Nov. 9th, 2010

Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik On Upcoming UK Tour

Exclusive Interview: John Rzeznik called 30 minutes ahead of schedule ó something which is unprecedented when it comes to rock stars.

But thatís the Goo Goo Dolls all over. The American band ó frontman John, bassist Robby Takac, and drummer Mike Malinin ó do things differently.

For the past 24 years, theyíve kept their heads down and worked hard Ė they donít trash hotel rooms, get caught with hookers or get arrested for drugs. And itís this ethic which has seen the New York group sell more than 10 million albums in the US alone.

John, 44, has been inducted into the Songwritersí Hall Of Fame and was handed the Hal David Starlight award. And the band have been nominated for a total of four Grammys ó although theyíve yet to take one home.

Their best known hit, Iris, was written for the 1998 movie City Of Angels, starring Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage. It propelled them into the spotlight for its heartfelt lyrics and distinctive sound ó which has become something of a trademark. Since then, the Goo Goo Dolls havenít looked back.

Theyíre now embarking on a UK tour, marking the release of their ninth album Something For The Rest Of Us.

What can fans expect from your latest tour?

Weíve been working really hard on putting together the best of all the music that weíve done over the past 16/17 years and weíll also be playing half the new album Something For The Rest Of Us.

Whatís your secret to being together for so long?

We were part-timers until around 1995, but itís still a long time. I donít think there is a secret to it; some days we donít get along, some days we do. We have boundaries and we respect each otherís boundaries.

How has the music industry changed from when you began?

Itís narrower. And itís much harder for a young band to be heard by the masses. The internet has pretty much destroyed any chance of anyone making money selling records.

Youíve now got to go out and tour ó as a musician, you canít buy into the hype and the dream of having a big mansion and a Rolls Royce; thatís just not the way it is. Youíre lucky to make any money at all.

Itís different for bands who are already established; we make most of our money on tour.

Weíre lucky as we can still get a couple of thousand people to come along, but itís hard for young bands to attract a following.

Who are you listening to?

I really like Tegan And Sara and Death Cab For Cutie.

How did you get your big break?

Wrote a song called Name in 1995 and that became a big radio hit ó then wrote Iris and that kind of blew us up in the air. That came down and we thought, Ďwell weíve got the ball, letís keep running with ití. So we put our heads down and kept writing for the next 15 years.

Does being inducted in the songwritersí hall of fame put you under pressure?

No, it didnít feel like pressure, it felt really good ó we were also nominated for four Grammys but we lost all four times. I think itís more important to be recognised as a writer than as a personality.

How do you write?

I try not to listen to any music. I get up, play the guitar for a while and then record a few ideas; Iíll get frustrated for a while and walk away then come back to it. I take a chunk of an idea and bring it into the band and weíll record a demo.

How does your new album differ from your others?

The album is a very emotional one, but not a very sentimental one. Itís me observing whatís going on in other peopleís lives rather than writing about my own. Itís a really bad economic time and a time of war; our [the US] political system is falling apart and in America weíve been living on high alert for over a decade. The anxiety and stress is beginning to show in peopleís lives. The last hope anyone has is for a decent job, a family and a home ó and now those have been taken away from us.

Goo Goo Dolls Tour Dates
  • Brixton O2 Academy
    Stockwell Rd, SW9
    Saturday, November 13

  • Kentish Town HMV Forum
    Highgate Rd, NW5
    Sunday, November 21
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Carol Driver
A journalist with more than 12 years' experience writing, subbing and editing at national and regional publications and websites in the UK. Luxury NEWS >