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Goo Goo Dolls not done yet

Courtesy photo
The Goo Goo Dolls released their tenth album, "Magnetic," in June. The band, which formed in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1985 is (from left) Mike Malinin, Johnny Rzeznick and Robby Takac. Photo by Chapman Baehler.

WANT TO GO?

Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty, with Kate Earl

WHERE: Charleston Civic Center

WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday

TICKETS: $37, $57 and $77 INFO: Call 800-745-3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com

_____

The gazz also talked to Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas. See that story here.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Goo Goo Dolls lead singer Johnny Rzeznik said he and Matchbox Twenty front man Rob Thomas, have no trouble figuring out which of their bands should go first on their current summer tour.

"You check your ego at the door," Rzeznik said. "We go first."

It could go either way, really. Both bands, which perform Aug. 21 at the Charleston Civic Center, come with a fairly impressive pop music track records. Each has its fans, awards and greatest hits.

The Goo Goo Dolls are best known for a string of hits that include "Name," "Slide" and "Black Balloon" -- but they'll always be remembered for "Iris."

That song was a monster.

Featured in the movie "City of Angels," "Iris" spent 18 weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 chart and was a huge international hit. The song was nominated for three Grammy Awards in 1998 and has since been frequently covered or sampled by everyone from Taylor Swift and Beyonce to New Found Glory.

Last year, "Iris" was named the number one song on Billboard's Top 100 Pop Songs from 1992-2012. The Goo Goo Dolls also have two other songs on the list and are the only band to do that.

But while that's all great stuff, Rzeznik said the math doesn't lie. Matchbox Twenty is just a bigger band.

"They've had a way bigger career than we have," he said. "They've sold a lot more records."

Matchbox Twenty, by Rzeznik's estimation, has sold four times as many records as the Goo Goo Dolls.

"It's really obvious," he said.

And opening for Matchbox Twenty isn't a step down for the Goo Goo Dolls.

"They're a really great band," he said. "They're an amazing band, and I have to work every night to keep up with them because they're really great live."

Rzeznik is fine with the competition. He's glad to be on the tour, which he called the biggest tour (at least by the number of shows) either band has been on. It's good to still be around. 

"It's always been one of those things," he said. "We've never been the biggest band, never ever the biggest band, but we've always been able to sort of trudge through and maintain our own identity."

They've survived and kept the band alive to play another day, he said, while many other groups who came up in the mid-1990s have disappeared.

"Who's left?" he asked.

The Goo Goo Dolls are still making new music, too. "Magnetic," the band's tenth album, is a departure from previous albums, Rzeznik said. Partly, that's because their approach to the record was completely different.

"We used to have this bunker mentality," he said. "We used to say, 'OK, we're going in to the bunker and not coming out until we have an album.'"

It was a chore, and writing songs could be a chore. So, for "Magnetic," Rzeznik hit the road and went all over the country to work with different songwriters. He kept the pace light, didn't force it.

"If I didn't want work that day, I didn't," he said.

He listened to his co-writers, and if something didn't work, they didn't do it.

Rzeznik said, "I wanted my album to reflect where my life is at."

Where he's at these days is pretty good.

"I'm in a place where I'm still young enough to enjoy a lot of things and smart enough not to abuse them," he said and laughed. "I've got that wisdom that comes with some age."

He's also happy and in love. The singer married his longtime girlfriend in July.

Just because Rzeznik is in a good place and comfortable opening for another band doesn't mean he isn't without ambition. The Goo Goo Dolls have accomplished a lot, but there's still a lot left they could do.

"Just once," he said, "I want to headline Madison Square Garden and sell it out." Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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