Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls InterviewedInterview • April 18, 2014 • Soundcrave Magazine
You are in the middle of “The Otis Midnight Sessions” acoustic tour, how’s it going?
Going great we actually have a show tonight. We just finished up a couple of electric shows. Now we’re back doing a whole string of acoustic shows. It’s been a lot of fun.
The shows have been performed in a “Story Tellers” format which has allowed you to play a lot of music from your back catalog. Has there been some special music you have pulled out just for this tour?
Yeah, we have been doing a lot from the “Superstar Car Wash” record which is really awesome I think because it’s one of my favorite records. It’s sort of when the band began reaching its stride.
What has been the fan response to the shows?
It’s been amazing. I mean really great! All the venues are really small like 400-500 seater’s.
It’s been a lot of the hardcore fans that have been the people who have been able to make it out to these shows because the tickets go quick. It’s one of those things where you have to be in the know to get them. We are very appreciative of the support. It’s good for them also because they have been getting a different kind of show.
Your career has spanned almost 30 years, you have had a pretty amazing run.
Yeah, feels like it! Knock on wood, lol! I think we have a few more years in us. Hopefully we will be talking again in ten years about the same stuff and the same things.
You have seen some things in the bands history. Has there been a time or era in the bands history that you feel you will be chasing to relive again?
Well, it’s a different industry now then when we were younger. The way things operate have totally changed. The record industry is not really an industry so much anymore. It means the way the business used to work is kind of futile. I think you need to just keep moving forward and see what kind of opportunities present itself. For us we were a lucky band. We slid in when the old music industry was coming down. We have been very fortunate. We also have a pretty good list of songs people want to hear us play and support us all these years. Even coming to the shows and buying the records, we have been very lucky in general.
Looking back, did you ever think “Iris” would have turn into what it did?
I mean the first time I heard it when John played it for me it was just an acoustic demo and I could tell it was special. A lot of things have to line up to have something happen that big. Some things you can control, other things you can’t.
Many would say that song brought “Goo Goo Dolls” to superstardom. Not many people get to enjoy that type of success. What does superstardom feel like?
There are a lot more people at the shows. You know, I think you’re just too busy. It’s just like every day you are dealing with the next challenge, and with the last challenge. Obviously you’re in a bus and your playing full shows. When you’re so busy you don’t have time to think about it too much.
I have heard its better looking woman and more expensive cars?
LOL! That happens too!
I have also heard they are the first to go.
LOL! – Yeah them both!
When will fans expect new music from the Goo Goo Dolls?
I don’t know. I know that we have this summer tour coming up. We have a big summer coming up with “Daughtry” and “The Plain White T’s”. There has also been some talk about some more “Otis Midnight” shows. I can’t see us touring much past the holidays, so maybe around then.
Do you think you have another hit in you?
I don’t know. Good songs are one thing. Big hits have nothing to do with you or your song. You know, It’s about time and it’s about place. It’s about climate and about radio. There are so many things that have to line up. It’s about what comes out that week. I think all you can do as a band is make a record people want to listen to. Bring it to the people and let the rest of that stuff sort itself out.
You were making music before the internet and illegal downloads. From a bigger bands perspective how has the changes in music business affected the Goo Goo Dolls?
A lot of people say it’s more touring now. But I don’t really feel that. Too us we always toured this much. You just have to understand that you cannot judge your success or popularity in the amount of records you sell now verses the amount you used to sell 15 years ago. It’s a different business. You have to look at everything. Your touring, your web presence, you also have to look at your media presence. There was a time when people hated their songs being used in commercials and on television shows. I couldn’t tell you 15 years ago that our music would be playing on “Ice Skating with the Stars”. You do what you have to do now to get it out there and make things happen. It’s just a totally different time. If you love to play music you’re going to play music. You just try and find those places where it works and make every single one of those experiences as positive as it can be.
Do you guys notice it more because it costs a lot more for your band to operate?
Yeah. It costs a lot more for us to operate. We all have taxes. We have a light guy, a sound guy, a tour manager, bus drivers. It’s a pretty big operation right now. There are some bands that can just jump out and do corporate which is just the guys in the band and a sound guy. We are just not one of those bands. So it cost a lot of money to put on a show. We are lucky. People come out to see us play and we can generally fill rooms enough to make some money so we can put on rock shows.
Speaking of which was there a time when the Goo Goo Dolls became more of a business then a band?
I guess you have to kind of try and separate those things. I mean you have got to deal with your business. I am probably guilty of not dealing with it as much as I should. It’s hard, but I think you have to deal with the business for what it is and take your music for what it is. I mean hopefully you can keep both things as far away from each other as possible cause when those two things smash into each other you don’t have a band anymore.
Do you feel like that is one of the things that come with success?
You mean feeling like it’s more of a business? Yeah, and it has been. It is a business. I mean there is money coming in every night. There’s accounting every night, there’s taxes being paid, there’s 401K’s being contributed to. Insurance… I mean I can just go on and on and on! There’s payroll, I mean all this stuff is part of the business and it has to operate. Because if it doesn’t operate – your business stops operating and you stop putting records out because it starts to become a pain in the ass because your shit is not in order.
I think we have done a pretty good job. Luckily we have had managers that have kind of kept it together for us and business managers we can trust and people there that we know real well. We are very fortunate. We have had people there with us before we were bringing in a lot of cash for em. So it’s been really good.
What a lot of people don’t know is the band has been heavily involved with charities for many years. Are you working with any charities or on any projects you would like to promote?
Yeah, I actually don’t know quite what we’re doing. But I know we are doing the “Wounded Warriors Project” on this summer tour. I don’t know exactly what we are doing with them yet but were going to figure out some cool ways to get involved with them. It’s a growing segment of our population these days so were going to be doing some work with them.
Anything we forgot?
No, just come out and check us out on these “Otis” shows. They are a lot of fun, and come check us out on the big summer tour. We’re really looking forward to going out!
Thank you for your time!