By GARY GRAFF | The Oakland Press
June 25, 2021 at 7:30 a.m.
The pandemic has given many of us a chance to do some housecleaning — including Goo Goo Dolls.
The Buffalo-born rock duo released a Christmas album and an EP and did a number of virtual performances, together and apart, during the past 15 months. It also put together “Rarities,” a 20-track set out Friday, June 25, that includes acoustic versions of hits such as “Iris” and “Slide,” live recordings and unreleased material that singer-guitarist John Rzeznik calls “fantastic train wrecks that didn’t make the records.”
Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac have also been busy making a new album, and they’ve announced a 2022 concert tour. So no one can say the Goos have been unproductive during their time in quarantine…
• Rzeznik, 55, says by phone that keeping busy during the lockdown was paramount. “During the pandemic I didn’t want to sit on my hands and do nothing. We tried to do as much Zoom stuff as we could, and the Christmas album and everything. I just didn’t want to sit back and wait for somebody else to solve the problem. I wanted to get in and do as much as I could and keep the dialogue open with our audience.”
• “Rarities,” meanwhile, is in fact a product of genuine housekeeping — or, in this case, the band’s manager cleaning up his office. “He was getting rid of old stuff and said, ‘Look at this; I found all the boxes full of DAT tapes. You can’t buy a DAT player anymore. I had to go on eBay and get him one, and he just started digging through all these DAT tapes and picked out what he thought was best. He’s always been involved in making our set lists, so he chose most of the songs and put together a whole running order. I get to use that fancy buzzword — he curated it.”
• Rzeznik adds that his only mild objection on the track list is the Goos’ muscled-up rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” recorded for Major League Baseball promotions TV ads during the mid-‘90s. “They were doing a bunch of these TV spots, all different versions of the song. We were the alt.rock version at that moment, and we were like, ‘Whoa, man, we’re actually getting paid!’ And we got to go to the World Series for free. But I tried to forget about it. When (the manager) chose ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ to end (‘Rarities’) I was like, ‘No, you can’t do that,’ but for some reason he thought it was cool.”
• The Goos have been working on new material — “two albums’ worth,” according to Rzeznik — and has a new album planned for 2022. “We’re going to keep tweaking it and working on it and get it right where I want it. We wrote the bulk of the music in the studio; The skeletons of the songs were there with a drum machine, or nothing, and a guitar or piano or whatever, and we spent our time watching the songs morph and getting new ideas as we went along. It’s got a leaner, meaner feel to it, less polish than we usually have. I’m sure we’ll release a couple or few singles and then get it out there next year.”
• Rzeznik says he and Takac are anxious to tour again but felt like it was prudent to take this year off and see how things pan out. “I get the feeling this summer is gonna be insane out there. This summer and next are gonna be massive years for live entertainment. So we felt like, ‘We’ll wait till the traffic clears and see how this thing shakes out.’ There’s still a chance there’ll be more surges and spikes, and we really don’t want anybody getting sick or being the cause of another spike or surge.”
Goo Goo Dolls are scheduled to perform Aug. 7, 2022, at the Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights. Tickets on sale now via 313Presents.com.