Riding the Storm Out, Interview with Robby

InterviewNovember 9, 2004Glam-metal.com

Riding the Storm Out
Interview with Goo Goo Dolls Robby Takac
By Thomas S. Orwat, Jr.
Nov 9, 2004

On Nov 23, the multi-platinum darlings of Buffalo, NY, The Goo Goo Dolls, will be releasing their highly anticipated Live DVD/CD. “Live From Buffalo” is a recording from a free show that the Goo’s played last July 4th on the steps of City Hall in Buffalo. And there is quite a fascinating story behind this show. Not only was it a logistics nightmare setting up a major show right in the heart of downtown Buffalo, but the Goo’s also set up the holiday weekend to be a two day music festival called “The Uncle Sam Jam.” National and local acts such as Ani DiFranco and Ben Folds played in front of tens of thousands of people. But it was during the Goo’s set that near chaos broke out. About an hour into their show, one of the most intense rain storms that Buffalo has seen in decades broke out. But instead of the band and fans running for cover, they stayed and stuck it out. This showed the Goo’s true resolve and the fan’s extreme dedication. If there was ever any doubt of the Goo’s passion for the fan’s and the fan’s love the band, it is now documented for the entire world to see.

If you missed this show and want to truly experience it like it occurred: Buy the DVD, crank up your stereo system to 11 and about an hour into the show bring out the garden hose. Turn up the water pressure all the way up and have someone stand above you and blast water at you for the rest of the show. However, we here at GlamMetal.com are not responsible for any water damage to your family room.

What follows is another exclusive GlamMetal.com interview with Buffalo’s Home Town Hero- Robby Takac.

Well, let’s start off by discussing the rumor that the Goo Goo Dolls have a special event planned in Buffalo to promote the new CD/DVD. Is there any truth to this?
Well, rumors are just that sometimes. You know (laughs), but hey man hang out and we’ll see what the next chapter is. You never know with us.

So you ‘re not going to tell us?
Well, it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise then, would it. (Laughs)

Well, all right. I’ll just make sure the GlamMetal.com staff is ready to roll on Nov 23 if or when anything happens. Do you have any other promo plans like the talk show circuit or things like that?
I know that we have one full day of press in Burbank. There is talk of us doing a couple television shows. Yeah, a lot of stuff in the works. The new single “Give a Little Bit” is doing better than any of us ever imagined. Putting out a cover song is either hit or miss. You can rarely say that you beat the original. I mean, we have done a few covers over our career, but we always try to do it a little different. And this time we seemed to make a connection.

Yeah, it’s difficult to tell living in Buffalo how popular your songs are across the country because, in Buffalo, they play all your songs as if it’s the number one song in the world.
(Laughs) That’s what we like to hear, as always. Yeah, we are here doing our thing and it’s really cool to watch when something works. We do a lot, sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t.

Was there a list of cover songs that you chose from or was “Give a Little Bit” the only one that was considered.
No, Johnny had recorded “Give a Little Bit” for a Gap commercial a few years back and we were talking about do some sort of cover. John said, you know, we should really do that song. I mean, you know how you remember a song sounding one way? Our version of “Give a Little Bit” is kind of the way we remember hearing it back when we were in junior high. It’s funny because I hadn’t heard the song in a while and when I listened to it, I couldn’t believe that there was a sax solo within the first like thirty seconds of the song. I listened to it and said, what the fuck. I remembered it being quite different and not as fruity. And I say that with no disrespect to all the fruity people out there. (Laughs) But listening to it now, it sounds more like the Saturday Night live band than a classic rock band. I think what we did when we remade it is sort of just doing what we remembered it sounding like. It’s cool that it worked and is receiving airplay.

The 4th of July show that you played in Buffalo last summer was pretty spectacular. The band was in the zone and then an hour into it we had a major rain storm. What did you guys do to piss Mother Nature off so much?
I don’t know. What did Buffalo do to lose four Super Bowls in a row? All I can really say is from my point of view, I spent the better half of my adult life playing in Buffalo and to look out into a crowd of argumentatively 25,000 people standing and watching us in one of the most furious rain storms that I’ve ever seen in my life made it very gratifying. Those people had our backs man and that’s an unbelievable feeling. It really was. You think to yourself, if it was up to the powers to be to put out a DVD that really represents us, that concert was it.

You could have looked at the storm as something negative, but you actually turned it around and prospered from it and now you have an amazing and unforgettable live DVD on your hands. One that shows off the loyalty of your fans, and the love the band has for the fans and city. Not too many bands could pull it off and you guys hit a grand slam with it.
Yeah, thanks. It’s kind of like Fear Factor-Rock n’ Roll style. (Laughs) Yeah, we could have electrocuted the entire city.

That must have been a concern.
Dude, I have photographs of people standing in a foot of water. What happened was that there was garbage from two days and it got in the drains and plugged them up. So when all the buckets of rain fell, it had no where to go. And then later on that night the sewers were blowing up.

