Goo Goo DollsInterview • August 16, 1999 • Colleges
Goo Goo Dolls:
'It's a pretty big payoff'
By Andy Argyrakis
What's it like being a Goo Goo Doll? Robby Takac, bass player and vocalist for the immensely popular and ever touring band that's ruled the airwaves as of late, tells us all about it.
Takac says he enjoys life on the road along with bandmates John Rzeznik (vocals and guitar) and Mike Malinin (drums). Together they get to play past hits and new material from their "Dizzy Up the Girl" project as headliners on the Levi's FUSE tour, along with Sugar Ray and Fastball.
"The tour just fell together so magically; it was pretty weird," Takac told us. "Our biggest thing about the summer tour was that we were trying to pick out the bands to do it with. It came down to Sugar Ray and Fastball.
"Fastball we had toured with already, probably three months of colleges prior to the tour this summer. It was really important that we made it more than just a little rock concert you go to.
"We wanted to try to give off to some charities, some social groups. We wanted to get a second stage going with some other music. We could bring some young bands out with us. Levi's sort of popped and was like, 'Hey man we're in. We'll do everything we can to make this a great tour.'"
FUSE benefits USA Harvest.
"It's basically just a good old-fashioned canned food drive," he said. "We've been doing it over the past few months, and we've raised over 50 tons of food at this point to be distributed in the communities we collect it in.
"Bring a can or two to the show, drop it in a bucket on the way in. There's no prompting expect for the fact that you'll be doing something groovy for other people.
"We usually play on this tour, to between 7,000-20,000," he added. "This tour itself is really cool because we got a cross section of people [coming out to the shows]."
Within that crowd a large population is college students. College is a cool age and time of life to be in, according to Takac.
"This group started when we were college students. I think the most important thing when we started this group was to be unique individuals and different. I still think that's pretty important to us as writers and just a band in general."
On stage the Goo Goo Dolls do, in fact, provide a unique show that really rocks, rather then getting caught up in pointless filler or gaudy glitz and glamour. In concert fans will hear every hit like "Name," "Long Way Down," "Black Balloon," "Naked" and "Iris," just to name a few.
One concert attendee in Chicago was glad to hear the song "Slide" as part of the set, despite being an obvious selection.
"The song seems to be about a girl who gets pregnant at a young age," said Illinois State University sophomore Stephanie Scott. "I have had some family members go through that process, so I can relate to that song."
The Goo Goo Dolls know what fans want and deliver on the FUSE tour with sheer emotion and energy. That's refreshing in this day of one-hit wonders and stars who last on the charts for one or two months' time.
The Goo Goo Dolls have earned their fans from their self-titled first project in 1987 up through their major commercial break though in 1995 with "A Boy Named Goo."
"The records are just pretty much documents of our lives from the time we put out a record last, documents of things that have happened to us and things that we have seen on the way," said Takac.
"Generally when I write something its in response to something that makes my face red, whether it be jealously, or anger, happiness, or laughter. Things happen to you over the course of time with us being on tour all the time.
"When we go back and start to write, it's a bit of a chore to sort of sit myself down and become a normal thinking person again.
"Having grown into this together with Johnny, the motivational factor is that this is my life, this is what I do," Takac said. "I can't put it to terms really. What motivates me to do this? The fact that I do it and I don't want to stop. I look out and I feel I bring a little joy to people. To watch a room full of people with a smile going, 'Yeah I'm having a great time,' that's a pretty big payoff.
"If people say, 'I can connect with this,' or 'This makes me feel a certain way,' then that is the most important thing and coolest because you've affected someone's life."