John Rzeznik talks their new album, producing and getting back to the fans
BY ISAAC BIEHL
Invading the pop charts with alternative rock like no band had before, The Goo Goo Dolls have made a name for themselves that will live on forever. Songs like "Iris, "Name," and "Slide" will ring a bell for anyone, but their discography is four-decades deep and their fans are die-hard. John Rzeznik (guitar/vocals) and Robby Takac (bass/vocals) just announced their 13th studio album, "Chaos In Bloom," set to release Aug. 12.
Recorded outside Woodstock, New York, at Dreamland Studios—housed in an old church, "Chaos In Bloom" was the first time Rzeznik produced an entire Goo Goo Dolls record by himself.
"I think that I have a tendency to burn producers out. And I like to experiment. I didn't feel like I was able to get my hands as dirty and connect as deeply as I wanted to [previously]. So I went for it," says Rzeznik. "I am a collector of ridiculously old recording equipment. I love that. I wanted to have a chance to experiment to create some cooler sonic textures. And the writing process was really fun. We found an old church about an hour from where we live and just moved the band in there. As far as subject matter, it's pretty clear that the world has gone pretty f*cking insane."
Rzenzik gave it his all producing.
"I write music first. That music kind of triggers emotions in you and then I sort of come up with the melodies. Then a phrase will come out. You chase it. Chase it down the rabbit hole and see what's on the other side. It was fun producing. I blew all the money. I forgot about that part," he joked.
To accompany the announcement the band also released its first single, the sarcastic and witty "Yeah, I Like You," which touches a lot on celebrity culture and social media. "I wanted to write the story about this guy who meets this internet celebrity and they like each other. And he's baffled, like why is she so famous? There's a little bit of envy but also admiration. He's really having fun with it and he realizes his own life is gonna creep up on him."
As for Rzeznik, just staying out of it and avoiding trolls is his approach to social media.
"I hired a guy to do it for me. When Twitter came out they told me, 'You gotta get Twitter!' I'm trying it, and I wound up arguing with everybody. I'm like, I don't care. I'm gonna hire a guy and if I got something to say I'm gonna text him or call him. And when I don't, just post stuff about the band," laughs Rzenznik. "Why? Because I can't stop fighting with people. The vast majority of people are so supportive and so great and just want to say hi. It's amazing to have that sense of community like that. And we have an amazing audience. I feel a bond with them. But there's always some crazy f*cking person."
Other talking points on the album include political division on "Day After Day," societal inequalities on "Let The Sun," and Rzeznik sings about the kind of cabin fever one gets while trapped at home during a pandemic on "Going Crazy."
"I think I really did lapse into psychotic episodes. Or extreme anxiety attacks. It was pretty weird. I found people to work with and everyone was vaccinated as soon as they could be. We created our own little bubble to work in. Truly, just getting to have time with my daughter and working kept me sane," he says.
A big part of The Goo Goo Dolls experience is catching them live, and they haven't toured since 2019. Both Rzeznik and the fans are more than ready for their return.
"I miss seeing everybody! Our audience is so awesome. There's something so great about it. I feel this real sense of pride, standing up and singing a song, then turning the mic to them and they sing it. It's like yeah... we're cool with each other. I get you and you get me. I'm just happy we're here together. That's a powerful thing, man. I'm a lucky, lucky, lucky person."
The Goo Goo Dolls will be joined by Blue October on July 17 at Hayden Homes Amphitheater.
Goo Goo Dolls w/Blue October
Sat., July 16. Doors at 5:30pm, Show at 7pm
Hayden Homes Amphitheater
344 SW Shevlin Hixon Dr., Bend
$45 + fees