BiographyBiography • 1995 • Unknown source
On A Boy Named Goo, America's best known unknown band, The Goo Goo Dolls, up the alternative music ante with thirteen new songs that defy convention, the odds and your preconceptions. Produced by Lou Giordano (who's worked with everyone from Pere Ubu and Husker Du to Sugar and the Smithereens), and featuring the Goo's new single and video, "Only One," A Boy Named Goo puts The Goo Goo Dolls front and center in the back-to-basics revolution that began with the Ramones and continues unabated with this rabidly original Buffalo band.
The group's third Warner Bros. Records release, A Boy Named Goo is also a full-bore follow-up to their critically-acclaimed 1993 release, Superstar Car Wash, bringing to the band's hook-ladened hardcore pop a whole new dark-edged luster. "This is who we really are," asserts guitarist-vocalist Johnny Rzeznik. "This is what we sound like to ourselves."
It's a sound that has taken The Goo Goo Dolls a long way from their upstate New York stomping grounds, even as it remains true to their raw, uncompromising roots. The group, which also includes bassist/vocalist Robby Takac, got their start on the small, but lively Buffalo music scene in 1986. Garnering a loyal local following, they released their first independent album, Goo Goo Dolls, a year later, even as they expanded their base with a spate of national touring.
Signing to Los Angeles-based indy powerhouse Metal Blade Records, The Goo Goo Dolls released Jed in 1988. By that time, word on the grapevine had already made them a major club attraction throughout the Midwest with growing pockets of fervent Goovers on both coasts. The word was out, and critics wasted no time in picking up on the deafening buzz. "A blast of school's-out exuberance," enthused the Los Angeles Times, "a roar of youthful rage." "Thrash-packed pop and well-articulated rage," was how Rolling Stone described The Goo Goo Dolls chemistry, while the Austin American-Statesman predicted that the band "just might be to the '90's what R.E.M. and the Replacements were to the '80's..."
With that kind of response, it was only a matter of time before the group began attracting major label attention. In 1991, they released Hold Me Up, under Metal Blade's distribution deal with Warner Bros. Records. Additional, non-stop touring ensued and, in between time, the band recorded an original song,"I'm Awake Now" for the soundtrack to Nightmare On Elm Street 6. It wasn't until the Spring of the following year that they found time to return to the studio to begin work on a new album.
Produced by Gavin McKillop, of Toad The Wet Sprocket renown, Superstar Car Wash went even further in proving The Goo's axiom that gut-level, guitar-based rock and roll had a place in the pure pop spectrum. "It's about time The Goo Goo Dolls conquered the world," insisted their hometown paper, the Buffalo News, and the group took up the challenge with six months of virtually continuous touring. Aside from headlining their own SRO dates, the band also opened for Soul Asylum nationally and took a swing through Europe for some selected dates. They made numerous TV appearances, including a performance on Late Night With Conan O'Brien and contributed a version of the Rolling Stones' "Bitch" to the AIDS benefit album, No Alternative.
It wasn't until early last year that the group returned to Buffalo to begin writing and pre-production on what would become A Boy Named Goo. Work proceeded at home and in a local studio as the songs and the sound of the album began to take shape. "At first we tried a real high-tech approach," explains Rzeznik, "with all sorts of bells and whistles. But after awhile we realized that the best way to get what we were after was to get a boom-box, hit the record button, and just start banging away."
The "banging" was shaped and molded into actual songs with the able assistance of the group's longtime collaborator, Armond Pietrie, and by the time Giordano (the group's first choice for producer) arrived in June, they were virtually ready to begin the recording process. Basic tracks were cut in New York, with additional recording and overdubs done in Buffalo. "What we were getting was very natural, very true to form," Rzeznik explains. "We'd done our homework...we knew exactly what we were going for and Lou locked right in."
But the process was not quite complete. Additional sessions were scheduled in Los Angeles, this time with producer Rob Cavallo, the man behind the boards for Green Day's multi-platinum Reprise debut abum, Dookie. "Originally we were going to do some 'B' sides," explains Robby Takac, "but the tracks came out so well we ended up using two of them on the album." The songs in question: a cover of "Disconnected," from the pioneering Buffalo punk band, The Enemies, and "Slave Girl," from Australia's Lime Spiders.
Now, it's all come together on A Boy Named Goo. "I look at our career as having three stages," remarks Rzeznik with a smile. "Drunk, hungover and sober. I wouldn't exactly say we're in our sober phase now, but we are dead serious about making the best music we can."
Which is exactly what The Goo Goo Dolls deliver on A Boy Named Goo: the very best from one of the most promising young bands in America.