Goo Goo Dolls Announce Tour Dates, Tease New EP

InterviewFebruary 27,

John Rzeznik tells he's also working on covers of songs by Ellie Goulding and Depeche Mode.

By Brian Ives

“We started thirty years ago in a van playing punk rock bars and colleges, so this is sort of a milestone for us.”

John Rzeznik is talking to about the band’s upcoming tour, which they’ve just announced today (see the dates below). “We’re goin’ big this summer,” he says, noting that they’re taking out Phillip Phillips as their opening act. “I like his voice and his feel. He’s legit.”

He enthusiastically discussed his long relationship with Robby Takac, who he co-founded the Goo Goo Dolls with, way back when: “As we get older, Robby and I sort of understand each other a little bit better. We used to understand each other’s buttons and push them like crazy, and now we understand each other’s buttons and don’t push them as often.”

Back when they were a garage punk band, they toured like crazy; when they started scoring radio hits in the mid-’90s, they toured like crazy, and they still are frequently on the road today. And whether they’re headlining amphitheaters, doing smaller venues, or opening in football stadiums, they have always retained the enthusiasm that they had when they toured the country in a small van.

“I think that has something to do with coming up in Buffalo,”  Rzeznik says. “Robby and I always knew: ‘You can go work in a factory or a supermarket if you want to.'”

And that working class ethic has never left them: “I believe that if somebody is paying to come see you play, you’ve got to give it to them, you’ve got to give them what they want while satisfying yourself!

There are days where you’re like, ‘Holy s—, I’m really lucky that I get to pay my bills by playing music!’ It’s been really amazing. Our fans have been great, and so loyal. Our summer tours are becoming a semi-tradition.”

But Rzeznik is also looking forward, revealing that the band has a new release on the way: “We have an EP coming out, You Should Be Happy. I don’t know when the release date is, it’s like a six-song EP with some new material and a couple of unreleased songs.”

And, he says, there will be a cover on the EP: “I’m working on two different covers, I don’t know which one I want to do yet. I was listening to that Ellie Goulding song, ‘Lights,’ and playing along with it on an acoustic guitar. And I thought ‘That might be kind of cool to just play guitar and sing this, the lyrics are kind of good!’ So, I was messing around with that, and I was messing around with a bunch of old Depeche Mode songs that I really love, like “Somebody.”  I don’t know if I can pull it off. Dave Gahan is bigger than life. I’m going to keep working on it. If I can pull it off, if I can take that song and put my own spin on it, and make it cool, that would be amazing! It’s like trying to cover a U2 song, it’s not something you can do very easily.”

He realizes that a Depeche Mode song is somewhat unexpected from him, but he says that he’s a longtime fan: “In our early days, everyone always drew these comparisons between us and the Replacements, which I absolutely understand, but I was always listening to other stuff. I was listening to Elvis Costello and Depeche Mode and the Ramones, I grew up with that stuff as well.”

One cover that has made it back into their sets over the past year is their take on Prince’s “I Could Never Take the Place Of Your Man,” (which they released on their 1990 album Hold Me Up). It wasn’t just a tribute to Prince, though: “Our friend who sang it on the record, Lance Diamond, died [in 2015]. Robby wanted to do it to remember Lance. When we first recorded it for Hold Me Up, we were still in the phase where we had to double the speed of every song! If it ain’t fast, don’t play it. I listen to it now, and even the ballads on that album are too fast. So we’d slowed down our version of ‘I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man’ a bit when we played it [last year].”

As for the follow-up to last year’s Boxes? “I’m still questioning the relevance of a full-length release, you know? When I was growing up, you’d go out and buy the vinyl or the CD and you’d read the liner notes, and there was the whole experience of an album. And a lot of kids are picking that up and that’s amazing. But I’m like, today, do you just put out a song a month?  Like, New Order would always have a single coming out. Well, maybe we just release a few singles in between the albums. But I’m always working on music.”

Check out the Goo Goo Dolls tour dates below:

7/14-17 Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
7/15-16 Las Vegas, NV Downtown @ Las Vegas Events Center
7/16-17 Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre
7/18-17 Greenwood Village, CO @ Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater
7/20-17 South Fargo, ND @ Scheels Arena
7/21-17 Council Bluffs, IA @ Harrah’s Hotel & Casino – Stir Cove
7/24-17 Chicago, IL @ Huntington Bank
7/25-17 Indianapolis, IN @ Indianapolis Farm Bureau
7/27-17 Peoria, IL @ Peoria Riverfront
7/28-17 Appleton, WI @ Fox Cities Stadium
7/29-17 Plymouth, MN @ Hilde Performance Center
7/31-17 Nashville, TN @ Ascend Amphitheater
8/02-17 Huber Heights, OH @ Rose Music Center at The Heights
8/03-17 Rochester Hills, MI @ Meadowbrook
8/05-17 Cleveland, OH @ Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica
8/06-17 Philadelphia, PA @ Festival Pier
8/08-17 Vienna, VA @ Wolf Trap
8/09-17 Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun
8/11-17 Syracuse, NY @ Lakeview Amphitheater
8/12-17 Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
8/13-17 Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
8/15-17 Boston, MA @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
8/16-17 Portland, ME @ Maine State Pier
8/18-17 Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
8/19-17 Bethel, NY @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
8/20-17 Saratoga Springs, NY @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center
8/22-17 Baltimore, MD @ Pier Six Pavilion
8/23-17 Raleigh, NC @ Red Hat Amphitheater
8/25-17 Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans Amphitheater
8/26-17 Asheville, NC @ Biltmore Estate – South Terrace Stage
8/27-17 Charlotte, NC @ Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
8/30-17 Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
9/01-17 Miami, FL @ Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park
9/02-17 Jacksonville, FL @ Daily’s Place
9/04-17 Atlanta, GA @ Chastain Park Amphitheatre
9/07-17 Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
9/10-17 Albuquerque, NM @ Sandia Resort Casino
9/12-17 San Diego, CA @ Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre
9/13-17 Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre