Interview with John Rzeznik

InterviewJuly, 2000Unknown source

Are you currently working on new Goo Goo Dolls material?
Yeah -- I've got big piles of it laying around the house. You should see it. It's on napkins. I'm working in my home studio, although technology is frustrating me. Sometimes I think all this really beautiful digital recording equipment -- which is great -- can sometimes get in the way of your being creative. I think a microphone, a tape recorder, a guitar and a hunk of paper can work a lot better sometimes.

Do you have a specific goal in mind for your next project?
My specific goal is "It can't suck." (laughs) I haven't determined if I'm gonna take a different direction or not. But you know, as long as I mean what I say, I'll be alright, and whether it's popular or commercially successful or not, I have no control over that, so I don't really think about it. So you won't have a summer tour this year -- you'll be holed up in the studio. No tour. We've been out for two years -- that's a long time.

It is a long time. Do you ever feel like you've sacrificed your private life by keeping such a brutal tour schedule?
I have no life. (laughs) My idea of a great life is ordering a pizza and laying on a couch watching a movie. Because I don't do that stuff ever. I moved into an apartment, so I spend a lot of time at Ikea buying furniture -- that kind of stuff.

Who would have thought when you were struggling and playing local clubs and stuff that you'd be standing her saying you have no life…
Well, I had no life then either, but it was a different form of non-existence.

How does a band like the Goo Goo Dolls survive in the age of boy bands?
I don't know. It's an anomaly, an enigma -- we've been lucky. And we work our asses off. We go out and do what we've gotta do. I love my music and I believe in it, and we want people to hear it. There's an awful lot of music out there that's pretty vapid -- and I'm not baggin' on anyone. I think if you don't do something that's completely formulaic and just say it from your gut that people will listen to it.

How much say do you guys have in picking your singles?
I think we ultimately can veto decisions if we want to, but so far I've agreed with the record company's choices. It doesn't matter what the record company picks, because it would have never been on the record if it wasn't something that we were into.

Do you pretty much know when you've got a hit on your hands?
Never, no. I wrote tons of hits that nobody ever heard. There's tons of hit songs being written all the time that nobody ever hears. 'Cause it's [all dependent on] whatever's going on in the music business at the time.

What do you think about the whole Napster situation?
You know what? It was bound to happen. All the guys from the record company got caught with their pants down. They'll sort it out, 'cause they're losing money. Unfortunately, most of the time it comes down to the bottom line. Do you feel like you're being stolen from? Yeah, I feel like I'm being stolen from, and I'd like to smack that punk around who invented it, but it was bound to happen, so what can you do? I think right now everyone's in the process of trying to make nice with those guys and go back to the olden days when everyone was screwing over the kid buying the record.

What do you think is the right way for artists to respond?
I think Metallica's got the right idea -- sue 'em. It's copyright infringement. And even though Napster is only the pipeline, [the whole situation is like saying to someone] "Here's the gun, go find your own bullets." The bands get the smallest portion of money that's generated from creating an album -- it's just eating away at that. In that respect, it's not right. But I can't deny that I would probably use it myself if I was 14. Music's expensive.

Which bands are you into these days?
I'm really into Superchunk. And there's this band called Mice Parade that I really love -- their stuff is really weird and trancey. I love the Afghan Whigs. And I'm listening to a lot of old music, like Quadrophenia and stuff. I love that. Quadrophenia -- good. Boy band -- bad.