Goo Goo Dolls: "As soon as any song comes out and becomes available to the public, that’s when I wave goodbye"

InterviewJune 13, 2023Louder - Classic Rock

As Goo Goo Dolls and Those Damn Crows head out on tour, Dolls' mainman John Rzeznik talks doing good, internet celebrity, and the differences between US and UK audiences.

Formed as a garage-rock band 37 years ago in Buffalo, New York, over the course of 13 albums the Goo Goo Dolls have transitioned gradually into something more polished and sophisticated.

Below, singer/guitarist John Reznik previews their latest visit to the British Isles, to promote recent album Chaos In Bloom. The tour kicks off in Dublin this evening (full dates below), with support from Those Damn Crows.

Next month, the Goo Goo Dolls head to the US for their Big Night Out Tour, a mammoth, 43-date trek that begins at Coachman Park in Clearwater, FL, on July 24. And early next year, they'll head down under for shows in Australia and New Zealand.

How have you found returning to the road after suffering a nick on your vocal cord? Did you worry about performing night after night?

I was apprehensive, yeah. But weirdly, at the same time I tore a ligament in my elbow and couldn’t play the guitar either. It happened after we had finished the record. I spent hundreds of hours with a vocal coach, and taking loads of anti-inflammatory drugs which make you go crazy – I wanted to turn cars over and stuff. Basically, I retrained myself to sing.

How familiar are you with Those Damn Crows, the support act on this tour?

When they were suggested to us, I listened and thought: “Wow, this band is really cool.” I like them. It [the package] will be a lot of fun.

The new album’s song Yeah, I Like You protests at the growing phenomenon of so-called internet personalities.

I’m baffled by all of that. Fame is a really bizarre thing right now. The TikTok generation of artists seems to use music as a launch pad for their ‘brand’, in quotation marks. There’s a constant need to have a camera on them. I find that pretty exhausting. I still believe that music is more important than any of that other stuff.

Another track on the album, You Are The Answer, is a response to domestic violence. But instead of it being an empty sentiment, Goo Goo Dolls have raised money to benefit the wellbeing of children affected.

I'm happy that we did that. What we do [as musicians] is self-indulgent in a lot of ways. On top of making a bag of money, it feels great to do some good, to mitigate some of that damage just a little.

While some of the album is dark, there’s also the self-empowerment of You Are The Answer.

I love that song. It started out with the drummer, Craig [Macintyre], playing the piano. What he was doing was so 1970s-rock, so classic, I thought it was really cool. We’re at a point in our career now where we can just drive off the trail for a while. We can do what we want without people clutching their pearls and going: “What are they doing?”

What do you like in particular about playing in the UK?

I love the intensity of the audiences. The way people appreciate music over there, it feels like you’re playing at a big party. Here [in the United States] it feels like there are so many rules. Your audiences are looser. They party more.

When you’ve written a song like Iris, which now has a billion streams on Spotify, does a small part of you relinquish ownership of it?

As soon as any song comes out and becomes available to the public, that’s when I wave goodbye. Either it withers and dies, or it connects. I have no control over that. But this is an extreme case.

After it becomes used as a wedding song and changes people’s lives, it must be fun to just sit back and observe its footfall?

Yeah. And it’s still gratifying [the song was released in 1998]. Like, wow. I’ve written a lot of good songs, and a couple of great ones [laughs]. I’ve also written some complete shit. But that one has something very special about it.

Goo Goo Dolls UK Tour 2023

Jun 13: Dublin Vicar St
Jun 15: Birmingham O2 Institute
Jun 16: Bristol O2 Academy
Jun 17: Bournemouth O2 Academy
Jun 19: Nottingham Rock City
Jun 20: Glasgow O2 Academy
Jun 22: Sheffield O2 Academy
Jun 23: Manchester Academy
Jun 25: London Eventim Apollo

Tickets are on sale now.