The rock band will headline a post OC Fair show in Costa Mesa with Sister Hazel on Wednesday, Aug. 25.
By Kelli Skye Fadroski
In 2020, rock band Goo Goo Dolls were primed to hit the road in support of its latest album, “Miracle Pill,” and to celebrate both the 25th anniversary of its breakthrough album “A Boy Named Goo” and its 35th anniversary as a band.
Though the pandemic sidelined all of those plans, vocalist-guitarist John Rzeznik is happy to report that in spite of postponing its national tour and other challenges, Goo Goo Dolls still found ways to connect with its fanbase, including several virtual performances and some recently added live and in-person shows across the country in 2021. The band is coming to Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa with Sister Hazel on Wednesday, Aug. 25.
“I’m just excited because I always have fun with our audience, and it’s always a good time,” Rzeznik said during a recent phone interview. “After doing this for so long, you start to recognize some of the faces. They become like this extended family and it’d be nice to see everybody again.”
“I’m so grateful that we’re getting through this nonsense,” he continued. “I mean, there’s some glitches here and there, but I am glad we didn’t go out and do a full tour this summer because that would be a disaster if things started to surge out of control. Canceling shows here and there wouldn’t be a huge deal, but canceling a whole tour would have been a mess.”
Goo Goo Dolls were originally scheduled to hit the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in September as well, but that date has been moved to Sept. 2, 2022. Instead of sitting idle, founding members Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac, kept themselves busy during the shutdown. To help spread some joy during a dark time, the band recorded a holiday album, “It’s Christmas All Over,” at a L.A.-area studio last summer. The album was released in October 2020.
“We were on Sunset Boulevard recording and mixing that record and we walked out the door of the studio and landed in the middle of a riot,” Rzeznik said of the social justice protests that were happening in the area in June 2020. “It’s just that and we were in a pandemic and at the beginning, it was sort of rainy and there was just no one on the streets in Los Angeles. The Christmas album, it was really fun to experiment and we did a lot of experimentation and research to try to find ways of recording like they did long ago because I was really drawn to the retro vibe for that album. There’s a certain nostalgia that I like attached to my Christmas.”
This year, the band dropped a four-song EP in April featuring stripped-down renditions of fan-favorite songs like “Happiest of Days” and “Bullet Proof Angel.” In June, the guys put out “Rarities,” a double album filled with b-sides, live performances, radio renditions and acoustic versions of 20 Goo Goo Dolls songs including “Name,” “Slide,” “Black Balloon” and “Iris.”
“During the pandemic our manager, Pat, was hanging around his office and I went down to see him and he was cleaning out a closet and he found these big boxes of DAT (digital audio tapes) tapes, which in the ’90s were, you know, all the rage and we put everything on these digital audio tapes,” he said. “He didn’t have a DAT player, so I went on eBay and found a good one and gave it to him and he started listening to everything. Really, Pat kind of curated the whole thing. We went back and forth on some stuff, but it ended up being pretty interesting to listen to.”
However, Rzeznik said he was hesitant about having the band’s version of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” on the album.
“I was a little squeamish about it,” he said. “It was for a commercial we did, but then I was like, ‘Well, who doesn’t like baseball?’”
Having so much time at home lately, Rzeznik said that with the milestone anniversaries and living through a global pandemic gave him a chance to pause and really reflect on a successful run in the music business.
“We’ve been unbelievably lucky,” he said. “It has been a difficult few years because things just come and go so quickly now. If we couldn’t go out anymore tomorrow, I would still be really happy with everything we’ve accomplished and everything we’ve done. Right now we’re actually working on a new record for the beginning of next year and I’m just excited to still have new material out.”
Goo Goo Dolls
With: Sister Hazel
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 25
Where: Pacific Amphitheatre, 100 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa
Tickets: $37.50-$67.50 at 800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com
Also: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2, 2022 with Blue October at The Greek Theatre, 2700 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. $34.50-$649.50 at Ticketmaster.com.