Goo Goo Dolls Interview – Speaking from the heart

Johnny, Robby and Mike aka the Goo Goo Dolls still going strong after 27 years.


[By Monica Harris, photo by Chapman Baehler]

The Goo Goo Dolls have released their tenth album, Magnetic, this June 11 and have embarked on a North American summer tour with Matchbox Twenty. The trio, consisting of singer and guitarist John Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac, and drummer Mike Malinin recorded Magnetic in New York, London and L.A.

I talk with John Rzeznik by phone following opening night:

Let’s talk about the tour with Matchbox Twenty. What’s a typical day like for you?

Typical day on tour for me is – I will get up in the morning, I’ll have a cup of coffee, go to the gym, work out, then get a shower, get something to eat. Go over to the venue, sound check, then do meet and greets with some fans, and then do my show. Then take another shower and that’s it. And then get on the bus and generally talk to my fiancé and then go to sleep. And then do it all again.

The Goo Goo Dolls have been together since 1985-1986 –.

1986, yeah. We were sort of part timers messing around in the garage until around 1994. That’s when I decided I was either going to take it seriously or forget about it.

Did you ever think back in the day when you were playing music in the garage that someday you would be where you are today?

You know, I never thought it would really happen, but it was always something that we strove for. You know what I mean? Every kid that picks up a guitar wants to be a rock star, I don’t care what anybody says. You develop a certain style after a while. We were just really, really lucky that we were able to survive and develop our own sound, past our influences.

What do you think is the secret to good songwriting?

Honestly, I think the secret to good songwriting, at this point, is sticking with it and working at it until you get exactly where you want to be, until you are absolutely sure that you can’t do any better. And that’s all you can hope for. And I think you have to really speak your mind and your heart, as cliché as that sounds. A good song always wins, no matter what’s going on.  Whatever musical trend is out there, a good song is still going to show itself through.

Your new single “Rebel Beat” is inspiring. I have a personal question. When you’re having a bad day, or feeling down or gloomy, how do you pick yourself up?

I call as many friends as possible. I don’t complain to them about being down. I just call and say “hey, how’s it going.” And then I listen. It makes me feel less alone in the world.


Do you believe everything happens for a reason? Or do you think there are coincidences?

I like to believe everything happens for a reason. I don’t always, but you know… I’m not a religious person but somebody said to me that “coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous.” I was really struck by that, the amount of faith that he had in that. I always admire people who have unwavering faith. I’m not one of them. [Laughs.] But I do admire people who have a lot of faith.

That’s a good quote, I like that. How does it feel to know so many people have been touched by your music over the years?

That’s the most gratifying part about it, when I think about it. Just getting letters from people and knowing that maybe a song that I wrote helped them with a particular moment in their lives. I get a lot of letters from people going through divorces, going through cancer treatments, and children being sick and dying. When somebody says that your music helped get them through that, and helps them. That takes that whole rock star thing and throws it right out the window because it doesn’t matter.

What’s your favorite song right now? Any particular song that’s getting a lot of play on your iPod?

There is a band from Australia called Mitzi, their song called “Modern Life.” Its really good, I like it.

What can we expect to see and hear on your current tour?

We’ve been lucky enough to have a bunch of hits. A lot of them are kind of ballady, though. I was sort of type cast as being the ballad writer. So [for this tour] we were trying to mix up as much high energy stuff with the quote –unquote hits. And then bring out some of the new songs as well. It’s a cool mix of stuff. Its really, really great. And of course Matchbox comes out and bashes you over the head with hit after hit after hit. It’s a pretty awesome night! ~


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