With over 12 million albums worldwide, four GRAMMY® Award nominations and 14 Top 10 hits charting at Hot AC radio — reportedly the most Hot AC-charting singles of any artist in history — the rock band known as The Goo Goo Dolls has been doing things at a high level for well over 20 years.
Last year, The Goo Goo Dolls celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of its Dizzy Up The Girl studio album with a big tour. In addition, in 2018 the group released a new live album, The Audience Is That Way (The Rest of The Show), Vol. 2 via long-time label Warner Bros. Records.
Currently, beyond working on its 12th studio album, The Goo Goo Dolls will be hitting the road for a big co-headlining North American tour with Train this summer. The tour — kicking off on June 7th in Auburn, Washington — is part of Live Nation’s National Concert Week promotion in which select tickets are $20. That promotion launched today and runs through May 7th.
I spoke with Goo Goo Dolls singer/guitarist Johnny Rzeznik on the eve of National Concert Week, and below are some of the highlights; more of the chat be read via Sportskeeda. The full interview with Rzeznik will be airing in the near-future via the Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz podcast.
I had a funny experience of seeing you guys about two years ago play at a reggae festival in St. Kitts where you were the only rock band…
Johnny Rzeznik: (laughs)
Okay, so you remember that one well…
Johnny Rzeznik: Well I’m not gonna forget.
I’m curious if that kind of experience has ever happened to you before where you were the token rock band on a festival.
Johnny Rzeznik: Not like that, no. I mean, that was pretty interesting. I really had a lot of fun. I mean, it was fun… No, nothing. I’d never experienced anything like that. And never since. But it’s cool.
So how long has this summer tour been in the works for? Because I remember seeing that it was announced back in October that you’d be playing Jones Beach.
Johnny Rzeznik: Yeah, this tour… We’ve been trying to do something with Train for a long time. And finally everything worked out so we could do it… Last fall they told me, “You want to try to do this with these guys?” “Hell yeah!” I mean, I love Pat [Monahan]. I think he’s awesome, that he’s a great songwriter, really good guy. He’s a fun person…
You guys have done some interesting double bill kind of tours in the last few years and I’m curious when you have a bill like that if that changes your setlist at all. For example, you’re playing to more of a pop kind of crowd, even though Pat does the Zeppelin thing. Knowing that you’re playing to more of a pop kind of crowd, does that change the good ‘ol setlist?
Johnny Rzeznik: You are playing the hits, obviously. I mean, you got to play the hits and we’ve got to work hard because, you know, Pat’s an pretty incredible singer. He’s super-entertaining… When I go to work and I still work hard and sweat but I like it. It’s going to be a great bill. It’s gonna be a big long night of hits for everybody and some new material like. We’re just trying to figure out what to sing.
We just finished, I think it’s our 12th studio album full-length studio album. I’ve lost count but that’s coming out this fall so it’s going to be cool. We’re going to get a single out… I’m just really looking forward to getting out there, you know?
At this point in your career when you have more hits more charting singles than you do slots in your setlist, I’m curious what that feels like when you can look back and go, “Wow we did have a lot of hit songs.”
Johnny Rzeznik: It’s a luxury problem… and it’s pretty incredible. I feel very grateful that I’ve been able to have a career. I mean, it’s not always exactly the way I wanted to be. But all in all it’s pretty awesome. I mean, it’s been amazing. For some reason it just keeps getting better.
I’m one of the people in your fanbase that really loves those first few records. You don’t get the chance to play a lot of that in concert . Have you guys ever thought about working some of that older material? Or is it just that luxury problem of “There’s no time?”
Johnny Rzeznik: I don’t know if I could play that fast anymore… (laughs) We made the first record in three days… We almost did it as like a dare, you know? I would feel kind of funny playing stuff off the first two records, but from Hold Me Up on, I love all that material… I look back on fondly like, “Hey look what I did when I was a teenager.”.
Looking ahead at the future of The Goo Goo Dolls and all that, you guys really have never stopped working. You’ve never done a solo album or anything to that effect, but you have written and played with other artists. Is there anything you haven’t yet accomplished that you’re still hoping to do in your career?
Johnny Rzeznik: (pauses) I mean, we’ve never won a GRAMMY. I don’t know if we ever will, and that’s not that important. We got nominated for a bunch of them but never won. Sometimes it’d be really cool to play Madison Square Garden. That’s sort of like maybe a bucket list [item]… I’m just more focused on being grateful for what I have instead of wishing for something that I don’t have… I don’t let myself get attached to the outcome of it too much… I’m sort of chilling out and letting things go the way they’re supposed to go. And and just doing my best.
So, in closing, any last words for the kids?
Johnny Rzeznik: Wow. I don’t know. Just find your own voice.