Goo Goo Dolls at The NationalInterview • November 4, 2011 • Richmond.com
Few bands manage to stick it out for 25 years and have the fortune of reaching a wide audience through commercial success along the way. Goo Goo Dolls see a real connection with those fans that joined them for the long haul, and that’s who the band had in mind when naming their ninth album “Something for the Rest of Us.”
“I guess this band has never been a flavor of the month, really,” said bassist/vocalist Robby Takac, speaking from his home in Buffalo, New York. “We’ve never been the leader of any great movement of fashion or anything. I think real people come to our shows. It’s a big cross-section of folks.”
“The idea of that, combined with what’s going on with the whole frustration of the 99 percent movement, it really feels like the majority of people aren’t highest in the interest of people who control things right now, and that’s a sad state of affairs. That vibe sort of made it onto the record a lot, I think: disparity, and some of the injustices that are going on out there right now. That all sort of came together and made the title seem appropriate.”
Takac, singer/guitarist John Rzeznik, and original drummer George Tutuska formed with more of an edge to their sound in 1986, and with the release of their third album, 1990’s pop-punk “Hold Me Up,” they had started gaining some attention. 1993’s “Superstar Car Wash” made radio inroads, but the real breakthrough came in ’95 (as current drummer Mike Malinin joined) with “A Boy Named Goo” and the hit single “Name.” Their career was firmly established with ‘98’s “Dizzy Up The Girl,” which bore the top 10 hit “Iris” as well as three other top 40 singles.
Takac recalled the challenging transition from their earlier, harder sound to their radio-friendly work. “We felt like the first seven, eight years we were together, we were learning how to make records still. We just happened to do that in front of people, a very small group of people, but we were releasing records for that whole time and learning how to be a band, learning how to derive power from something other than volume and speed.
“I can remember having conversations like, ‘Oh, man, that may be too soft for the record, doesn’t rock hard enough.’ We would always try to catch ourselves and make sure that we weren’t limiting ourselves to what we did, just because we were worried how the crowd that already liked us was going to react. So we always stuck to the idea that it didn’t have to be loud and fast all the time. We just got a little more proficient at it, I guess, as we moved along.”
After years of airplay and long-familiar videos, Takac considers which songs might make the selection for a Goo Goo Dolls time capsule to be opened for future discovery. “Obviously ‘Iris’ would be in there, because that’s the one that sort of made it happen for us. I would probably pick the five biggest songs, just because, obviously, those songs are ones that really connect with people.
“Maybe they’ll be still be playing them when the time capsule is opened. People will be going, ‘Oh, yeah. Of course. Those songs.’”