By Bethany Reitsma
Iris was the song that changed everything for the Goo Goo Dolls - and now even Gen Z knows who they are.
Released in 1998, Iris dominated the charts and went seven times platinum this year. Last week, it passed one billion streams on Spotify. Now it's taking over TikTok, as the soundtrack to a new generation.
But how does the band's frontman John Rzeznik feel about that?
"I mean, great. I don't care how people get the music as long as they're getting it," he tells the Herald.
"Nobody's making money selling records. Now the game seems to be getting on playlists and getting sucked into algorithms that get you more streams and I'm like, okay ... that seems to be the bigger business that we're involved in now."
The Goo Goo Dolls have just released their 13th studio album Chaos in Bloom. And as Rzeznik, 56, notes, a lot has changed since they started making music.
"The whole digital revolution started shortly after we started making albums, and we've watched that whole thing evolve, or devolve, the production of music," he says.
"Even though I love playing in the digital world, I don't think it lived up to its potential. I think it's just become a huge crutch that makes mediocre people able to become famous. It's more about the image than the actual content of what you're doing in a lot of instances. Used properly, it can be an unbelievable enhancement to everything."
The single Yeah I Like You is a commentary on that kind of social media stardom, with lines like "I met the queen of generation fame ... You know you're shallow, it's your greatest feature.
"I just thought it was really funny, cause I was sitting there messing around with a guitar and you know the whole thing about liking something?" He does a thumbs-up and mimics the noise made by a Facebook "like". "Like, yeah, I like you."
And while he admits he's "blown away" by some of the talent on social media, he's also wary of its dark side.
"I just think social media has really exposed its dark underbelly for what it's done to people. And I don't believe getting your dopamine hit off of how many people approve of you is a healthy thing. But the song is supposed to be satire and it's just funny."
Chaos in Bloom, like so many other albums, was recorded during the pandemic. Rzeznik says the album was partly inspired by "trying to navigate the weirdness" of this particular time in history.
"And a million people dying from it, and the crazy political stuff that's going on in this country, and the social unrest. These are very interesting times, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're gonna be good."
The album's message is "basically, we're all f***ed," he laughs. "Everything is messed up, but we're gonna be okay."
While he's done producing work on other records, Chaos In Bloom is the first of his own albums he's produced - and Rzeznik says he had a "lot of help".
"I like to work 16 hour days, seven days a week and I tend to burn producers out pretty quick," he admits.
"I love to experiment and I love to play with the buttons and the knobs, and I'm really just trying to search out something unique or interesting sonically ... nobody has any patience to deal with that for an entire album, so I gotta do it myself.
"I wanted to go out to the woods and just basically force everybody to work together, cause there was nowhere to go and nothing to do. So everyone stayed together and made a record."
A year and three months later, the album was finished. Now the Goo Goo Dolls are back on the road touring the US for the first time since 2019 before "everything shut down".
"It's great. Amazing," Rzeznik says of being able to tour again.
"It's just so amazing to reconnect with people and it's been a great year. I think people were going nuts staying home."
Asked whether they'll make it to New Zealand again soon, Rzeznik says he "would love to".
"It depends what opportunities present themselves. Gotta work it out."