Goo Goo Dolls' Robby Takac talks music, career

InterviewDecember 13, 2015Battle Creek Enquirer

Goo Goo Dolls have been a household name in rock since the mid-1990s after the release of "A Boy Named Goo." Then their hit song "Iris" from the 1998 film "City of Angels" went on to be as popular as the film itself.

Goo Goo Dolls will bring their decades of music experience to FireKeepers Casino Hotel at 7 p.m. Jan. 23. Bassist and singer Robby Takac said that after all this time, the band still packs concerts.

"Our last tour that we did, was probably the biggest tour we’ve done," Takac said about the 2013 tour to support the most recent album, "Magnetic."

Takac, a founding member of Goo Goo Dolls with guitarist and singer John Rzeznik, talked to the Enquirer about the band's history, where they're going and a Battle Creek tradition.

Battle Creek Enquirer: How does it feel to still be out there performing 20 years after “A Boy Named Goo”?

Robby Takac: "That was obviously the big moment for us. I guess at that point we had already been touring around, putting out records for 10 years. So it sort of feels like, very far into our career.

"So that feels even crazier when I look at that and go, 'Wow, that was the moment when the mainstream of America kind of discovered us.' At the same time, we had lived twice the life of a normal band."

What keeps you going when a lot of the bands that were rising at the same time you were are no longer around?

"Obviously, it all boils down to chemistry as far as whether or not the core of what your thing is, is able to exist. Personalities change, especially over decades now. You have to have people involved that can make it all work."

What are you listening to right now?

"I’ve been listening to a lot of Japanese music lately. My wife’s from Tokyo, so we’ve been listening to a lot of Japanese stuff. Electric Eel Shock is pretty cool. Sekai No Owari is pretty cool; they’re like kind of a J-pop band. Not like a heavy rock band or anything, kind of fun to listen to.

"It’s funny; for the past five, six months, we’ve been working on an album. I’m not looking to do a whole bunch of music right now because we’re working on a record, and I’m working on a couple of other records at the same time. Most of the time when I come  home, the last thing I want to do is listen to music (laughs)."

What can you say about the new album?

"We’re almost done. We’ve got pretty much the whole thing recorded. We're getting our first mix back tonight, and we’re hoping to have it out by April.

"I say it with every record, but I think it’s the next step. It’s a little bit of what we learned on the last record, and moved forward. We wrote some great songs and moved forward. Number 11, crazy enough."

What’s it like trying to balance keeping your longtime fans happy and trying something new?

"We tend to collaborate a lot more than we used to. We used to lock ourselves in a room and half-write 15 songs and go into a studio and try to record an album. I think that as we sort of moved forward, we started to become more sort of collaborative in our record-making process.

"I think in a way with each new person and each new idea, when we injected that into what we did, kind of what what we were doing was growing a little bit more.

"John’s pretty tough on himself about feeling like, at least in his head, that he’s moved forward a little bit from the last thing that we’ve done. I think that that attributes and helps us to move forward and we’ve never felt like we’ve been out on one of those nostalgia runs yet. We still feel like we’ve got something to say and I think as long as we’ve got that, we’ll be doing OK"

I'm asking musicians to come up with questions for other musicians. Country musician Clare Dunn wants to know: What are your catering survival go-to foods?

"Breakfast cereal. I always have a selection of breakfast cereals in our dressing room."

Are you aware that cereal was invented in Battle Creek?

"Yes I am. Right before I was going to talk to you, I went on the website to see if I could get a tour of the factory, but apparently the tour stopped in the '80s or something like that."

You should call and see if they’ll make an exception. Do you have a favorite?

"I love sugar Frosted Flakes, man. That’s the go-to. Everything else is a fling."

That’s the right answer. What should I ask the next musician I interview?

"If it happens to be Gene Simmons, ask him if he wore the makeup when he sang 'God of Thunder.' Just if it happens to be Gene Simmons.

"How about, 'What do you do when you’re nervous before a show? What process do you go through to work yourself out of your nervousness before a show?'"

That’s a great question. What do you do?

"I can’t tell you (laughs)."