-up of the wine bottled emblazoned with “Drops of Jupiter.” Corporate America, baby!

That was a sign of things to come for Train’s 18(ish)-song show. While the Goo Goo Dolls were streamlined, no-frills frenetic energy, Train was the complete opposite: frilly, confusing and meandering. The train wreck (I’m sorry) kicked right off with the band coming out to the sound of ... a train.

That might just wrap up the veteran group’s case for Corniest Band of All Time. If there was any doubt left, Monahan settled it throughout the set, almost endearingly so, with his banter and “dancing” on stage.

Train is massively popular for a reason — They crank out hyper-digestible radio earworms. People find themselves singing every word to their tunes while they play in the grocery store. That’s not a bad thing! People certainly got what they paid for, which was a show filled with Monahan cheesing it up through Train’s extensive song list. When you can lead with “Calling All Angels,” “50 Ways To Say Goodbye" and “If It’s Love” (during which the Erie, PA-native Monahan took a video of the crowd that was later posted on the band’s Twitter page), you’ve got hits on hits to pull from.

And pull from those hits, they did. From late 90′s classics like “Meet Virginia” and their show-closing “Drops Of Jupiter” (which, if you recall, is now a wine) to more recent tunes like “Play That Song” and “Drive By,” Train fans both young and old had plenty to sing along to. But so did Jay-Z fans, Tom Petty fans, Queen fans, Led Zeppelin fans, Aerosmith fans and even Drake fans.

Despite the plethora of hits the band has to pull from, they insisted on whipping out a number of random and oddly placed covers.

The first was when opening act Allen Stone burst onto the stage singing Alicia Keys’ chorus from Jay-Z’s “Empire State Of Mind” to lead into Train’s duet, “Bruises.” The first full cover that really threw me for a loop was when they mashed together the late, great Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and “Free Fallin'.” One of their final songs, usually reserved for a band’s more popular tunes, was an underwhelming version of Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker” with some of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” mixed into it.

The most perplexing moment by a wide margin came about halfway through their mega-hit “Hey, Soul Sister,” when Monahan, alone at the front of the stage, insisted on rapping the chorus of Drake’s 2018 meme-inspiring song “In My Feelings.” He prefaced this by announcing “this is one of my favorite styles of music that I don’t get to do very often.”

Patrick, my man. Let’s keep it that way. It was one of the most cringeworthy moments I’ve ever seen in live music.

Not all the covers were bad, though. In fact, Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” was astonishingly perfect. With guitarist and Allentown-native Luis Maldonado acting as Freddy Mercury and bassist Hector Maldonado taking Bowie’s vocal duties, they essentially rendered their band’s lead member obsolete, as they absolutely crushed the song with stunning vocals. Again, a random choice to break out, but easily Train’s best moment.

Of course, the highlight of the night belonged to the Goo Goo Dolls, who left not a dry eye in the house with their smash 1998 hit, “Iris.” The guy behind me, as the last few notes vanished into the ether, astutely explained, “That was a great song.”

My guy, I agree.

Connor Lagore may be reached at clagore@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @clagore34. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

Lehigh Valley Live
 
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Goo Goo Dolls’ Johnny Rzeznik basks in sobriety as band stretches into third decade with co-headlining gig with Train
 

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Johnny Rzeznik’s band, Goo Goo Dolls, is in the midst of its 33rd year, and touring in support of a new album, “Miracle Pill,” that’s due out in mid-September.

But for Rzeznik, there’s a more important anniversary: his sobriety. This is his fifth booze-free year, and it’s had a pretty good impact on his life, he said in a call from a gig in Bangor, Maine, to talk a bit about the band’s co-headlining tour with Train, which stops at Blossom Music Center on Wednesday, Aug. 14.

“People actually like me again,” Rzeznik said, laughing. “I think it’s made me a better person. It certain has humbled me.

