Q&A: Goo Goo Dolls Talk New EP, Upcoming Fargo Concert

InterviewJuly 13, 2017Fargo Monthly

The American rock band the Goo Goo Dolls are hitting the road for their Long Way Home summer tour. They’re to perform at the Scheels Arena in Fargo on Friday, July 20 at 7 p.m., and bassist Robby Takac said, “It’s going to be a great show.”

Formed in 1986 in Buffalo, New York, the Goo Goo Dolls—led by Takac and vocalist/guitarist Johnny Rzeznik—have sold more than 12 million alumbs and scored more than a dozen Top 10 hit. Their biggest hit, “Iris,” from the “City of Angels” soundtrack, spent nearly 12 straight months on the Billboard charts and held the number one position on the Hot 100 Airplay chart for 18 weeks.

We had the chance to talk with Takac to get the details on the band’s recently released 5 song EP “You Should Be Happy,” 20 to 30 years in the spotlight, upcoming performance and excitement to visit her fans in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

It’s been 20 to 30 years since the Goo Goo Dolls got in the spotlight. How do you guys do it? How do you keep the fans wanting more and keep them interested?

“Well, I guess it’s a long list of things that all had to come together to make that happen. But I think for us, it’s just kind of what we do. We get up in the morning, and us and all the folks we work just try to figure out what it is we need to do to make it to the next day, next show, and keep making it happen. Obviously, John writes some songs that people really connect with, that helps a lot. As a band, we have managed to keep ourselves as fresh as we can for a band that has been doing this for that long and keep the shows interesting for ourselves. I think it kind of translates to the venue as well.”

Is there a point in the band’s career that you wish you could just go back and live that one more time?

“Kind of right when everything was blowing up and we sort of didn’t realize it was happening but we could sort of feel that something was happening. That was a really exciting time. It probably would have been the early ’90s. In our brains, we were still that band that was driving around in our van but there was something else going on. It was a time when it was still mysterious as to what was going to happen next. You’re so full of optimism and fear, all that stuff makes things exciting. I think that was a great time.”

What do you feel is a big contributor the long lasting success of the band?

“Obviously that song ‘Name’ was kind of the first thing that let people, outside of our little group of fans, know what was going on. After that, the ‘City of Angels’ movie came out with ‘Iris’ on the soundtrack, and that really opened up most of the opportunities that we had at that point. I think we’ve managed to keep songs on the radio since then, which is not an easy thing to do. But when that happened, it sort of changed the band from being a band that might have had one or two records on the radio then disappeared to a band that had more of a career to hold on to.”

Is “Iris” one of your favorite song to play out of your classics?

“That’s tough to say. Anytime we play something people know, you can obviously see it and feel it in the room. I think there are some other songs that we haven’t played quite as much that are pretty exciting for us to play too.”

Do you still really enjoy playing some of your classics?

“I think some bands get kind of worn out playing their older hits. But I never feel that way though. Those songs are the reason that we are there. I like to share that with people, experience it all over again.”

When you’re not on tour, recording or performing, what can one find you and/or your band members doing? What is your favorite pastime?

“I have a 5-year-old daughter, so I like to spend time with my family. My wife and I run a little boutique record label that brings Japanese bands over here. So I like doing that. We got a little recording studio.”

Can you tell me a little bit about your recently released 5 song EP “You Should Be Happy”?

“We’ve been talking for the past few years about how we need to put an album out with 14 songs because of the way the record business is now. They work your record for a few months then they move on to something new. So we always sort of felt like putting out all that many songs at what time sort of was the most productive way to do it. Between these two tours, we haven’t had enough time for an entire album together. So we talked a little bit about using that concept of putting EP out instead of 14 songs.

“There’s really three branding songs on the EP, the first three songs, then there’s ‘Walk Away’ which is an outtake from our last album and ‘Boxes’ which is a remix, Alex Aldi did a remix of it that came out on the EP as well. You know, it’s good to have something new out. It’s nice to write a few songs and not feel the presser of having to put out a whole 14 song package together.”

Which song on that EP do you feel the band really connects with the most?

“That’s really hard to say. I’m glad ‘Walk Away’ got to get released. The only place we had released that song was Japan, actually. Before this EP came out, it was released as a bonus track on the last album. So I was glad to get that out in the United States.”

What are you looking forward to after you’re done with your Long Way Home tour? Is the band thinking of recording again or taking a break or what?

“Probably all that stuff. [laughs] We’ll probably take a little break, record some songs, probably do a gig here and there for the next little while, and see what we’re going to put together and put out next. Put another tour together, rinse off and repeat. [laughs]”

The Goo Goo Dolls have been closely involved with several charities in recent years. What’s the reason for putting in more time to help others? How has this impacted the band and you?

“We’re always trying to get involved in something on our trips. Take the momentum that we got from the tour and from the record and try to connect it with something that is a little more tangible to help people out. These last couple years, we’ve been doing a lot with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We tried to make some significant strides forward with those guys, helping them out a little bit. We also have been doing things with Compass House, which is an emergency shelter in New York, for a long time. Music is Art, which is a music and arts not-for-profit here in Buffalo, New York. We also work with Mike Peters from The Alarm on an organization that comes around to most of our shows doing bone marrow screenings for donors. We got a lot of stuff cooked up with us this year.”

What can your Fargo-Moorhead fans expect from your performance on July 20?

“We’re going to perform those songs that people expect to hear, so we won’t disappoint anybody. Got some stuff off our last record, for sure songs off our EP. We also went back and looked at the older stuff to maybe renew and rediscover for the tour. It’s going to be a great show.”

You’ve previously performed in Fargo. When you were here, did you have time to enjoy the area?

“Well, things happen so quickly in this life. You show up in the morning, do your gig and then drive to the next city. So, unfortunately, we don’t get to see very much. Sadly, I haven’t got to experience that much of Fargo.”

Over the 20-30 years of being a band and performing all over the world, where’s your favorite place to perform?

“I think Buffalo, New York, is always special because we are from here. It gives you that bonus of looking out to the crowd and going, ‘Oh, man, there is my high school teacher and there is my nextdoor neighbor.’ That’s always fun.

“London is amazing. It’s so fun to play there. I mean, they are all good.”

What would you like to say to your Fargo fans before the concert?

“It’s going to be July. It’s going to be beautiful. Spend as much time as you can outside before you go into your deep freeze because you know it’s coming. So come and spend a warm July night with the Goo Goo Dolls. It will be fun.”