Sound Check

InterviewJuly 3, 2013The Oakland Press

Of The Oakland Press
Gary Graff on Music; @graffonmusic

Johnny Rzeznik is a happy guy these days, and not just because “Magnetic,” the Goo Goo Dolls’ latest album, debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 chart earlier this month.

But with Rzeznik getting ready to remarry and bassist Robby Takac expecting his first child during the recording of the album, there was little reason to delve into the more introspective, heart-rending fare that’s marked much of the Buffalo trio’s other work.

“I just wanted to have fun making a record without a lot of pressure,” explains Rzeznik, 47. “The headspace I’ve been in has been really, really great. Obviously this is much more positive than the last record (2010’s ‘Something For the Rest of Us’); I think I needed to make that record, but this one is just a lot more fun, a lot more positive and upbeat. It was a great experience.”

“Magnetic” teamed Rzeznik, Takac and drummer Mike Malin with a number of hit-making producers — Gregg Wattenberg, John Shanks, Rob Cavallo and Greg Wells — for nearly 11 months of sessions in New York, Los Angeles and London. The variety, Rzeznik says, also contributed to the upbeat tone of the album.

“We’d write one song and finish one song at a time and see how it turned out and move on instead of having a big pile of songs all demoed out and then go into the studio for months,” Rzeznik notes. “So I didn’t feel a ton of pressure to complete this massive project.

“I was just writing songs and completing them, so I think the mood was a lot lighter and we wound up having a lot more fun.”

The release puts the Goos on the road with matchbox twenty, which means “a barrage” of hits from the mid-’90s through ’00s. Prior to the tour, Rzeznik had only met mb20’s Rob Thomas at a charity event, but he thinks it’s a perfect match for a summer tour.

“The response to it has been really, really overwhelming — more than I expected,” Rzeznik says. “People keep asking me, ‘Why didn’t you guys do this a lot sooner?’ We actually tried, but it just never worked out. This time we got it right and it’s a great package, and I think we’re gonna have a really great time this summer.”

The Goo Goo Dolls, matchbox twenty and Kate Earl perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 6, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $29.50-$75 pavilion, $25 lawn with a $75 lawn four-pack. Call 248-377-0100 or visit