“I have a very powerful form of alcoholism,” he said. “I finally gave up and accepted the fact that if I even smell too much booze, I’m going to start drinking again. That’s just how I am.”

In a way, that’s something a lot of Cleveland can understand, considering he grew up in Buffalo.

“That’s just how I am,” said Rzeznik, who with bassist and fellow vocalist Robby Takac remain the sole original members of the band that launched in 1986. “It’s my family, my genes, growing up on the east side of Buffalo.

“Robby hasn’t had a drink in over 10 years and I’m coming up on five years,” he explained. “We were brought up in the working class neighborhoods of Buffalo, and that’s what you do, you go and get hammered after work.”

And it’s easy to do, because like Cleveland, it seems there’s a bar on every street corner in Buffalo, he agreed.

And even with that demon lurking, he remains tied to his hometown. As a matter of fact, even three decades into the band’s career, he’s still got a solid view of what originally would have qualified as a success in the beginning, and to heck with the rest of it.

“Headlining at the Continental on a Saturday night,” said Rzeznik, laughing. “That was the pinnacle of success. The Continental was the CBGB’s of Buffalo.

“The man who ran it (Bud Burke) was an incredible guy, and very much an iconoclast, very much a rebel,” Rzeznik said. “You know, when I went away for my first tour, he gave me a $100 bill and said, ‘Stick it in your shoe. If you get in trouble, use it. Your job will be waiting for you here.’ ”

The only person closer to him might be Takac, which is why they’re still together even though the band has been through a few personnel changes, as most bands do.

“I think we understand each other’s boundaries,” Rzeznik said. And even that has changed with sobriety.

“We understood each other’s boundaries before, we just didn’t respect them,” he said. “He’s like my brother. We know what buttons to push, we just choose not to push them.

“I still like the guy,” he said.

In just about every band, there are two people who connect on different levels. In one of my own weekend warrior bands, it was a guitarist. If he was smiling, I knew it was a good gig. So you’d have thought the relationship between Rzeznik and Takac might be the same. Though the brotherly love is there, it’s another relationship that lets Rzeznik know a show is going well.

“Connecting with the audience,” he said. “If I go up there and say a little something or tell a little story or the audience is singing all the lyrics to the songs, I feel like I did my job. All I want to do is connect.

“One of the things about live music that’s so incredibly important and can’t be replaced and automated is the common focus of a room full of people having that human contact and being immersed in the sensory overload of a rock concert,” Rzeznik said.

“The volume, the lights, the smells, the people bumping into you” make the experience, he said. “We live in an increasingly isolated world, so it’s important to get out and actually touch people and laugh and cry and do all those things.”

It’s a lot easier to do when you have a catalog that includes hits like “Iris” and “Slide” or “Name.” And he knows it.

“I’m incredibly grateful for those songs,” Rzeznik said. “I’ll gladly play those songs every single day for the rest of my life because they gave me a way out of the [bleeping] gutter.”

Hearing the crowd sing along to those hits is something few get to experience. But even so, it’s not an ego trip for him, perhaps especially not after all these years and what he’s been through.

“It’s not the adulation from the crowd that makes me grateful for these songs,” he said. “It’s the fact that those songs connect with people.”

And he’s not all that sympathetic with artists who have troubled relationships with the songs that “made” them.

“A rock star I know said, ‘I just can’t play that song anymore,’ and I said, ‘You’re an ungrateful bastard,’ ” Rzeznik recalled. “ ‘That song bought you a house in Northern California. That song put your kid through college. Stand up there for three-and-a-half minutes and sing the [bleeping] song!’ ”

And enjoy the human connection.

Preview

Goo Goo Dolls

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14.

Where: Blossom Music Center, 1145 W. Steels Corners Road, Cuyahoga Falls.

Co-headliner: Train.

Opener: Allen Stone.

Tickets: $19.50 to $115, plus fees, at the box office, ticketmaster.com and by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

Cleveland.com
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