The Goo Goo Dolls play Foxwoods

InterviewNovember 14, 2016Connecticut Post

Sure, they started out as a garage band named after a child’s toy. But the Goo Goo Dolls have always taken a thoughtful, creative approach to their music.

The rockers continue that tradition with their latest studio album, “Boxes,” featuring the inspiring tune, “So Alive.” Among its lyrics: “For the first time I feel like someone.”

Singer/guitarist John Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac have performed it on TV’s “The Today Show” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Fans can experience it up close when the Goo Goo Dolls come to Foxwoods Resort Casino on Sunday, Nov. 20.

The Grammy-nominated band, probably best known for ’90s hits “Slide” and “Iris,” has sold more than 12 million albums since 1986. Despite such success, Rzeznik said he doesn’t see himself as a rock star, and feels grateful to “get to do what I love.”

Q: In “So Alive” you sing, “Never gonna live if you’re too scared to die.” To me it’s a general reminder to get moving and take chances, but I understand that for you, it was inspired by a serious challenge. Can you share more on that?

A: I hate when people talk about this stuff, so I want to preface this by saying that, but I opened up my mouth in another context so now I’m stuck with it. I was a disaster of an alcoholic and that’s what I am. ... I wasn’t good at drinking anymore, so I had to make a decision. You know, what are you gonna do? Are you gonna live or are you gonna die? You can’t keep going both ways. That’s really where I was at. ... I was at the saddest moment of my life and I was going, yeah, I really want to stop this but I can’t. It’s this bizarre compulsive behavior. Now I haven’t had a drink in two years. But it could all go to hell tomorrow.

 Q: But you’re doing well now. So how did you do it?

A: I got the help I needed. I’m not a preacher for anything specific, for any self-help group. I endorse whatever works. But it’s a real serious public health issue. This song is about having the courage to get up and live every day. It’s weird, once the booze got out of my body ... for the first three months it was awesome. But then you have to go live, and I remember why I was doing all that crazy sh- -. Because life is hard and scary, man. ... I’m incredibly lucky I wound up with the woman I wound up with. She got me through the worst time in my life. ... We’ve been married since 2013, but together about 10 years.

Q: “Turn it on. Turn it up. Turn it over and we’ll start again.” That catchy phrase is from “Over and Over” on “Boxes.” Can you talk about the writing process for that?

A: I was messing around. I asked Robby if he had any ideas and he put a few in. ... Craig (Macintyre) came out to play drums on it. I was plinking at the guitar. Sometimes you just throw it at the wall and then sort the mess out. Turn it on. Turn it up. Turn it over and we’ll start again. It’s like, what does that mean? It just sounds cool. It sounds like fun. It reminds me of when I was a kid and I’d take a vinyl record and turn it on and turn it over and play it again. When you got a new album and you’d just lay there and listen to it a million times because you loved it so much. And then it becomes a metaphor for something bigger.

Q: What can the audience expect at this show?

A: It’s like a mix of the old and new. I love playing “The Pin” (from “Boxes”) and “Over and Over.” The other night I whipped out a harmonica, which I hadn’t played in 20 years. It’s fun to mess around with. So I’m leaving the possibilities open. I don’t want to limit us. I try to feel the audience out. ... What I want most in life is to connect with people. ... I would love to have a conversation, but sometimes I have nothing to say and other times I can’t shut up. Come see us. I would love for everyone to hear our music.