After 25 years, Goo Goo Dolls still on road

InterviewNovember 6, 2011Lancaster Online

Not many people would trade the sunny climate of Los Angeles for the nasty winters of Buffalo, N.Y.

Robby Takac, however, decided a couple of years ago that it was time to come home after spending more than a decade in LA.

"I remember looking to Los Angeles and thinking to myself, 'Wow, these people are really bizarre,' " said Takac, the bass player for the Goo Goo Dolls, which got its start in Buffalo 25 years ago.

"And then I found myself thinking that was the normal way to live. I realized, when everything there seems right, then it's time to go."

Takac, who counts his time back in Buffalo by the number of winters he's endured (two), also had practical reasons for moving east. He and his wife, a Tokyo native, own a recording studio in Buffalo and operate their own record label.

He also is active in the community and in 2004 founded Music Is Art, a nonprofit that supports music programs in the city's schools. He also sits on the board of trustees of his alma mater, Medaille College.

"I really like LA and had a great time while I was there, and I might move back there again," Takac, 47, said. "Who knows? But right now, I'm really enjoying being back home — when I'm there."

Takac doesn't get to spend much time at home because the Goo Goo Dolls, led by lead singer and chief songwriter John Rzeznik, are road warriors.

The band is in the middle of a fall tour to support its most recent album, "Something For the Rest of Us" (2010). The tour will bring the band, which includes drummer Mike Malinin, to Sovereign Performing Arts Center in Reading on Tuesday, Nov. 8, and to the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Del., on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

"It's mostly theaters on this trip, which is great, too," Takac said. "We did those amphitheaters all summer, and they tend to get a little sterile after a while. They're a blast to do, no question, but when you get back into those theaters, those places that were built to see music in, they really lend themselves to that experience."

Takac said the band's set list doesn't change much, mostly because it has a long list of hits, including the songs "Iris," "Name," "Slide," "Sympathy," "Better Days" and "Let Love In."

"There's about 14-15 songs that we have to play if we're going to get out of the building," he said. "That's the most significant part of the set. There's stuff from the new record and songs that you love to play. At that point, our docket is pretty full."

The new album, "Something For the Rest of Us," has been something of a commercial disappointment for the band, as it has not produced any significant hits.

The band, which was modeled after the Replacements early in its career, seemed destined to labor in near-obscurity until "Name," a song from the Goo Goo Dolls' fifth album, "A Boy Named Goo" (1995), broke into the mainstream on Top 40 radio.

There was no stopping the band after that, as Rzeznik kept churning out hits.

"Situations change around you, especially when you've been at it for a little while," Takac said. "We've seen a lot of trends come and go, and we've probably been influenced by some of them. But I think we've been careful to make sure we're making Goo Goo Dolls records, man.

"If we get a hit record, that 's great. But I think time has to match up with us more than we have to match up with time. It's sort of beyond our control whether or not that happens. It's not beyond our control to make a great record."

The Goo Goo Dolls will take the stage at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, at Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 136 N. Sixth St., Reading, and at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Grand Opera House, 818 N. Market St., Wilmington, Del. For ticket information, call 800-745-3000 or visit