New York Dolls

InterviewApril 6, 2010Unknown source

by Joe Student
Weekender Correspondent

After nearly 25 years together, the Goo Goo Dolls are a model of stability in a music industry that has sometimes seen successful bands struggle to last 25 months.

But as the Buffalo, N.Y.-based rock band travels to the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre Sunday, the band members will certainly be at odds with each other, bassist Robby Takac said.

“We argue about how to pronounce (Wilkes-Barre). ... Barr? Barry? ... It comes up every time,” Takac, 45, said via phone from Los Angeles the day after — “finally,” he said — finishing recording “Something For the Rest of Us.” The new record, the Goo Goo Dolls’ first studio album since 2006’s “Let Love In,” should be released in late May or June, Takac said.

“We still have a few more mixes to do,” he said while expressing a sense of relief that the years-long writing-and-recording process had ended.

“We started writing it after the last tour, but it still took a long time. It is always your intention to just walk in the studio and record (an album) ‘live’ and fast, but it never quite works out like that,” he said.

Vocalist and guitarist John Rzeznik, drummer Mike Malinin and Takac comprise the Goo Goo Dolls lineup, which has remained unchanged since 1995 when Malinin replaced drummer George Tutuska, who started the band with Rzeznik and Takac in 1986.

“We learn to ignore each other,” Takac said of the secret that has allowed the Goo Goo Dolls to stay together and sell millions of albums during that time. “Anything that happens in your life for 25 years will affect your process of living and working. You have to adjust to it and move with it.”

The upcoming album is the band’s ninth studio effort. Credited on the recording are several producers with very diverse past clients: Rob Cavallo, who also worked on two of the Dolls’ best-selling releases, “Dizzy Up The Girl” and “Gutterflower”; Butch Vig, drummer of alt-rock band Garbage and producer of Nirvana’s “Nevermind” and Smashing Pumpkins’ “Siamese Dream”; and John Fields, who has worked with Soul Asylum and teen pop stars the Jonas Brothers.

Goo Goo Brothers, anyone?

“The Jonas Brothers sound might work for us; it is tough to get on the radio these days,” Takac joked when asked if the music on the new release had drifted in the direction of the three brothers that Disney helped to stardom. “Each song on the new record has its own character. We figured out what we needed. Some are a little heavier. On others, like ‘The Sweetest Lie,’ we use a Motown-y vocal with some four-part harmonies. I am really excited to do that (song) live.”

After using online video broadcasting service Ustream to transmit the band’s recording sessions, Takac said the band have learned to use as many modern ways of communicating with fans as possible.

“Twitter, Facebook, (artist-to-fan voice message service) SayNow — we do it all. We ask fans to record video (at shows) and put it on YouTube,” Takac said. “We’re a band that saw how the music industry used to operate in its heyday. We know how different it really is now.”

With past hit songs such as “Slide,” “Iris,” “Here Is Gone” and “Name” ubiquitous on adult contemporary radio, the Goo Goo Dolls no longer lack airplay.

“Everybody wants to have a song on the radio,” Takac said. “For a while there I couldn’t go into a mall — or anywhere, really — without hearing one of our songs. You get embarrassed. Then you get over it.”

In the mid 1990s, the band’s sound changed to a more mainstream style and away from the heavier, punk-ish guitar rock it used to deliver to a fanbase more indie than Indianapolis, the city where the band’s tour began last weekend during a series of concerts held around the NCAA Final Four.

“We have been lucky to have a lot of songs of ours make it into people’s lives,” Takac said. “It lets us make music and share records with the fans. Not everybody has that luxury.”

Staying true to their roots in a blue-collar Buffalo community that still loves them enough to pack arenas, the Goo Goo Dolls also include a charitable aspect to their tour dates.

In an effort to help USA Harvest, a food redistribution operation that accepts leftover food from institutions and gives it to the needy, Takac said the organization will have volunteers collecting canned good donations outside the Kirby Center prior to the show on Sunday.

“We can’t offer anything more than a warm feeling in your heart, but it is a great cause,” he said.