By Don Thrasher
Since forming as a scrappy punk outfit in Buffalo, New York in 1986, Goo Goo Dolls has recorded most of its albums during breaks from tour. The alternative rockers, performing at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Wednesday, Aug. 3, took advantage of the unexpected time off the road during the coronavirus shutdowns to record several projects.
The holiday album, “It’s Christmas All Over,” was released in late 2020. Goo Goo Dolls’ 13th studio recording, “Chaos in Bloom,” will be released by the band’s longtime label, Warner Brothers Records, on Aug. 12. The lead single, “Yeah, I Like You,’ is out now.
“It was cool being home for a little while,” bassist Robby Takac said during a recent Zoom interview from a tour-stop in Missoula, Montana. “I got to spend a lot of time with my family. I grew tomatoes, which I hadn’t done in 30 years.
“I was home way more than I had been in decades, for sure,” Takac continued. “It was really nice to have a summer off the road, but we were busy pretty much the whole time. We did some corporate events, and we also recorded a lot.”
The members of Goo Goo Dolls didn’t work with an outside producer on “Chaos in Bloom,” the official follow-up to “Miracle Pill” (2019). Instead, lead singer John Rzeznik produced the sessions at Dreamland Recording Studios in upstate New York.
“It was probably 20 years since we actually locked ourselves in a room and made music like that,” Takac said. “We sort of went out in the woods and recorded at this legendary studio we rented in Woodstock, New York. It’s like an old church that was built in the late 1800s and they revamped it into a rustic but very cool studio. We sequestered ourselves there for a couple of months.
“You generally make your records in New York or L.A.,” Takac continued. “The sessions tend to be infiltrated by an awful lot of folks who aren’t necessarily part of the creative process. It was nice to have a place where we could just make some music.”
The wooded isolation and in-studio autonomy allowed the musicians to work undisturbed and at their own pace.
“We tend to burn producers out,” Takac said. “John loves to spend an awful lot of time on stuff and rightfully so. When you hire a producer, it’s not the only record he’s doing that year. He’s got to make the best record he can for you in the time allotted and then he has to go on.
“John was able to spend a lot of time working on stuff because there wasn’t a time limit placed on us,” Takac continued. “That was the main advantage. There’s also the purity of process. This is the furthest we’ve gotten in the process before we’ve brought some other folks in to help.”
The sessions were successful enough to also yield some unreleased songs Takac is uncertain they’ll take the approach again.
“There are another six songs we recorded during the ‘Chaos’ sessions,” he said. “We didn’t include them on this record but they’re almost there musically. We’re halfway there with another record so that’s pretty exciting. I don’t know if John will produce the next sessions. I guess we’ll have to see how our PTSD is.”
While Goo Goo Dolls have played private events, corporate shows and one-off concerts and festivals, this summer tour is the band’s first extended outing since early 2020.
“As places have been opening, we’ve been doing gigs here and there,” Takac said. “We’ve only done two shows so far but we’re really looking forward to getting out. It’s been almost two-and-a-half years since we’ve been in a routine of doing shows. Some of the folks bought tickets to these shows three years ago, which is crazy because this band plays a lot, man.
“In the past five years, we’ve really opened up our international markets a lot,” he continued. “That unfortunately slowed down for us with COVID, so we’ve got to set that whole thing up again. We’re touring in the States this year and we’re in the process of booking dates for next year in Europe, Australia and South America.”
One big difference in 2022 is just how competitive the concert market has become. With an increased number of concerts in 2022 and rising inflation, music fans are more selective about how they spend their concert dollars.
“Musicians had two-and-a-half years to get creative,” Takac said. “They were sitting at home, writing songs and coming up with ideas and not touring. Now, they’re on their way out there and, unfortunately, in this climate, there are only so many dollars out there and so much time.
“People are only willing to take X-amount of risk, but I think we’re on our way out of this thing” he added. “I see a little bit of light on the horizon.”
Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW TO GO
Who: Goo Goo Dolls with special guests Blue October
Where: Rose Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Cost: Tickets start at $23
More info: 513-232-6220 or www.rosemusiccenter.com
Artist info: www.googoodolls.com