Yeah, I know. I was walking down Franklin Street after the show and water was exploding out of the ground like geysers and parking signs were floating down the streets. And this was just after an hour of rain.
(Laughs) It was one of the most incredible things that I’ve ever seen and we got it all on tape and I can’t wait for it to come out.

With all the elements potentially affecting the recording, did you have to overdub a lot of the show?
Nooooooo, dude. Quite honestly, we sampled the drums. Yeah, half way through the show, we had to start sampling the drums. Our B-3 organ also let out during the show, so we switched over and used stock organ sounds. But all the lead vocals are real, all guitar parts are real. I’m not saying that there isn’t a pro-tool change here and there. But we were kind of like the car where the chrome is falling off , but the car is still going 150 mph. There’s even a point where Mike our drummer can’t even keep his eyes open because the rain was hitting him so hard.

So you were able to get the entire show on the DVD, because I heard that many of the cameras malfunctioned because of the rain.
Yeah, we got the entire show. The only thing we cut out was right in the middle of the show we stopped one minute because the cops told us that we had to stop. So we went over and talked to the people at City Hall and said ‘look man we are playing’ and we walked back on stage. But besides that, we have the entire show. There was one song where we only had one camera working from the very back. During that song we put in cut-ins from hand held cameras that we had. So we grabbed every camera that we could get our hand on. We started off with about 19 cameras and they all when out for a few minutes at one point or another, but oddly enough there was always at least one of them working.

So what did you guys say to each other after the show was over and you were sitting there drenched?
Well, we have that on the DVD, you’ll just have to watch. (Laughs)

How was the week leading up to the show, it must have been rather stressful. It was a big event that no one has ever attempted to do in Buffalo before.
Well. On the DVD we have a thirty minute documentary that shows all of that. By hey, it was totally stressful, dude. There was a forecast of rain the entire week. So on the 4th we were pretty sure that we were going to wake up to rain storm.

Will there be another “Uncle Sam Jam” next July 4th in Buffalo?
I don’t know, it depends on if the city recovers from the last one. (Laughs) As dramatic as this DVD turned out, it really ended up being quite a hit for Buffalo Place. They were counting on concessions to help with cost, but because of the rain they only got half of the audience they anticipated. The storm definitely put a damper on the party.

Yeah, it really is hard drinking beer when you are standing in the middle of a storm.
(Laughs) Yeah, all the fireworks were falling out the sky because the air was so heavy from all the moisture.

Are you working on a new Goo’s CD now?
We are going to start working on it in January. We expect it to be out in time for us to do the shed circuit this summer.

You were recently campaigning for John Kerry. What was that experience like?
Yeah, we were out with the film maker Michael Moore. It was really cool, he’s a great guy. He’s an incredibly heart felt, socially motivated human being. I think he should get some sort of recognition for his revealing of this whole situation. I love him and would completely defend him. It was great to just sit down with him and talk about his family as opposed to the Bush conspiracy dude which everyone knows him as. But I think Fahrenheit 911 was really eye opening for me. It’s going to help get me through the next four years because I know there are people out there that think like me. Dude, everyday for a week I was in a room with anywhere from 5000 - 15,000 people of all ages screaming and hugging because they were so happy that we might defeat this horribleness. After the election was lost, I was thinking, hey, all those people are still out there. These are people who love this country with all of their heart and want to see change. Some may view these people who take a stance with people like Michael Moore as being unpatriotic sometimes. You know me, we’ve talked enough times where you know that I’m not unpatriotic. I just hate to watch our country sail down the river or sail up the river, or which ever way you don’t want to go on the river. (laughs)

A lot of people are with you. This was a real close race. Bush certainly won’t go down in history as the President that always won by a landslide.
Yeah, when I hear him talk about the will of the people I just want to say “Dude, shut up. You won by a point.” It’s not the will of the people, it’s more like the will of you to scare the vote out. And now his administration is quitting on him. Ashcroft and Evans both already quit. It’s weird how the middle of the country votes for Bush and the states that make all the money voted for Kerry. But we could go on and on about this.

You guys have played Military bases before, would you consider playing in Iraq or do you think it’s too dangerous at this point?
Of course I would go. Matter of fact, the band Klear from my record label is going to be playing military bases in Alaska and they may go overseas and play some shows there. You know it just freaks me out what’s going on over there, it really does. It seems so false.

Last question, do you have any immediate plans to release more CD’s on your Good Charmel label?
Yes, I have another ‘Music is Art” CD coming out on Nov 29. I’m also doing a record with Terry Sullivan and my partner Mark is doing a record from Dombuggy. And another record from a kid named Damien Simon. He does this kind of Euro-Dance, gala guitar thing which is real cool. And a disc called ‘Live at the Mohawk.” All these disc are coming out on a local imprint called Mohawk Records. They are all going to be local releases.

Well, that’s all I have for you, Robby. Thanks and it was good talking to you again.
Alright brother, talk to you soon. www.googoodolls.com www.goodcharamel.com